5 P’s To Getting Good At Anything

I like to say music taught me practice, persistence, and patterns. 

But after writing/talking about it, and getting some further questions and comments (thank you), I’m realizing there’s 2 more P’s for this list. Performance and patience. They have their place too. 

So let’s try this again:

The 5 P’s to getting good at anything: (1) practice, (2) performance, (3) persistence, (4) patience, and (5) patterns. 

Practice, or learning how to get in the shed and work an idea out, is a skill you have to develop. It’s a willingness to go back and work on something over and over again. These are private repetitions. 

Performance, or getting out of the shed to show your work to the world, is how we find out what our practice is worth. Not necessarily financially or even purely social, but because if we’re going to put in the time to practice, eventually we should share it with someone. Creativity requires our creations enter the world, and that requires public performance. 

Persistence is essential to both the practicing and performing process. It’s the recognition of the process as a loop. And sometimes it feels like it goes nowhere. 

Patience follows persistence. It’s the reality of loop revolving but not yet evolving. It’s the belief that an upwards spiral is possible if we keep persistently practicing and then performing in public. 

Patterns, like what we’re doing in this process, are ultimately everywhere. The repetitions are the building blocks for learning. More importantly, the repetitions are the building blocks for creating. 

What we practice becomes what we can perform. When we iterate, with persistence and patience, we accept the presence of patterns. Once we position the patterns in just the right way, we can create. 

And with the creative act, we can spiral upwards. 

Memes and genes. 

All the way down and all the way up.