Let’s Talk About Practice (Not a Game)

What’s more important: practice? or the game? Allen Iverson clearly has a favorite side:

Let’s Talk About Practice (Not a Game)What’s more important: practice? or the game? Allen Iverson clearly has a favorite side:

do more

What’s more important: practice? or the game? Allen Iverson clearly has a favorite side:

s/o to AI (to all you tech nerds, not artificial intelligence, Allen Freaking Iverson)

There are so many interesting relationships that you can pull from “practice” versus “games.” Which is more important? How should you divide your time between practice and games?

Here are a couple thoughts of my own, of course they may be wrong:

  1. If you don’t practice, you will never be ready for the game.
  2. You should practice like you are in a game. The closer your practice feels to a game, the better it is.
  3. Everyone else will always make it look easier. Don’t let that bother you.
  4. Practice rarely gives you short term results. And if that is what you are looking for, you probably have to keep looking or cheat.
  5. As soon as you feel you don’t need to practice anymore, you will begin to lose.
  6. The people at the top of their game practice more than anyone else. That is hard to imagine.

Let’s relate all of this nonsense about practice (did I say it enough yet) and games and bring it to something I’ve been focusing on: and that is learning.

Optimizing for learning.

It has been a challenge for sure. Both trying to learn and actually learning, hard things to do. I’ve taken a bit of a different approach to doing learning (or at least tried to), here is kind of what I have been up to:

Two Weeks in San Fransisco Alone, A Day in my Life
Two weeks ago I moved from comfort to San Fransisco. I moved away from my home-cooked meals and free rent. I moved to…medium.com

I’ve come to an interesting point where I am climbing the hill of “learning” and growth, where every little thing counts. And I keep asking myself the question, is what I am doing working? Raises the next question (the purpose of this story): should I be “building more” or “watching more” ?

You see, if you practice poorly: in the gym, the classroom, the workspace, etc. you never take ownership. You never feel like you are in the game. You do a lot of watching.

And if you build poorly, you pick up bad habits, start tarnishing your career, and get wayyyy off track.

But what about the opposite. If you practice well, you mitigate career risk (still not as good as real, BUT) while gaining tons of value. And if you build well, then — heck, you might become an outlier.

So then, which do you choose? And how do you know the “correct” time to choose? How do you know when to start playing more and watching less? Going on the court and off of youtube channels.

When do you gain the confidence to start experimenting, more importantly — comfortable enough to start failing?

The answer, at least the one I am going with — is that you should do everything in your power to put yourself in a position to learn whatever it is you want. That answer will be very different for everyone.

It’s like swimming — some people do better if you just throw them in the pool. But most need lessons. — Keith Rabois

And that is ok. I needed lessons. Just like in the real world — I need mentors, I need resources, I need assistance.

I actually think that everyone does need help. Everyone needs practice. And coaching.

BUT, start improving the way you practice. Start owning your time off the center stage so that when you do fall in love with an idea you can go kick-ass. Start dominating in practice so that you can one day dominate on the main court.


Another thing, perhaps another article…but sharks don’t make a lot of noise 🙂

Thank you sooooo much for reading this kind of long article but I write a blog post every single day so you should read them every once in a while that would make me smile more 🙂


@ jrdngonen on twitter

Tagged in Startup, Allen Iverson

By jordangonen on July 16, 2016.

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Exported from Medium on February 17, 2018.