I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.-  Bruce lee

Last week, I discussed an important characteristic of a professional. ‘Pride’.

This week I discuss another important characteristic that makes up a professional. I call it ‘Practice’.

What kind of ‘Practice’ one should aspire for ?

Is ‘Jack of all trades’ acceptable ?

If you are extremely ‘good at one thing’ and are miserable at everything else, is that acceptable ?

In my view, I have found it rewarding to go what I possibly would call as the “T” skills .

It essentially means that you are extremely good at one specific thing (Depth) and are generally adept at picking up various other aspects (Breadth) and can repeat this at will.

As an example, if you are a software developer, you will possibly be a great backend engineer, who knows the secrets behind running systems 24 / 7, but you will not mind dabbling a and getting your hands dirty on a responsive website occasionally.

As you grow in your profession, you might evolve to a great technology leader, but once in a while you will not mind standing up and delivering a fine sales pitch. In my personal experience the greatest engineers ended up being the greatest sales guys. You want proof of this, read this first round article (titled from C++ to the C-suite). I want to take this article up for debate in a later issue, but the article will give you proof that I am not way off in my case of arguing for a “T” skill.

I view practice itself as three kinds.

  • Mandatory – The thing you do get your monthly SMS (Pay Cheque)
  • Continuous – The things you do to keep yourself updated in areas related to your profession and also building the general skills. Widening the horizontal line in “T’.
  • Deliberate – The things you do to advance yourself in a particular expertise. Lengthening the vertical line in “T”. You will be known as the “GO TO” person for this kind of skill. You are a recognized and an acknowledged expert and internally when you practice this skill, you are in a state of Flow, where you lose all sense of time.

I can go on and on each of this three types of practice, but I am trying to restrict my ramblings to one A4 sized page.

As a possible exercise of reflection, would you be able to draw up a simple sheet, classify your skills into breadth and depth and give yourself a score. Also against each of that skill what is the kind of practice that you are employing ? (Mandatory, Continuous, Deliberate)

You might be surprised that you may not be doing anything but the Mandatory.

It is my observation as we age ourselves into our profession, the continuous and deliberate practices take a back seat.

Do we have that sense of ‘We have arrived into our profession’ ?  Is that a good thought to have ?

What do you think ?

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)