Avoid the Shallow Practice Session

I have always known that if I want to get good at something that I need to practice.  And it doesn’t matter what it is, I must practice and that is that.  I have always believed that talent is something that one must obtain, that it doesn’t come “naturally” as so many like to believe.  Sure, we all have heard stories about the prodigies, but from what I can tell they are few and far between.

While reading a book today titled, “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler.  I have learned that reading is an art, that to get as much information as possible out of a book, it takes art.  And art is nothing more than a set of skills that after practiced for several hours, become second nature.  And when the set of skills become second nature, the person can then bend the skills to create what is wanted or needed.

I want to get more out of the books that I read.  For many years, I thought that simply reading books gives me more knowledge, of which I still agree.  But if quality reading skills are mastered, reading can become an art.  And when the art of reading is used, one can read a book and gain more knowledge, doubt, questions, and answers than just about anyway known to man.

This is how it should be.  Two people read the same book and then are asked the exact same questions.  What is the book, as a whole about?  What is the author’s main argument?  What are the author’s solutions to the argument?  And what did you get out of it?  The two who read the book should answer the first two questions similar, but after that.  The answers should vary.  Why?  Because there should have been a conversation between the author and the reader, thus creating completely different answers.

Don’t do a shallow practice session.  If you’re going to practice, take the time to practice.  Practice one skill over and over until it becomes second nature.  Fiddling around with no set goal during a practice session (unless you’re learning to play the fiddle) doesn’t help.  What I learned today is that it doesn’t matter what type of skills you are trying to acquire.  The goal should be to try and become an artist with that set of skills.  Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes art.


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