One clear demarcation that I see between beginners and experts when it comes to hooping is that experts don’t berate themselves when they make a mistake.
Beginners drop the hoop, and they start saying, “Oh, I never could do this; I never was any good at this, I used to be able to do this but clearly I can’t do it anymore.”
Experts miss a catch, or they drop the hoop, or watch it slip, and they pick it up and they go again.
I suspect this is true in many arenas. Experts know what learning looks like. They know to allow themselves as many tries is it takes to get something right. One piano player told me it took him 700 repetitions to master a new riff.
Beginners quit too soon. Beginners expect too much, too quickly.
The rich get richer and more skilled, and the beginners remain, far too often, people who can’t do it. Its not that they can’t do it, it’s that they don’t understand how simple it is to learn a new trick. You only have to try 700 times. Beginners quit after 2 or 3 tries, and remain beginners, or people who can’t hoop. Experts make 200 or 300 attempts, and see progress, and usually nail the trick long before 700 repetitions. So the experts get new tricks that look easy, and the beginners continue to think they can’t hula hoop, and the only difference in the real world is hours inside the hoop.
There are two humps to learning, at least to learning to hula hoop, which is the skill I know the most about teaching. I suspect this applies to all skills.
The first hump is getting someone in the hoop at all. “I can’t do it, I never could do it, I haven’t done this in second grade. I used to be good but I’m not anymore.” I hear that all the time. Get in the hoop, roll it across your tummy, and move your hips in the circle, and 90% of all people I encounter can hoop. End of story.
The second hump is simply, time in the hoop. It’s a bit irritating to hear, “oh, you’re showing off!” As if I acquired those skills by magic. As if they didn’t come through 700 interactions, is if I didn’t hit myself in the face with the hoop or chase it all over the yard when I dropped it. But have it your way. You don’t want to put any hours, you’re not going to get the skills.
I’d like to think I can check myself when I see someone else’s accomplishments, and look for the applied practice, and the hours in the hoop-equivalent in their field. It can be hard to see in areas like writing, or blog posting, or social media, but it is just as true there as it is in the hoop. People who consistently come up with good articles, or interesting posts, or great photographs, do it because they do it all the time. When I see great work, I’m seeing the result of the 700th iteration.