When Old is > New

“I’d rather learn something new than practice something old.”

I noted this in my phone a while back. I can’t remember where I heard it or why I took note, but it recently piqued my interest as I just finished reading a couple of good books. They’re in the personal development genre. Both had clear and very tangible takeaways. Each book offered one or two things I could apply to my life today for my benefit.

But I’d rather move on to a new book than take the time and make the effort to actually apply the insight I gained. I want the entertainment of reading inspiring stories more than taking on the challenge of changing something about me. 

I like moving on to the next book. Reading is comfortable. Learning can be captivating. It’s another story, however, to put into practice what I’ve learned. 

When I was training as a basketball player, it was alway fun to learn a new move. I’d learn the footwork and details, and I’d rep it out until I got it right. Then I was ready to move on to the next move. I wanted to add to my ‘bag,’ of course. Give me more. I want to have all the moves. 

My goal shouldn’t have been to practice until I got it right; my goal should’ve been to practice until I couldn’t get it wrong. 

It’s exciting to move on to the next thing. It feels like progress, right?! 

I’ve read all these self-help books…but have I improved in one small area of my life?

I’ve got all these moves on the basketball court…but have I mastered any of them? 

I’ve got all these contacts in my phone book…but do I have any meaningful relationships?

I’ve memorized all these scriptures…but do I know God?

New can be good. More is always appealing. Change is certain. But I don’t want to rush to what’s next. What if what I have right here, right now is pretty darn good? What if the best way to experience the next level is to more fully enjoy and embrace what I have and where I’m at this moment?

Give me less lessons and more persistence to stick with what’s most important.

The best basketball players have a big bag of tricks. Most aspiring players try to mimic and add a bunch of moves in a single off season or even one workout. But the best begin with one ‘go-to’ move. They master that, and then develop one counter to their move. They get great at those two things. Then, and only then, is it time to move on.

I want to take this approach to more of my life. Slow down. Determine what’s most important. Do the work. Rep it out. Repeat. Substance over style. Wisdom over knowledge. Practice over impatience.

I will practice something old rather than learn something new.


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