The original meaning of kung fu is not a martial art. It means to develop a skill through work and effort.((Wikipedia Kung Fu-term)) With practice and effort you can become a kung fu guitarist, cook, or doctor. What is powerful in this idea is that it recognizes and honors the role of diligent work and practice in the development of a skill. Mastery is not a gift. It is the result of the work you put in. Anders Ericsson’s research on deliberate practice supports this ancient observation.((K. Anders Ericsson, Ralf Th. Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Romer. The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.Psychological Review 1993, Vol. 100. No. 3, 363-406))
What does this mean for you as a naturalist, artist, or journal keeper? Our work plays by the same rules. We need to embrace the practice as something valuable in itself. It is through this practice that we strengthen our minds and cultivate our skills. Even when we do not feel inspired, continuing to drill, work, and protect your art. Strive through your actions to become a kung fu observer, naturalist, or artist. It is the work itself that changes you, so embrace the process, keep at it, practice with focus and deliberation, and watch your skill grow.