Practice

I???ve used the word practice a fair bit in recent posts. This is largely inspired by the book I???ve just finished reading ??? The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk.

The book challenges the widely held view that your genes are fixed and separate from any environmental influence (nature vs nurture). Instead your genes and environment interact constantly and by changing the environment you can change the way your genes express themselves.

Much of the framework for intelligence, athleticism, musical ability etc is set out in the first few years of life but NOTHING IS FIXED. Some people may have advantages in certain areas because of physical (tall = basketball) or environmental (musician parents = musician child) factors but improvements in any area can be made at any time of life with the right kind of effort.

As a father and someone that started physical training relatively late in life I find this very inspiring.

The key to making improvements is deliberate, mindful practice. Not practicing what you can already do but constantly pushing for improvements. I can’t invest huge amounts of extra time in a skill, my family and work life would suffer, but I can approach things differently. Training can become a practice, always looking for progress and increasing skill. Strength, fitness and better movement will be part of the process of improving skill.

For P the possibilities are endless. She???s just at the start of her journey and understanding that her path in life is not dictated by genes is pretty mind blowing. All we have to do is believe it is possible and go for it in a deliberate, mindful way.

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