Why Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect…
I’m sure you’ve heard more than once the expression practice makes perfect. The idea that you can attain perfection by means of practice has been ingrained in you so much so that it’s become counter-productive. Practice makes perfect is a false term. And here is why – if practice made people perfect, then there’s a lot of people out there that would be amazing at what they do. You and I both know that’s not the case. Instead, there’s another phrase we need to consider, one that I learned from my high school soccer coach. Listen to this lesson of mine (Phil Svitek) to learn what that phrase really implies and how it can benefit you even if you’re not an athlete. Comment below with any questions or comments you have.
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I’m sure you’ve heard more than once the expression practice makes perfect. The idea that you can attain perfection by the means of practice has been ingrained in you so much so that it’s become counter-productive. Practice makes perfect is a false term. And here is why…
If practice made people perfect, then there’s a lot of people out there that would be amazing at what they do. You and I both know that’s not the case.
Instead, a different phrase we need to consider, learn and implement is… practice makes permanent.
It’s a phrase that I learned from my high school soccer coach. We were losing for a while and one day our coach pointed out it was because during training sessions we only went through the motions. We didn’t commit to tackles, we joked around and we ran half-speed. The worst was we expected to just turn “it” on during matches. That couldn’t happen because we had too many bad habits and weren’t able to discern what good habits were anymore. Certainly not enough to just turn them “on”. When my coach introduced the phrase practice makes permanent, rather than practice makes perfect as he quipped, everything clicked and it stuck with me ever since. If we were going to win, we needed to practice fully.
The term practice makes permanent simply means: the way you go about an activity determines the outcome.
It’s not saying, practice can’t make you better. It’s saying the way in which you practice will either make you better or worse.
I’ve seen too many people only give 50 percent at their jobs, in their relationships and even in their various passion projects thinking that when push comes to shove they will be ready to give a 100 percent when they choose to do so.
The reality is that you cannot lack discipline and drive, expecting to be a master.
It’s a matter of conditioning. Practice makes permanent is really all about not going through the motions but rather doing them effectively so there’s a clear cut goal and a purpose. This applies to any sort of discipline or exercise.
If all you ever think and verbalize are negative thoughts then you will eventually become the world’s most negative Nancy.
Conversely, if every time you’re presented with a problem you seek a solution for it, regardless of whether at first you’re able to figure it out or not, in time you’ll master problem-solving in all arenas of life simply because your mind will gravitate naturally towards fixes.
Habits are all encompassing and transferable. Most people’s first jobs are not the one they want to end up in. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have anything to do with the industry they want to go into. Nonetheless, while at these jobs, it’s an opportunity to develop skill-sets like working hard, being courteous, teamwork, communication, etc. These will translate well to future jobs, projects and relationships. Good habits in one facet build more good habits in all facets.
Start to observe the benefits of any situation, especially outside of a monetary value. You will be stronger and grow from it.
Like investing, this is a discipline that will yield greater results the earlier you begin. Part of the reason is because you’re not having to unlearn the initial bad habits you’ve picked up along the way. As a student, if you exhibit practice makes permanent, what you’ll see is not only your grades go up, but if you get in the habit of doing your homework right away, you will learn not to procrastinate in life. It’s also a form of time-management and you’ll develop the ability to meet deadlines on multiple projects.
That said, I don’t want to disparage anyone who’s not a student. Also like investing, it’s never too late to start. Start today and change your routines. To begin with, you might have to breakaway from your natural default of just walking through life and make a conscience effort, and say “OKAY I’M DOING THIS”.
Once applied, you will see you are able to actually grow. You become conscious of your good habits and can enforce them while eliminating the bad ones. You start to create a structure to get better at the things you are trying to get better at. Eventually the effects of new habits and skill-sets will snowball themselves to elevate other parts of your life. Like me and my soccer team, you’ll be able to turn around a losing season into a winning one.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some quotes from incredible people to help inspire you on the power of good habits.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“We become what we repeatedly do.” – Sean Covey
“The soul grows into lovely habits as easily as into ugly ones…” – Kate Douglas Wiggin
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.” – Charles Duhigg
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