We listen to an amazing piece played on the piano. We watch pro athletes score a touchdown or a hoop. We read a beautiful piece of literature or look at an art on display. We are captivated, mesmerized. Like I did, I’m sure you’ve asked this question one way or another: how did they do it?
Malcolm Gladwell made it famous: the 10,000 hour rule – claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours. Years after the book Outliers was published, psychologists proved Gladwell wrong, stating that practice only accounted for 12% difference in performance across different domains.
I’m not going to disagree with Gladwell nor the psychologists (it will take me years before I can even earn a degree in psychology). They both have their points. But I’m sure both of the parties would agree when I say that people who excel in their fields do something that the mediocre ones don’t. That could be doing something for 10,000 hours or something else. Call it whatever you want. I like to call it a ritual.
A ritual is defined as a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. This has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with consistency and commitment. In fact, consistency and commitment are what successful people are really good at.
Listen to a great piano player and he can play even while talking to you. Watch how pro athletes can do their routines even when it feels like they’re not even paying attention. I’m sure that didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of hard work and conditioning themselves before they reached that level. They paid their dues, made their investments and committed to the consistency. Over time, they’ve developed the skill to a point where they reached expert-level status.
You know what the irony behind this is? Successful people still go over their rituals consistently. Despite the fact that they are already at the top of their game. It’s no wonder why they are experts in heir own field.
The rituals we do daily impacts the results we get in our lives. Do you spend more time reading social media posts than honing your skill? Do you watch more TV than read about how to improve your life? Do you spend more money than thinking about how to make more?
If you’re not happy with the results that you’re getting, it’s about time to replace the rituals that you’re practicing.