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February 16th, 2010

The Power of Positive Practice

Last week I wrote about 10,000 hours of practice. Today I’m going to write about the power of positive practice – or the power of repetition – and how many to do if you want to move ahead.

Now, let’s say you’re a martial artist and you want to know how 10,000 hours of practice applies to you.

Well, in order to become legendary, you’ll still need 10,000 hours. But in order to master a number of different skills along the way, you may be better off concentrating on overall repetitions.

In Chinese martial arts, for example, it’s common for the old masters to say, “Do 1,000 repetitions of this movement everyday and you’ll own it.”

And if the student will commit to 1,000 reps a day, within a year he’ll be a force to reckon with in that particular skill.

Why? Because the average person won’t even commit to 100 reps a day, much less 10. If you’re the person who’ll do 1,000 – you’ll be so smooth and quick that even if the person knows what you’re going to do, he still won’t be able to stop it.

When I had my school in California it was common for me to teach a move that I had worked on for 10-20 years. It was also common for the non-champion student to go off and practice the move two or three times, then turn to me and say, “What’s next boss?”

“What’s next? WHAT’S NEXT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

I have a friend, Mitch, who was 0-13 as a martial artist. Then his coach took him aside and told him the secret to winning. “Practice everyday – more than anyone else.”

A month later a world champion told him, “1,000 kicks per day, per leg.”

Mitch followed what these champions told him. And within three months he wasn’t just winning, he was destroying everyone. His matches weren’t even close.

270-straight wins later, Mitch knew the secret of his success wasn’t positive thinking – it was positive doing.

It was Positive Practice.

Another martial arts friend, Jack, gave me a tool as a gift. And along with the tool the advice, “Practice your first move with it 200 times a day for 10 days.”

The first day I was clumsy with it. The second day less clumsy. The third day, much better.  And after ten days and 2,000+ reps, I was incredibly fast compared to when I started. And I still have a long way to go if I’m going to master this tool.

When it comes to a major skill, you’ll need 10,000 hours to achieve mastery. But you can master sub-skills – or small parts of the big puzzle by doing 50, 100, 200 or 1,000 repetitions per day.

My friend, Pete, told me the story of how he became a great pitcher. “My Dad had me throw 50 pitches a night through a tire hanging from a tree in our back yard. And I didn’t get my evening meal until all 50 pitches went through the tire. By the time I was 16 I could put the ball in the strike zone anywhere I wanted.”

If you think in terms of hours, one hour of practice per day will get you to 10,000 hours in 27.39 years. 30 minutes a day will take you 54.79 years.

But if you spend two hours per day – you’ll get there in 13.69 years. Three hours per day will get you there in 9.13 years. Four hours per day will only take you 6.84 years. And if you put in eight hours per day you can reach mastery in 3.42 years.

Putting in an hour a day may seem impossible to you – especially over 27+ years. That’s when a gentle reminder about concentrating on the number of repetitions per day makes the whole ball game much easier to play.

Most days I walk four miles at a pretty good clip, usually in less than an hour.

10,000 hours of walking will take me 27 years or so, unless I go to eight, 12 or 20 miles a day.

10,000 miles at 4 miles per day will take me 6.84 years.

And if I concentrate on doing 1,000 miles – well, I can crank that out in 250 days.

Earl Nightingale once wrote that a half-hour per day of reading on a single subject would make you a world renowned authority on it within seven years. That’s 1,277.50 hours.

And just think what you’d know if you read ten times that amount.

For those in search of mastery, for those who gain meaning from being on a journey, the power of positive practice is something to embrace.

To see the power of these principles applied par excelence, make sure you read a copy of The Unbeatable Man.

Along with your order you’ll receive a copy of The Power of Thought Vibration – a CD you’ll want to listen to again and again for guts, guidance and good fortune.

Best,

Matt Furey

P.S. Anything in life that you want to become good at can be done by following the Law of Practice – a cornerstone of The Unbeatable Man philosophy.

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