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Practice to Improve

When we want to improve at something – playing baseball, playing the piano, speaking in public – what do we do? We practice; we repeat certain motions, we listen to recordings of ourselves, we watch video tapes of our performances, we slow down, we speed up. In short, we immerse ourselves in activities that give us more skill at performing.

In our daily lives, we also practice, though we don't generally recognize it. How do we practice? We practice by the constant repetition of our actions, responses, speech patterns, driving habits, etc. That is, we practice simply by repeating the same things that we've done day in and day out, year after year.

If you're happy with your life, then maybe this is OK. However, if you're not happy, if you're suffering in some way, then you've got to do something different. Of course, the way to learn to behave differently is to practice a new behavior.

How to Know What to Practice

One of the problems with trying to do something different, though, is to know what to do. It's certainly possible to do this on your own by thinking about it – What don't I like, what is its cause, what can I do to change the cause? However, some very bright people have already put in a lot of thought, and most of us will find it much easier if we can simply apply what somebody else has already learned.

To learn what to practice, you'll probably find it easier if you take a class, read a book, or talk to someone knowledgeable. That is, find a teacher of some sort. Have the teacher give you instructions on what to practice. Then practice, and you'll change. It takes time, but it's very effective.