Practice Makes Progress


Today we’re talking about practicing skills to get better. Practice makes progress.

As children we always practice new things as we learn them. We don’t have a wide base of skills to build from so we need to practice everything. That’s the way it works.

Children don’t need to be perfect. They simply need to get a little bit better all the time. Practice makes progress. Perfection is irrelevant. Getting better is the goal.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

I remember a discussion with my Grade 3 teacher about the quality of my handwriting. I was insisting things were correct but she was marking them wrong because it was difficult to decipher my writing. She told me I need to go home and practice writing slowly every night to get better. My response was I don’t need to practice every night. Every time I write something it’s the same as practicing and I write something almost every day. She didn’t buy it for a second. Spoiler alert: My handwriting is still horrible to this day.

I wonder when this idea of practice goes away. It’s probably as a teenager for the most part. I know that I didn’t put in any more effort than was needed back then. I did enough to get the outcome I wanted and that was pretty much it. Shooting for the stars just wasn’t on my radar.

By the time we are adults the idea of practice seems to be gone. We engage in activities we enjoy and we will get better through repetition. Do we practice with the intention of improving? Do we try to move up the ladder of competency?

In contrast to the idea of striving for something better, we are usually striving to look like we are perfect to the outside world. We seem to have forgotten there is a space in between learning something new and eventually becoming perfect. Hint: That space is huge and there really is no way to get to the other side. Perfection is an illusion.

Even at work when our career could eventually be on the line do we practice our skills? Do we look for ways to get better, faster and stronger? Most of us will do the job the way we always do and that’s pretty much the end of it.

When we raise children we encourage the practice. We constantly teach the idea of practice, practice, practice. We might even reassure other adults with a few words about a little more practice. It feels like we believe in practice for others but not for ourselves.

Personally, I get bored easily and I enjoy learning new skills. I enjoy drilling down on things to find better or more efficient systems. The idea of “Practice Makes Progress” is really sticking with me lately.

What are your thoughts on practicing as an adult? Do you still practice anything with the intention of improving? Do you repeat things you enjoy and notice random improvements over time? Leave me a comment below.

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