How to be really good at something—practice it. / by Chris W. Hubbard


We all, to some extent, fantasize about things we wish we could be good at. I find myself fantasizing about all sorts of things I wish I was good at—projects I’d like to lead or businesses I wish I could start. I fantasize about doing extreme backbends like the ones I saw Jared McCann do at the Asia Yoga Conference in Hong Kong—gasps from the crowd echoing throughout the room.

Businesses fantasize in this way all the time. Almost every single brand I’ve had the opportunity to work with wishes they were a brand like Nike or Apple, gracing the covers of Fast Company with millions of admirers around the world. And honestly, I can relate because I want the same thing for myself.

What we usually hear is that being good at something is a just a matter of hard work. That if we work hard enough, we just might turn our fantasies into realities. The problem with this is that “hard work” can be hard to define, and in my opinion, a bit misleading.

There are a few things I feel are important to acknowledge about fantasies of being good at something:

1 - 'Being' something is really easy.
2 - Being 'good' at something isn’t hard it just takes a lot of practice.

For example, If you want to be a piano player, you can simply go out and buy yourself a piano, take it home, bang on it a bit and boom, you’re a piano player. Becoming “good” at the piano isn’t as much about “hard work" as it is about consistent, daily practice. Sit down at your new piano for 15 minutes a day—not hard—and you will move from bad toward good, guaranteed. How long it takes is a different matter, but it’s a far cry from hard.

Same thing for brands. Get yourself a well-thought-out brand name, a logo designed by professionals and a suitable website and you have a brand. Become a good brand, not by exerting a lot of “hard work” but by practicing the art of branding in the same way one might practice the piano. Do it every single day, and commit to it long term. You will move from “basic brand” to "good brand" over time, guaranteed.

The lesson for me? Stop thinking that if I put in 120% effort in a few of my classes I'll suddenly nail that killer backbend, and instead focus on simply doing the practice. Over time—maybe a long time—I'll get there too.