Routine has nothing to do with repetition. To become really good at anything, you have to practice and repeat, practice and repeat, until the technique becomes intuitive. I learned this when I was a child, in a small town in Brazil’s interior where my family used to spend the summer holidays. I was fascinated by the work of a blacksmith who lived nearby. I would sit for what seemed like an eternity, watching his hammer rise and fall on the red-hot-steel, scattering sparks all around, like fireworks. Once, he said, “You probably think I”m doing the same thing over and over, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, you’re wrong. Each time I bring the hammer down, the intensity of the blow is different, sometimes it’s harder, sometimes, it’s softer. But I learned that only after I’d been repeating the same gesture for many years, until the moment came when I didn’t think – I simply let my hand guide my work.”
I’ve never forgotten those words.
- O Aleph, Paulo Coelho -