Preparation time is so important.
As I get older, I realize how essential it is to get ready as much as I can. No matter how much I think I’m ready, I’m always missing something when it’s time to go.
So how bad is it when you have nothing ready and you think you can get away with doing improv?
Now, I think about Robin Williams, who did a 3-hour show with nothing prepared.
The fact is that he did prepare.
He’s been practicing comedy for years. He did his schooling at Julliard with Christopher Reeve.
Who knows the number of times he practiced different accents, dialects, tones, styles, and reactions to get people to laugh.
Then I think of all the K-Pop musicians that get on the Saturday Gayo shows doing their live performances.
I’ve been told they practiced one song at least 5,000 times. That’s singing, moving with fellow group members and dancers at the right time and spot.
So when they’re on stage, they’re perfect in the eyes of the tens of thousands in the audience and hundreds of thousands watching on television.
Going pro is going all out. You must be relentless with your crafts. You must deliberately practice. You first do it with minimal pressure, away from people, the sounds, and other distractions. You do this thousands of times until it is not just memorized, it is a part of the fibre of your well-being.
Then you add the other element recommended by Tim Ferriss: you perform with pressure.
You bring in the distractions. The people. The noise. You let them mess you up. You feel the stress while performing.
Tiger Woods did that when he was six. While he swung the golf clubs, his father jingled keys inside his pant pocket. Another story (that shocked me) was a Young Tiger being pelted with golf balls while swinging.
I’ve told students preparing for the iBT TOEFL test to practice as much as they can without pressure at first. When they get comfortable with that, they have to do their tests under the noise of other students. Sometimes it should be even louder than usual so they know what to expect in the 4 hour 20 minute test.
I hate preparation with a passion.
But as I got older, I know how imperative it is to get ready, as much as humanly possible. I strongly remind students, the best possible performance for anything can only be done with deliberate practice.
All professionals from musicians to artists, from doctors to lawyers do this so they can serve whoever they can to the best of their ability.
We have no excuse to do any less.