Easily the most inspiring thing I’ve seen in awhile. The video says it all.
More brilliance from Karen, about dancing, but really, how to be an effective autodidact. The real lesson from her is about learning how to learn.:
People who watch me dance today sometimes assume I’ve been dancing for many years. I made this video so you could see the awkward body that started just one year ago.
Here’s my secret: I practiced everywhere. At bus stops. In line at the grocery store. At work — Using the mouse with my right hand and practicing drills with my left hand. You don’t have to train hardcore for years to become a dancer. But you must be willing to practice and you better be hungry.
This isn’t a story about dancing, though. It’s about having a dream and not knowing how to get there — but starting anyway. Maybe you’re a musician dreaming of writing an original song. You’re an entrepreneur dying to start your first venture. You’re an athlete but you just haven’t left the chair yet.
When you watch someone perform, you’re seeing them at the top of their game. When they score the winning point or sell their company for millions — you’re seeing them in their moment of glory. What you don’t see is the thousands of hours of preparation. You don’t see the self doubt, the lost sleep, the lonely nights spent working. You don’t see the moment they started. The moment they were just like you, wondering how they could ever be good.
…I’ve practiced about 500 hours so far, which isn’t much if you think about it. I’ve got a full-time job and I’m dancing only 1-2 hours a day. The real professionals are practicing 7, 10, 12 hours a day. You probably don’t have that much time to dance, so you’ve got to make the most of it.
Be smart about how you practice. Don’t just mindlessly dance the same moves over and over. Critique yourself and identify the things you need to work on. If you can coach yourself, you’ll learn much faster.
–Karen X Cheng, http://danceinayear.com/