Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just do it: The beauty of practice

I identify myself professionally these days as a scientist practitioner, which I've written a bit about here and here. Sometimes people react badly to the term "practitioner," maybe because it's something that is often used to distinguish it from research, particularly in expert communities. When thought of in that way, it's a challenge to see it in a positive light, because it's already been described in the negative, as what it's not.

In spite of that, I really gravitate toward this identity - I love the idea that the word used to describe what I do is also something based on the actuality of doing it. Meaning: I am a practitioner, and I practice.

The giant hivemind dictionary describes practice as:
1) the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use
2) repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

I love the use of the words "actual application" - it must have been defined by a practitioner! These definitions capture the idea that there is a difficulty in practice, but also the potential for and a process of mastery. It's something that can be returned to over and over.

Whenever I get off course, caught up in ego or envy or frustration or even boredom, I try to remind myself that it's all about the practice, and then I try to spend the day actually practicing. There is a true beauty in that.

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