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On a Desert Island, and Thinking Trees Have Critical Minds

I remember dancing when I was a child of about five-years old. The lack of coordination and spastic moves were the hallmarks of my groove, and I didn't care one bit that I looked like Elaine Benes of "Seinfeld." I just moved., just as she did. As a five-year old there was nothing buried in my subconscious that suggested that I was unable to fully express the beat and rhythm of the music through me. Where does the doubt come from?

Today, I watched Maxwell dance in his music video "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and I see how self-doubt can overwhelm anyone who dances if compared to his moves. The man is smooth. Self-doubt, if not careful, will rise when we compare ourselves to others and especially when we say to ourselves "I can never dance like that." Perhaps. But is that true? Not according to the science of Deliberate Practice.

Break dancers have successively built on their skill, challenged repeatedly by the next great dancer. They get there by practicing a particular move, alone, over and over again, and while it's important to dance as if no one is watching, for an increase in skill, it is important to have a skilled someone who can give you feedback in your efforts as you improve your skill.

Doubt comes from self-consciousness, and self-consciousness is an awareness of ourselves in a body, living among a community of minds. As we become conscious of ourselves, we tend to examine ourselves against those in our immediate community. Arguably, then, the goal of getting better at anything requires being conscious of ourselves against a standard of performance. It also requires belief in ourselves and accepting accurate, helpful criticism from an accomplished person in the field of interest.

Keep in mind that being considered an expert or recognized in anything requires individualized effort and guidance, but it is not sufficient to be successful when other minds are needed to appreciate your efforts. Then, don't do it in isolation. Don't criticize yourself into isolation and procrastination. Spend each day with a predetermined time to sit or engage in the activity you want to improve on. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend on it. Watch instructional videos or read authors who are masters in the area. Then, search for appropriate feedback. If you want to dance like Maxwell, you will need to be disciplined with your time.

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