“Deep practice is a strange concept for two reasons. The first reason is that it cuts against our intuition about talent. Our intuition tells us that practice relates to talent in the same way that a whetstone relates to a knife: it’s vital but useless without a solid blade of so-called natural ability. Deep practice raises an intriguing possibility: that practice might be the way to forge the blade itself.”
– The Talent Code, The Sweet Spot, Daniel Coyle
This is really so like him to forget the keys, keep the oven on, leave the sneakers in a pile by the door. The plant, the one we purchased last Monday was it?, no, no the one on the bookshelf, brown spots are forming, just like the last one. Tiny streaks, veins, lines, signalling more water, more light, the passing of time. Every day at noon I said, let’s practice that habit. Keep the watering can (a yard sale find, no doubt) by the shelf – a sticky note, a thread around the finger.
This morning he is trying his hand (the one with the thread) at tennis. Economically viable, he said. This time, I am sticking with it. A tennis ball, a racket (yard sale, again) and sneakers (top of the pile). 8:00am every other day, this is my practice “time” at the courts. 2 miles from the back entrance, a 25min walk, beside the dog park. Serve, hit, serve, hit, 2 hours. I’m building momentum see, he beamed, shadow serving in socks with an invisible racket. I nod looking past him at the wall, my painting from last year. I should take up painting again. More stimulating than tennis, no? It was a “filling” practice, my time wasting when I was in a fog.
Can you stop practicing and eat with me, I ushered with my fork in the direction of his full plate. All work, no play, he huffed. I thought tennis was a serious practice, echoing his reminder from last week. Not all the time, he countered. All the time, imagine. All the painting I could do.