"The key difference between doing and practicing is this: When you practice an action, you aren't merely repeating by rote but rather are striving to improve or to refine whatever you are doing." - Dan Millman, The Four Purposes of Life.
A simple, yet profound thought.
We have talked before about living life by default - simply going through the motions - and living with intention. Many of us are stuck in jobs that have us simply going through the motions, leading us to the paycheck at the end of the rainbow.
Today is seems that the idea of practicing a career falls solely in the arts. A musician practices his craft. An artist practices to precision. But how many blue collar works see their chosen vocation as a practice?
I am guessing most would say that they go to work and do the work. It is more of an A leads to B type of mentality, rather than working to improve or refine a skill.
And it makes sense that we think this. Most businesses are guided by the idea of output, the bottom line. What matters most is getting the work done, and getting it done in the fastest, effienct way possible.
So, we continue to go to work and do.
We get the work done, and move our work and business forward. And somewhere along the line, we lose any concept of practice.
We practice a sport, art, and insturment - but how often do we practice daily life, instead of mindlessly going through the motions?
We hear about the concept of daily practice. But it is typically only associated with yoga, meditation, or another fitness related activity or study. But daily practice is just that - daily. It shouldn't be condoned to a yoga mat or gym treadmill. A daily practice should be practiced all day long.
If we are looking to bring greater meaning and purpose into our work lives, we need to also find a greater sense of practice throughout our daily lives.
How would your work life change if you shifted your mindset form doing to practice? If you job was no longer just a task you completeld for a paycheck, but instead became in integral part of your daily practice of life. Something that you would strive to improve, or refine over time?
Even if you are not sure that your chosen career at the time is your true calling, try shifting your mindset for a while. Stop simply doing at work, and start viewing your every day as a practice. Practice each task, each moment. Find a greater sense of meaning through striving to better your skills, knowledge, or work flow.
By making a simple mindset shift from doing to practicing, you may just be surprised how you feel about your job a few months from now.
At times we find purpose in the most unexpected of places - once we learn how to view our world through a different lense.