Muscle Memory With a Twist!
Muscle Memory with a Twist
YouTube is an amazing place. I have learned how to replace a windshield washer pump on my old Buick, how to lay luxury vinyl flooring in my basement, and training techniques of the US Navy Seals. I’ve learned a million other things too, but learning about why the Navy Seals do things the way they do them is fascinating. I watched an interview with Marcus Luttrell, a former Seal and the person on which the movie Lone Survivor was based.
In this interview, Luttrell talked about why the Navy Seals push their people to the point of absolute physical exhaustion as part of their training. They wait until the training has worn them down to an almost zombie-like existence. It is then and only then they teach them their core trainings involving shooting, strategy, and specialized techniques. Luttrell went on to say that learning in this state brings muscle memory into it, so these critical things are remembered and never forgotten. Most other training on nearly all other topics are done when people are fresh and far more alert. The Navy Seals do this in reverse of nearly every other organization in the world. This fascinated me. It also got me thinking about any times I have learned in a frazzled and completely worn-down setting and then it hit me.
My wife and I made the classic blunder the first week of our son’s existence to both get up every single time he woke up. We tried for years to have kids and when we finally got him, we wanted to experience everything together. While I’m sure it was a great and noble thing to get up with my wife for every feeding those first few days, I really don’t remember any second of it. I just remember being exhausted. But in that state, we observed everything about our baby. I changed diapers on autopilot, sang the same song to him a thousand times, and knew the names of all of his stuffed animals by heart. We learned his little facial expressions and bonded with him, all while getting just a couple hours of sleep a night. And it was AWESOME!
While I’m certain the Navy Seals have researched their training regimens extensively over the years, I’m not certain we need to push ourselves to those levels to gain expert levels of muscle memory, but I do believe that repetition is the key. If you are looking for a new job, networking is the key. To get really good at networking, do you know what you have to do? Network. A lot. If you want to get really good at something, it is vital to do it over and over and over again to master it. Commit it to memory. My son is now 14 and fancies himself a solid baseball pitcher. I told him in order to throw a new pitch or use a new grip in a game, he needs to throw it playing catch with me 500 times, minimum. Needless to say, we play catch a lot. But he has developed quite a nice arsenal. His understanding of muscle memory is engrained.
Think of something you want to master. Maybe it’s knot tying. Maybe a new technology. How about a new marketable skill to make more money? Don’t pull an all-nighter. Practice. Practice a lot. Then, practice some more. My mirror has heard so many ideas for articles. I pitch article ideas to myself in the mirror. When I start talking, the first thing I listen for is, do I believe it? Is it sincere? Will it help people? Will it make people laugh? That last one isn’t as critical as the first three, but it helps. My friends, practice. I practice being nice, offering kindness and advocating for more joy every single day. Those are my areas of desire to master. Some days are easier than others, but I don’t go a day without practicing. I hope you find your thing and work on it until muscle memory takes over. And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep.
Steve is a Dexter Resident and is the Owner, Chief Repetition Officer, Chief Repetition Officer (see what I did there?) and all-around happy guy at BetterPlace Consulting. Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org