Monday, January 13, 2014

Girl Teaches Self to Dance in a Year - And Creates a 100-day Challenge

Persistence. Grit. Determination. Practice.

These are the qualities that are the key to success. Malcolm Gladwell made a big deal about the 10,000 hours of practice necessary to achieve mastery for many skills/talents. And much has been written about how to promote and cultivate these characteristics, especially in children. Of course, it's rare that we can actually see, or have evidence, of the transformation that comes from such consistent practice. That's why the story of the girl who taught herself to dance in one year is so interesting.

Karen X. Cheng's simple challenge to herself - learn to dance in a year - became an inspirational story fueled by a viral video on YouTube. That experiment, viewed by millions, has become something much larger - a challenge to everyone to make changes in their lives by committing 100 days to practice.  Karen's Give It 100 encourages people to practice something - "anything" - for one hundred days and record videos of each day. The whole point is to simply try in a completely shame-free and confident way. So far, thousands have accepted the challenge. And there's no doubt this sort of chain reaction can change lives. For, as Karen notes.

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.

So, what are you going to do?

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