Practice Makes Perfect

“Practice makes perfect.” You heard the expression. I’m sure of it. But have you really applied it in your everyday life? Practice can be defined as rehearsing a behavior over and over again with one purpose in mind: to improve in an effort to master that behavior. The more one practices, the better he or she becomes at that act. It’s simple. Put in the time and results will show. However, what doesn’t seem to be so simple is actually putting in the time to practice.

People just expect outrageous results immediately. For instance, there have been numerous occasions that I have gone to the driving range with friends who’ve rarely played the game of golf, but they expect to hit the ball straight and far every time they swing the club. They get frustrated with themselves for not being able to do it, even if they’ve taken a six month hiatus from their last outing. Then they quit and do the same thing 3 months from that date. Is that sensible? No, but people do it all the time. We just expect the most of ourselves from anything, and if not, we get frustrated. We simply become aggravated and subsequently become discouraged from performing that activity again because we’re not good at it. You’ll never be good at anything if you approach your behaviors similarly. We’ve got to look past those initial performances because, in reality, how can we expect ourselves to be good at anything for the first time (or for the first hundred times for that matter.)

Everything in life takes a lot of hard work. We need to plug away, hours and hours a day, at a particular activity to become even remotely good at it. People often forget that aspect of it, that we need to put in the effort and time in order to be successful in anything. Can we expect to get better at basketball after 45 minutes of shooting the ball? No, but we can expect to be become better at it by practicing for 2 hours, 5 days a week, religiously for 6 months. But even after that, you still need to constantly push yourself and keep plugging away every single day on the court, in the gym, and throughout every meal in the kitchen to develop the kind of explosiveness and skill you want. It takes hours and hours of practice, and even then we’ll never be perfect. Hey, even Tiger Woods doesn’t get it right all the time and he’s been swinging the club every day for hours a day since he could walk. However, the key to success is striving for perfection. We’ll never be faultless in anything we do in life, but our goal ought to be to come as close to perfection as possible. In turn, this can only occur with excessive preparation, both mentally and physically. Each day of repeating the activity makes you one step closer to reaching that never-ending staircase of perfection. You’ll never be perfect in anything you do, but the closer to the top you get, the better you become as an athlete and as a man.

So, approach everything in life as if it were learning a new language. Could you expect to learn Italian after only speaking it a few times? You need to speak for hours a day for every single day. You can’t let up by skipping a week here and there. Each day you pick up a little something new and after hundreds of days of performing the act, you develop a craft. However, do realize that each day is instrumental to your goal. Even if you didn’t improve in terms of results during that day (you’re going to have bad days) per se, you still pick up little tips and gain experience.

Suppose you take up playing the piano. You cannot expect to know how to play your very first day. You cannot expect to know how to play even in a week or a month. It takes a very long time. Developing an ability is possible only through repetition, and if you want to be the best, you need to practice doing more than your opponent every single day. So if your opponent does 10 reps of squats, how could you be better than him if you stop at 10. You need to do 11. If he does 100 sprints in the morning, the only way you can be better than him is if you did 101 at a greater intensity. It’s a long, long staircase and the top is perfection. Strive for it.

Even though no matter how much you practice, you’ll never reach the top…you can be pretty damn close!

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