Practice Makes Perfect … Uh, No!

We’ve all heard, “Just keep doing what you’re doing. Practice makes perfect, you know!”

Sounds good on the surface, but is it true?

Well, yes and no.

If you practice something over and over, you will, indeed, become perfect at executing it.

But …

Imagine a young pianist who wants to improve her playing skills. So, she dedicates time every day to practicing scales, finger exercises, and challenging musical pieces. Over time she develops better finger coordination, timing, and musical interpretation. Her practice has paid off, and as she continues, she will perfect her skills and become a better pianist. And she’s right. She will perfect the skills she’s practicing.

But does it make her a better pianist?

Now consider an amateur archer who wants to compete at an international level. To achieve that skill level, she knows she needs not only to perfect the skills she already has and does well but also to improve them. She analyzes every aspect of her technique, such as stance, grip, and release. She focuses on executing each shot with absolute precision and ensures her form is flawless. But she takes it one step further and hires a coach who watches her form and helps her identify what needs to change or be tweaked, making adjustments along the way.

Her practice incorporates those changes, so now when she practices, she’s perfecting her skills and perfecting what she’s practicing for a much better result.

Practice is necessary to master anything. But it’s wasted if you practice for the sake of practice. What matters is that you practice the right things, the proper fingering for a pianist, the correct form for an archer, the right knife skills for a chef, the suitable styles for a speaker, and on and on. And if you’re serious about mastering your skills, go the extra mile and hire a coach who specializes in that discipline. They will make sure that whatever practice you do is perfect!

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