Thursday, March 31, 2011

Developing Genius

Taken from Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience:
Geniuses make it look effortless only because they’ve faithfully practiced. Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, posits that “extended deliberate practice” is the ultimate key to successful use of a gift. “Nothing shows that innate factors are a necessary prerequisite for expert-level mastery in most fields,” he says. Ericsson’s interviews with 78 German pianists and violinists discovered that by age 20, the best musicians had spent an estimated 10,000 hours practicing, twice the average 5,000 hours the less accomplished group practiced.

Genius is a long faithfulness.

So fingers stretch across ivories here, shoulders hunch over Latin, brows knit in mathematical quandary. Just two hours a day of concentrated practice over a decade stacks up to 7,000 hours of faithful stewarding.

What would happen if every Christian used the 4 hours daily spent in front of the television a day (more than 126 hours a month!) or the near hour a day the average American surfs the internet and spent two of those hours developing their skill in a particular domain ( woodworking, quantum physics, photography) and one hour more on the spiritual disciplines that lead into a deeper relationship with God, (prayer, memorization, Bible meditation, fasting) – only repurposing three hours a day from the five we spend on passive entertainment — and in one decade, our entire culture – and the world at large – would be entirely revolutionized. How are we being faithful stewards of our 10,000 hours?

Why not tenderly unfurl a gift?

We waste so much time on fruitless pursuits. I've taken Ann's admonishment to heart and hope to practice more to hone my gifts. Here's my quandary; I'm interested in many things. Do I narrow it down to one thing I want to pursue or do I practice each thing a little bit each day? If I do the latter, I'll only get a little bit better. BUT I'll be able to do all the things I like. Any thoughts out there on what the best thing to do would be?


Left-Handed Housewife said...

When I started playing the fiddle two years ago, I figured if I practiced an hour a day, I'd be a genius around the time I was 80 (using the 10,000 hours of practice=genius equation). I can't say that I'm that faithful of a fiddler, but I'm a huge advocate of practicing at whatever you want to get better at. It works!


GretchenJoanna said...

In the area of improving my skills, I don't know that I have anything like an instrument or a language that I want to get better at -- but I do wonder how to regularly spend more time at things like knitting, reading, sewing, writing. I have tried to make schedules that would accommodate all my interests, and not leave out housework and other commitments. "A little every day" doesn't seem to work for me, because it takes me so long to settle down and focus, especially on the needlecrafts. But giving one day a week never seems to happen, either; my weeks are all so different one from another.

debbie bailey said...

GJ, you sound just like me! I've tried different things to get to something creative, but not much works. I find it easy to practice what I already know; the piano, sewing, decorating. But it's very hard for me to sit down and practice something I'm new at like drawing or painting. I wonder why that is? Maybe because I need a large window of time and around my house, that ain't happenin'! I seem to have better success taking classes. At least it gets me away from the housework and into a studio where all I'll do is work on the art. Maybe that's the key?

grannimcd said...

Thanks for the inspiration and challenging thoughts. Hopefully I will find time to be inspired and thoughtful!

Jeannette said...

I like your' "tenderly unfurl a gift.." phrase.

That is surely a right approach, be tender with oneself and pursue heartily, doing all thing as unto the Lord.

Me said...

I love this post! Mastery is what I desire as a wife and mother! For me I try to be masterful this way; wake up each day, and lie quietly in expectation of the gift(of one more day). Let the Lord lead me. I believe the Lord loves when I enjoy a day as it unfolds. I try not to miss Him in a friend's hug, a bird on a branch, a gentle breeze, or a call from a friend in need...or if He calls me to prayer, fasting or reading of His word. And if I feel inspired, to paint, or create something pretty in His name.

debbie bailey said...

Me, I love your comment! I have to constantly remind myself that it's these small things that matter more than how many things I can mark off a list.