Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

…But does it really?

One dreary weekend, my girlfriends and I were debating the old adage “practice makes perfect”. Does it really get you to perfection or do you have to be born with an innate skill (like Maybelline says)? I’ll save you the time and skip to the end of our debate. We think that luckily, lots of skills can be learned and perfected such as eloquent speaking or being a master chef. Sure, there may be few skills that are limited by physical capabilities, but it boils down to one’s level of interest in the activity and how determined one is to keep practising until they are great.

In fact, most of the time, we talk ourselves out of learning new skills or brushing up on old ones because we think we’ll be bad at it. After all, we can’t fail at something we haven’t tried! Phrases like “I’m not built that way”, “It’s not my style” or “I’m not good enough to do that” are what we tell ourselves when we don’t want to be unsuccessful at something. Unfortunately, society also enforces this behaviour by ignoring, or worse, being judgemental of people who aren’t seen as ‘perfect’, ‘amazing’ or ‘fantastic’.

I myself have definitely said those phrases (and more) time and time again. Just recently I told Megan that I’m so jealous of girls who are make-up gurus and how I wish I could have even a fraction of their skill. But since I’m terrible at applying make-up, I’ll only end up looking like a scary clown if I tried. So I didn’t try and I’m still no better than I was. But I was honest with myself, I could be as skilled if I just practiced! Sure, I’d be terrible at it the 1st, 5th, maybe even 20th time, but I’d improve on my skills and eventually reach a level that I am satisfied with; a level that I consider ‘perfect’.

No one is born with a natural ability to give rousing speeches or win Olympic gold medals. It takes commitment to the cause and…you guessed it…practice, practice, practice. Yes, maybe some people’s personality or physique makes them more inclined to do better at certain things. But I firmly believe that everything can be learned and we are completely capable of doing anything we set our minds to!

There’s a pretty simple and straightforward logic to it. When you do something over and over, you familiarise yourself with the situation. Each time you do it, you discover various outcomes and find out what works and what doesn’t. The more outcomes you are aware of, the more confident you’ll feel in that situation because you can already predict what’s going to happen. The more confident you become, the better your performance. Soon enough, people will be heralding you as ‘perfect’!

So if you’ve been hesitating about trying something new or getting better at an old skill that you’ve lost touch with, you now have a great excuse to give it a go. No one is born perfect, we’re all bad when we first start anything new so don’t take the failure to heart. Just remember the more you keep at it, the quicker you’ll get to being perfect.

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