Twenty years ago I took part in a self-defense training class put on by the NAVY Seals. The course covered a variety of topics with the end goal of becoming highly-proficient in target shooting.

One phrase that the instructors used repeatedly has stuck with me over the years:

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”

You’ve got to start slow in order to get fast. It’s true in every aspect of learning. When you first start out learning something new you break it down to the mechanics. You’re not efficient because you don’t know everything there is to know. As you dedicate yourself to training and putting the time in you start to learn and become more proficient in whatever it is you’re doing.

Observing a master perform his or her trade is an amazing thing. Whether it’s a professional athlete, artist, or performer it’s easy to spot when someone has reached a level of mastery. They make it look effortless. What we don’t see is the hours of work behind the scenes that have led to that point of mastery.

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly at first. In the instant-gratification society we live in today we’ve lost that insight. No one has ever picked something up for the first time and instantly mastered it. Appreciate the hard work that goes into reaching the elite level of mastery.

THINGS WILL BE DIFFICULT AT FIRST. It takes 10,000 hours of intentional work to achieve mastery… How many hours have you put in?

Remember when you start something new – “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

Dr. SeaDr. Douglas Sea, CTO, SIDECAR

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