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“Don’t wait for your mojo to get to the dojo.”………… me 🙂

Daniel Coyle talks about "windshield time" or time spent watching people doing the kinds of things that you want to do or didn't even think of doing before.  You can do it with people, books, tapes, and languages.   Cultivate your windshield.   photo source:  unprofound.com.

Daniel Coyle talks about “windshield time” or time spent watching people doing the kinds of things that you want to do or didn’t even think of doing before. You can do it with people, books, tapes, and languages. Cultivate your windshield. photo source: unprofound.com.

A funny thing happened on the way back from the dojo.  My oldest daughter takes karate lessons.   My wife takes our two year old daughter, who just watches.  Lately when we watch our oldest practice at home, the littlest also tries to execute the form.   I’m not a real samurai but the toddler’s form looks pretty good.

It’s the power of “staring at who you want to become.”   This little mantra comes from The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle.  He studied “talent hotbeds” across the world.  One of the patterns he noticed across a lot of these training centers is that there is often a period of training where students observe the skill with intensity before actually practicing.  In one Russian tennis center, students watch advanced players before they even pick up a racket.

I would also add that it’s important to have fun with “staring” at who you want to become.   You could watch Jimi Hendrix play guitar and shout, “Jimi is God! I am not worthy!”  (I still say that! 🙂 )   However, even Hendrix sucked at one point.   You don’t have to avoid those feelings.   But, you can also choose to put them to the side and just–watch.   He plays on this part of the guitar, then moves his finger there, etc.

There are many ways to ride the stare-way to betterment:

  • keep the quotes from people who are doing what you want to do and think the way you want to think and review it in your samurai notebook….also copy out the phrases of writers whose style you admire
  • get into the sounds of the foreign language you want to acquire . . . no self-loathing because you don’t understand it yet just let yourself bathe in it . . . find the fun, funny and inspirational and move on … see AJATT.com on this one
  • don’t get threatened or angry at people that are “better” than you in whatever skill you want to acquire . . . watch them closely . . . watch for how they work and also how they bring joy and fun to their work . . . be grateful for people who are better than you.  If you still feel threatened or angry that’s fine .  Hating yourself for your feelings isn’t productive.  Recognize it and find something to stare at (in a nice way!).
  • listen to the people that inspire you on headphones . . . the only English I allow on my headphones is audiobooks by Steve Chandler . . . I don’t agree with everything he says but I like the positive direction and humor of  his work.

Don’t short-circuit yourself by rehearsing how bad you feel about your lack of skill.  If it’s true that you become what you focus on, have some fun.  Stare into the present.

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