The art of repetition

Bruce Lee quote on repetition

Repetition. Sounds boring, right? Well, do you really want to be good at something?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. In my early 40s, I was so bad at drawing that my drawings looked like a kid drew them. So I decided to change that.

I read some blogs from professional artists. One of them, I wish I could give her credit but I forgot who she was, said to draw lines and circles over and over again.

The average person would have dismissed that as boring. Not me, but then again, there’s a reason why I’m “luckier” than the average person.

“You’ve done that one before”

AC-DC releases the same album every time. Yet, they’re all pretty damn good, with Highway to Hell being the best one. Of course, Back in Black sold the best. It’s one of the few Diamond albums ever made.

I saw a cover band a few nights ago. Despite playing mostly New Wave and Pop, when they played AC-DC covers, the crowd went wild.

What’s really funny though is that the majority of the crowd was in their 20s. Yet, they went nuts for AC-DC.

What’s the lesson in all this? You get good at what you do by doing it over and over and over again.

I’ve painted this same pose in another painting and I’ve even done this one as a colored pencil drawing. I’ve been drawing since February and watercolor painting since April. Of this year.

I’m getting pretty fast results because I’m consistent. Not talent. We’ve already dismissed natural talent as I literally drew like a kid less than a decade ago.

Roman's latest watercolor

The watercolor I finished last weekend

I don’t claim to be Michelangelo. But I will proudly say for a guy who’s been painting for less than five months and drawing for less than seven, it’s pretty good.

Bruce Lee

We all know about Bruce Lee. Greatest martial artist of his generation. Spurned millions of imitators. Not only a martial artist, but also a philosopher.

In terms of pop culture though, he brought sexuality to males of Asian descent. In pop culture, Asian males were always asexual. Bruce Lee changed that.

Anyways, why was Bruce Lee so good? Repetition. That quote said it all. He’d practice the same thing over and over again.

I got into wrestling because my eyes were so bad that I learned the hard way that I could never be a good boxer.

The Gracies practice one move repeatedly. That’s why they were so good.

Unfortunately for them, now everyone knows their tricks. I know every single Gracie move, and I’m a nobody in the MMA world. Fighting is not really my thing. I’m an artist, not a fighter. I simply wanted to learn wrestling for self-defense purposes.

And I got what I wanted out of it. I got to the point where I neared competition level. On the streets, if I’m somehow separated from my guns, I’ll still be fine in most situations. That’s where I wanted to be.

I was in fantastic shape and that skill set translated to weightlifting. I got very fast gains and my PRs are all in the “pretty good” level. Not elite, but pretty good. That’s fine enough for me. I’m not lifting weights to compete with you. I’m lifting weights because I don’t want to die. Weightlifting is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Find what you love

Now, I just said two things I’m pretty good at that I’m pretty good at but not at competition level – wrestling and weightlifting. What do I want?

Art, and music. I’ll be professional level at art in around 2022. I’m already at professional level in music. My sale skills just suck. You could hear our latest single Princess for the Night right here or my latest Classical piece Lizzie’s Opium Waltz and even if you don’t like the music, you’ll have to admit that I’m a damn good composer.

How did I get that way? Repetition. For composing, I hit the books really hard. I studied the greats, people way better than me. I’d study their scores and pick up patterns in their composition styles.

Same thing with guitar. Every single day, I wake up and immediately do scales, then start practicing songs. That’s while I’m drinking my coffee.

Discipline is the key. I’ve always said though if you truly love it, you don’t need motivation. I don’t need some motivation speaker to tell me to practice guitar or paint. I love doing both so much that I wake up and start doing them.

That’s the thing though. Some people love nothing. And that’s OK. They’ll just never be good at anything.

I can’t imagine living that life. But to each his own.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I got to go to another live model session with Allie. She’s such a cool chick in real life. Whereas I’m old and I forget that I’ve said something, Allie remembers everything.

She’s also someone who generally cares about people. She’s also good at cutting out bad people from her life. That’s one thing she’s better than me at. I give bad people one chance too many. She doesn’t. I respect that.

As you know, I’m always trying to get better at everything. I especially focus on what I want to focus on though. I don’t waste time on things that are not that important, unless it’s something that absolutely has to be done.

So if you want to get good at something, simply remember repetition. Repetition isn’t boring. It’s how you get good at anything.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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