Practice will give you an advantage – increased skills and humility

Practice will give you an advantage – increased skills and humility

“Through practice, gently and gradually we can collect ourselves and learn how to be more fully with what we do.” – Jack Kornfield

How does one become a better writer, teacher, programmer, leader? With practice.

How does a toddler go from crawling on their hands and knees to walking on their two feet? With practice.

How does a parent learn to be a better parent and a spouse learn to be a better spouse? You guessed it – with practice.

The list is truly endless but this fact is unavoidable – if you practice anything repetitively (especially when you’re a novice) your goals are more attainable. Arrogance, however, is a roadblock you continue to swerve around, but refuse to acknowledge.

I recently identified a video project within my company, and limited resources to accomplish it in a reasonable time. A colleague suggested I reach out to local colleges in the area – querying the multimedia department for a student who might be looking to build their portfolio with a professional organization.

As many of us probably remember, internships were a great way to learn and even practice our desired career path in a real-world setting. What many of these internships had in common, however, was their lack of pay. But the experience and the practice were worth the trade-off.

This video project followed a similar format.

I was happy to get a response fairly quickly but dumbfounded by the tone and arrogance of the professor I reached out to.

For starters, he was insulted that I would not be offering his students any financial gain for their time – saying this was a “craft” that deserved to be paid for, and if he gave it to me for free, why not the entire community.  He went on to say that he found the scope of the video project uninteresting – dismissing the manufacturing my company does as unimportant and unworthy of his student’s talent.

I politely thanked him for his time and hit “send”.

What I really wanted to remind him was these are college students. I’m not at all saying they are not talented, not creative and not skillful at technological advances I know nothing about. But at the end of the day they are still just students, who have yet to accrue the kind of clout needed to command payment for services rendered or any kind of pomposity.

When I was in college, I saw value in the experience and the ability to list that experience on my resume. It’s not always about getting paid early on in your career – it’s about building your credibility and understanding that the more you practice, the better you’ll become.

I guess the students at this college in Nevada have all the practice they need – have comprehensive portfolios, professional business references and one more thing – incredible egos. Shame on me for thinking that my paltry little video could have benefitted the generation of tomorrow as they continue to grow and develop.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Perhaps that professor should make a video about that.