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How To Get Better At What You Do

Charles Leslie Sr | Master Fly Fisherman

In the early 90s, growing up in Placencia Village, when I was in my last two years of primary school, my parents decided that they would hire a teacher to tutor me in Spanish classes. The reason for this is that my grades in Spanish class was poor, to say the least.

Over the next two years, every evening, from Monday to Friday, the teacher would come to my home, after the normal school day, and tutor me in the fine linguistic art of speaking Spanish. My grades improved a little but not much.

Almost every weekend my dad would take his family - me, my brother and my mom - to one of the nearby islands. It was usually Little Harvest Caye, Pompion Caye or Laughing Bird Caye. Back then you basically had these island for yourselves. Tourism wasn't as big back then, as it is now.

I remember my dad would grab a snorkel and mask and spend hours in the water, just floating there, just a few feet off the beach. I would ask him what he was doing, and he would tell me "studying the pesky permit." He would also spend hours tying knots...over and over and over. I would look at him and become tired just from looking at him sit in one spot tying fishing line and rope in weird knot concoctions. See, my dad was one of the first to transition from commercial fishing into the world of sports fishing and he wanted to learn everything he could.

I did not give his 'craziness' a second thought. I always thought to myself, "Who in the name of God can spend hours looking at some crazy fish and hours tying nonsense. Just catch the fish and put them on the grill - yummy!"

To this day I am not fluent in Spanish. I never put much effort into practicing as a kid and I regret it. For, I believe Spanish is a beautiful language, and it is now something I am dedicated to learning, especially since it is now an asset to be able to speak Spanish.

I consider my dad an outlier, a Master, when it comes to the sport of fly fishing. My dad knows every single detail about fly fishing. He can tell you every intricacies and detail about any specie of fish in Belize. He knows how a fishing rod should bend, why one material is better than the other, why you should use a certain knot. He can literally write and book - and he have, hopefully he finishes it - about sports fishing in Belize.

The point here is, I did not put practice deliberately. I did not focus on learning Spanish. Back then I had no use for the language. I actually despised it. I thought my parents were wasting their money paying a tutor. As for my dad, he utilized deliberate practice, he paid attention to and studied every single aspect of sports fishing, and dedicated his entire life to the practice, and that is how he became one of the few Masters of the sport of fly fishing.

That is how to get better at what you do. You have to deliberately practice. You have to focus on every detail. It is difficult at first. However, the more you practice the more the neuroplasticity of your mind and muscle memory will be programed to do what it is you are practicing, and after about 10,000 hours of dedicated and focused deliberate practice, you will become a Master at your craft.

#selfimprovement #deliberatepractice

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