I’ll be honest with you: this is one of the most boring blogs I’ve written.
I’m not saying this to scare you away, but because it is a good reminder of why I write.
Lately, a few people have asked me how I come up with great material for my speeches. Honestly, this is how: I just keep writing. Constantly. Each day I sit at my laptop and I force myself to get rough ideas fleshed out on the screen.
But here’s the thing: I don’t really love to write. What I love to do is speak.
However I know that if I haven’t written out my ideas first, they can’t be translated into speeches. No idea = no speech. Thus, I force myself to write as much as I can.
This brings me to my point. In anything you do there are the exciting parts, the things you love, and then there’s the boring bits.
Nobody likes to do the boring bits, but it’s usually what adds up to the exciting parts.
This past weekend, I watched three of my friends compete in the Finals of this year’s World Championships of Public Speaking. They are all excellent speakers, and two of them were awarded the 3rd and Second place trophies in the final competition. This is an amazing achievement, but there is something even more amazing than what happened on stage.
The day before the contest, I watched one of the speakers do 8 straight hours of rehearsal of her speech. She ran it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. She did the same lines, the same gestures, the same pauses, again and again and again.
Believe me when I say this wasn’t exciting to watch. And I know first hand from doing it in past years myself, that it’s not exciting to do either.
In the competitive speaking world, we call this practice ‘drilling a speech’. It’s where you do the repetition so many times you don’t even need to think when you get on stage to deliver.
Believe me when I tell you, it’s horribly boring. However, it’s honestly the reason why most people aren’t World Champions.
The boring bits take one key character trait: discipline. It doesn’t feel good, it’s not interesting, and nobody is impressed. In fact, most of the time, nobody is even around to see you do them.
But here’s what I’ve learned: if you keep doing it long enough, the boring bits start to give you a special form of power.
When I force myself day after day to keep writing, I occasionally have a brilliant flash of insight. It’s the same thing when drilling a speech. In the seemingly endless days of practice, you sometimes think of a better way to say something. Sometimes that change is just the thing you needed to impact the audience in a profound way.
While this may be one of my most boring articles, the fact I’ve had the discipline to write it shows me that I am on the path to creating something brilliant very soon.
Embrace the boring bits. They hold the key to your next breakthrough.