It’s easy

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Johnny Shines played the blues. He was good and he knew it. At one performance, he began a song with a causally played rif of great complexity, then paused, smiled at the audience and said “It’s easy, if ya know how.”

His comment stuck in my mind. Knowing how to do something well is the key to success. And the only way to know how is to do it. Over and over. Call it practice, experience, whatever. But we have to acquire skills.

Knowledge is easier to gain. We can read about something, watch a video or a live demonstration and bam, we have the knowledge. We know how it’s done. We can tell others how to do it with great authority. But that does not mean we can actually do it.

Skills can only be acquired by practice. I once heard it said that experience was nothing more than having spent enough time on task to learn all the possible pitfalls. It takes some of us longer to develop skills. Some people have a natural affinity for certain tasks and they become skilled early on. Others struggle for years and never really gain mastery. But, if you want to do it badly enough, you stick with it and one day you realize you’ve got it.

I love it when that happens!

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It takes work

Every time I see a video or read a tutorial about how to do something, I think again about what it takes to really master a process. There are two parts to learning. One is the acquisition of knowledge. The other is the acquisition of skill.