Practice, practice, practice … practice makes perfect, phrases in which we are all familiar. In his book, Success Is A Choice, published back in the mid to late 1990’s, Rick Pitino, University of Louisville basketball coach, states that practice doesn’t make perfect, but “perfect practice makes perfect.”
Of course from one point of view, this makes sense: Think of shooting a basketball with a major flaw in your technique. Hours and hours of practice only reinforces the so-called muscle memory of the flaw and never really helps with the shot. In fact, this imperfect practice could actually make it even harder to break the habit of the bad technique once the correct technique is learned or discovered.
The opposing viewpoint to this perfect practice idea is that without hours of “imperfect practice” one may never discover the flaw. Certainly a coach or teacher may be available to assist with ironing out the flaw but … Remember the days long ago when we were in grade school and we actually had dictionaries? We would ask our teacher or a parent how to spell a word, and they would make you go look it up. Ugh, it was so aggravating, yet it did help you remember the spelling when you looked it up yourself, even though you probably would never admit it.
I am certainly not advocating going without coaching or teaching that helps us become better at a particular skill or task, but I want to emphasize the importance of practice and the importance of all types of practice, and in particular, practice in living a happier life.
We often think of the hours of practice made by great athletes and musicians; however, what about the practice opportunities we all have each and every morning that we wake? Check out the video at the link below:
Haven’t we all experienced similar situations? In fact in varying degrees, we probably face them on a daily basis. If only we could make the perfect response to these type of situations as the driver did. Although I venture to say that it is impossible to always make the perfect response, it isn’t impossible to evaluate our responses to help us the next time around.
In my opinion, practice is important and practice is not so much about being perfect but it’s about evaluating. It’s about understanding that we are going to have good days and bad days, and we should learn from each.
At the end of the day, never be too hard on yourself, and here is why because tomorrow you get a chance to do it all over again! Your fellow humans will guarantee it!
If you practice all the elements that bring about happiness, you will have it!