Practices

DD Day 047 Week 07 Q1 Saturday, February 17, 2024

The term’ practice’ is versatile and can be used in various contexts. It can be an action, as in practicing to perform at Carnegie Hall. It can also be a possession, as when a doctor or lawyer has a medical or legal practice. Furthermore, it can be a habit, as when a meditator has a meditation practice. This versatility of’ practice’ showcases the nuances of language.

Now does a musician have a practice or do they regularly practice? Just as a doctor may not have a practice, or be in a practice, and could be called a lapsed doctor but they may still have a medical license and be licensed to practice medicine, if they maintain their license. Reinstating an expired license can be a laborious process.

Can a practice be intermittent? Can a practitioner be intermittent? Can a lawyer sometimes be a lawyer and sometimes not? Those of us in the arts, do not often have a license to practice, and we may be intermittent in our pursuit of our particular art.

Renowned pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski1 once said “Miss one day of practice, I notice; miss two, the critics notice; miss three, the audience notices.” And reinstating an expired level of proficiency can also be a laborious process.

It can be useful to think of a practice as having you, instead of something you have or something you do. When a practice has you, it can support you. For example, pilots and others engaged in potentially dangerous activities, have a preflight checklist to improve safety by ensuring that no important tasks are forgotten. Failure to correctly conduct a preflight check using a checklist is a major contributing factor to accidents.

People can practice a lot and still not have a practice that can support them. Just because they practice does not mean they are practitioners. In order for a practice to support you you have to be a practitioner and this requires practicing a behavior regularly and properly enough to become habituated or automated.  Once the proper behaviors become automated in the form of habits you can then have a practice that can support you.

Wrong habits can also be habituated which leads to a practice that can not support you. Be careful about what is in your practice and vigilantly re-examine it because circumstances change, which require your practice to change if it is to continue to be able to support you.

It is difficult, if not impossible to have very many practices, as they each take time, so prioritization is called for, which is one reason multi-tasking can result in disaster.  It would be pretty hard to maintain a medical and legal practice and its required licenses unless they were integrated. 

You can have multiple practices and remain proficient as a practitioner in multiple disciplines, but it does take a lot of integration work as there is simply not enough time in the day for the critics not to notice.

Take a good look at your practices and make sure there is actually enough time to be a practitioner, whose practice can have you and support you instead of simply being a dilletant.