Have you ever noticed how repetition makes things easier? In other words, the more you do something the easier it gets. Let’s say your new job requires you to make cold sales calls but you have very little experience and even less desire. You are required to do it in order to keep your job so you bite the bullet and pick up the phone. You’re nervous, your mouth is dry and your palms are sweaty but you forge ahead in spite of the feelings. What happens? You do it! You speak to someone, struggle through your sales pitch and end the call. You did not die!! So, you do it again only this time with a little less nervousness and a little less stumbling and you survive! Yay! As you continue to make sales calls, you are less nervous and more skilled in your presentation. You are more relaxed and start making sales. Your confidence grows as you become more competent.
Repetition can also sharpen your skills. Think about your golf swing for a minute. The more you practice, the more skilled you become. Now, it’s important to practice the right techniques in order to improve. As John Maxwell says, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.” So if you have a bad golf swing, practicing the wrong way to do it will not make you a better golfer. It will just cement that bad swing into your game. However, once you have the right technique, continuing to practice will improve your skill level and thereby improve your golf game.
I’ve experienced this phenomenon in many areas of life. Let’s take running for example. As a new runner I struggled to run for any length of time. I felt like my lungs would burst and my legs just might fall off! What I found was that as I consistently attempted to run, it became easier. My lungs and my legs became stronger and my ability to keep running grew. It was not easy, it was a struggle at times. What if I had stopped trying to run because my lungs hurt and I was out of breath? Or what if every time I felt the urge to stop, I did? Would I be a runner? NO, I would still be walking everywhere!
So much of life is determined by what goes on inside our head. Whether we succeed or fail is determined by which voice we listen to inside our head. If I had listened to the voice telling me I couldn’t possibly run another step, I would have stopped running and probably quit altogether. But I chose to listen to the voice that said I could do it, that my body could do more than my mind was telling me. I believed I could, so I did! That is a brief sentence but it carries so much power. I believed I could, so I did! What you believe about yourself is what determines what you do. I believed I was a runner so I became one.
What are you struggling with believing? Is there an area in your life in which you feel trapped? What do you need to believe about yourself today that will help you achieve it tomorrow? How can you reframe your thinking or change the tape you’re playing inside your head to change your action today? I believed I could, so I did!