The Importance of Repetition

March 16, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Here are a few tidbits of information about learning:

  • When learning anything it is best to do it over and over until your competence level is where it needs to be in order to perform with pressure (of all kinds).
  • Theoretical study is only good when it is balanced with actual action, ie doing. You will learn much faster if you maintain a more even ratio of theory and action in the area one is studying.
  • I approach everything new on a gradient. Little by little I increase the difficulty. This is great when you can take your time to learn something without pressure. Of course, sometimes that isn't possible and you have to walk to the deep end and dive. This is where your capacity to overcome problems and unfamiliarity are put to the test. Most people will succeed, to a greater or lesser extent, if they can master their own fear.

You too can be the best pie jouster with enough practice.

 

Back to repetition.

Factually, the benefit of repetition as I see it, is that allows one not only a certain competence level, but also a consistent output. This is important when one is depended upon to produce consistent results (for magazines, for businesses, for people). 

I'm not saying, "don't mix things up". You should. This repetition thing is applicable to you doing something new. Even the "pro" applies this concept if they do something new (in their field). And because of their experience it may only take a couple of times before they can do it over and over to consistent result. Takes practice.

I could shoot headshots all day but put me in a wedding and I would likely end up at the bar. Ok, I wouldn't but weddings are not something I do. I can count on the first 3 fingers of either hand how many weddings I have shot.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. It went something like this:

"So do you shoot weddings?"

Me: "No. Nope, not my thing."

"Oh."

Me: "Yeah, I don't even like weddings. I try not to go to them at all."

Needless to say my "repetition" of shooting weddings is very low. It's not that I can't, I could (with practice). But I'd rather be repetitive in any other field of photography, just no: weddings (or babies, children, maternity) unless it's something really unique or avant-garde. 

I was at a gun range one time when it dawned on me that every time I pulled the trigger I was doing something repetitive toward the goal of improving, in this case, my aim. As I practiced I got better. Repetition. Every time I showed up at baseball practice. Repetition. 

And if you stop, you can become "rusty" to a certain extent. It's good to keep doing the things that you want to continue to have an ability in. They say, use it or lose it. It's true.

Everything technical takes practice. It takes doing it over and over and over again. And if after you've gone and tried and tried and are just not getting it, find a mentor to help you. Or skip the wasted time and find a mentor right away. If it's related to photography or business, feel free to drop me a line. I MIGHT be able to help or I know people that can. =)


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