the practice perspective
millions and millions of people, if not billions, watch some sort of sporting event, or participate to some extent in some type of sport. thousands across the globe can call themselves professional athletes. maybe a hundred across all sports can call themselves star athletes. five maybe ten, are considered superstars. one or two can be considered as transcendent.
is it because they are gifted? many use their talent alone at the high school level and are considered phenoms with potential. but does that talent alone guarantee them success in their relative area of expertise? no.
games, sports, all have varying levels to be mastered in order just to play the games. basketball: you must not only dribble the ball while walking, but you must do so while someone tries to steal the ball. you also must shoot the ball through a hoop that is ten feet off the ground. just to be able to perform those at a basic level requires some agility and dexterity. baseball: you must swing a 30 oz bat and hit a ball that is travelling at a speed of greater than 70 miles per hour, and is not always in the exact same location, and you must hit it where a player in the field is not in order to just get on base. football: you either must run, catch or pass the ball, and do so while people usually are trying to tackle you fairly hard into the ground.
none of these sports sounds like one can be born with this knowledge or talent. sure, one can be born with speed, or jumping ability, or throwing ability. but it takes something more.
is it practice? just the act of going and throwing a basketball at the rim over and over again, and then eventually it starts to go in? or closing your eyes as you throw a football as hard as you can to your friend who runs down the field? waiting for the pitcher to throw the ball and then just swinging as hard as you can, hoping to hit it? do hope and luck have anything to do with becoming the best in a sport or game?
or is it focus+practice+determination+desire+continuity+intention+discipline=mastery?
that may not make you the best in the world, because at times, a little bit of a head start with talent, plus those other things will create a bonafied superstar, but I guarantee if you put all you have into developing skillful behaviors, add total focus, practice, determination, real desire, and you do it for an extended period of time, with an intention of perfection that observes constantly all the variables of cause and effect, then you will become a master of whatever skill you are trying to develop, especially in a sport.
is there a chance that those who are mere spectators, who read about the game, who know all the players, could get out on the court, field, and play with those who spend vast amounts of time preparing themselves, day in and day out for the actual game? if the spectators, who work 8 hours a day, spend two hours a day commuting, one hour a day at least talking on their cell phone or communicating in some manner with their friends, two hours eating, and six hours a day sleeping, and five other hours watching television (which is close to the average), be mentally or physically prepared to play a game with mentally and physically tough specimens who work out for three hours a day, practice the rest of the day, go over game plans, study film of their opponents, and are able to keep their minds upon a single task for longer than three minutes at a time?
if it takes a perfect diet, weight training, running, practice, focus, and years and years of continuity training for a sport to become elite athlete, then how is it any different with the mind? if the mind is a tool, a muscle that must be developed, then how does one “think” he is smart if he never analyzes HOW HE THINKS WHAT HE THINKS, if he never scrutinzes the PROCESS OF THINKING? someone who has never shot a basketball, or who only shoots it a few times a year, does not honestly believe that he could compete with a professional NBA player, one who practices his sport 5-6 hours a day, and who understands all the fundamentals of the game, as well as what it takes to be the best. so why is it that people who honestly do nothing, absolutely nothing to improve their minds, get so upset when called stupid, or when they are called out for their improper logic? most of these people have never even taken a minute of their life to understand the mind, to realize it is the engine that drives all of their actions. habituation, greed, anger, sadness, emotion, fulfillment, routine, acceptance, laws, programmed action, redundancy, are what drives man actions…anything but actual thought. next time you are with someone who says something about logic, ask him if defining terms is a key part of logic or not?
if the mind performs the same basic operations on a daily basis, never gets any harsh stimulus, is never really focused on developing new pathways in its thought, is unwilling to try new actions to get different results, if it has never practiced for four or five hours a day on actual thinking, not memorizing, then how can it compete with those who do use their minds at high levels, who strengthen their minds through actual thinking, not repeating what surrounds it, not regurgitating what is has read in a paper or seen on the television, or heard just in the normal course of the day?
the same man who spent his life allowing others to tell him what he must use as important, what he must know, what he must keep in his mind; the same man who lives basically the same life as everyone else around him; the same man who values what everyone else around him values (money, job, comforts, nfl, chics in bikinis, and the great soldiers who protect his “freedoms”). the same man who sleeps for 6 hours a day, who awakens every morning to make breakfast, watch the news, read the sports section or business section, to find out if his “team” won, or if his stock finally went up, like he’s been hoping; the same man who after breakfast, takes a shower, picks out his suit, never has a personal thought about his self, except maybe that he’s overweight, that he needs to be environmentally friendly; and after an hour or so of that, he is off to work, driving, taking a train, during which he can’t have any self-referential thoughts, because his mind is preparing for tasks at work, his mind is becoming bottled up with the stress of traffic, because he already wants to “just get to work, and get this damn day over with already, and why will this damn asshole not get out of my way,” or maybe his wife said something to him last night that he reflects upon, maybe he does want to finally have a family, or he met some girl at the bar last night and slept with her, and found out she was not that attractive, and this happens to him a lot, or maybe he is thinking life isn’t worth it, that he is finally going to be a “good” guy, a real member of society; and then he is at work, where he see Todd, Shelly, Jess, and Tina, and they all talk about what was on tv last night, stocks, sports, THE ECONOMY, cars, houses, and then its off to their computers, where they log in and do whatever it is they do for the same 8 hours every day; lunch is eaten; coffee is drank; plans are made; then the same drive, train ride home, filled with reflection on the day at work, plans for after, thoughts of dinner, thoughts of bars, booze, college girls, college boys (?), television shows, the couch, the gym (hell yeah!); and then the arrival home: walk the dog, kiss the wife, girlfriend, life-partner, no one, so its off to the computer or television, anything that offers a bit of warmth, emotion, action, laughter, distraction from his self, dinner, beers, whiskey, studying for that masters degree that will get him a better job, or at least he’ll have a masters degree, which will obviously prove he’s smart, because only smart people have master’s degrees…and a bit of daydreaming occurs, cell-phone calls, kisses, maybe sex…then driftings off until morning…where he only hopes it was just like the day before, and that THE ECONOMY did not crash again…
at what point was he able to do any thinking that was his own again?
there are those people out there who do not live their lives in routine manners, who value their time, their lives, their “SELVES” “SELF” more than anything on this planet, in this universe. why? because it is all that he has. true man, the enlightened man only has one thing, that singular thing that is with him always. it never leaves him. not at night while he sleeps. not at his job while he works. not while he sits in prison. not while he goes on vacation. his self. his self is always with him. and he doesn’t think it is “selfish” to want to spend his time getting to know his self, rather he thinks it is the only thing he has, can do, can be. selfish? unlearning all that he has been taught by society? selfish? not obeying what people tell him? selfish? not doing what everyone else does? not raising his voice? not bowing down to the state? not being socially acceptable? not giving money to the salvation army? not believing in “progress?” selfish eh? who do you got when you’re old and no one cares about you anymore? probably an underused mind, self, that is like a stranger rather than what it should be…a point of strength, a best friend, a tool of superstar proportions that can handle any adversity thrown your/his way?
becoming a super individual, with a mind that is strong and able to withstand any storm, requires exercising your self (not crossword puzzles, word games, nintendo wii), your mind by filling it with a healthy diet of knowledge, regular, actual exercise, writing, meditation, and of course the same forumula that works for the superstars of the sports the mass man worships on a daily basis…
the real man also doesn’t use what other people use to be comfortable. hope. because he trusts himself instead of crossing his fingers and wishing for the best. because he is the best.