Practice Makes Perfect, at Least Better

The old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” has a lot of wisdom in it. However, it is more than just a little bit misunderstood.

For my part, I have long railed against it thinking that there is no thing such as perfection. Even worse and more damaging perhaps is that when I was a child I used to think that I had to be perfect. Without perfection it was a total failure on my part. That debilitating thought pattern still lingers to this day.

There is some good news, though. I am beginning to view this oft repeated saying in a new light. With my introduction into Youtubing, (I really started a long time, just not seriously or regularly) I have begun to be more of a doer.

What is the difference between practicing and doing? And why should I be suddenly talking about doing rather that practicing? The adage is about practice!

This is where I believe the meaning of the phrase has been grossly misrepresented. Practice can have several meanings. Just as a physician has a “practice” of medicine, i.e. he works as a doctor helping people either stay well or return to good health. Another way to look at it is that one practices a skill to improve it, much as a student practices a cello.

Although they are actually quite related and involve much of the same “doing” they are conceived of and emotionalized differently.

After only two months of video recording and uploading I have begun to see the subtle difference in perspective. I have been recording and editing as fast as I dare and sometimes, can. I rarely re-record the same material. Even though, I myself, cringe at some of the playing and sound quality I still force myself to march forward.

This is the doing bit. Simply going forward and getting things done. Sure, I am trying to be the best I can be. I hate that I am not more “perfect” in my sound and intonation. But, alas, it is what it is and I am trying to start a new business.

Some things will be off. Some things I get wrong. Some things are mediocre. All of the traits I was taught to never, under any circumstances, let past, otherwise I was not doing my best.

Now that I am allowing myself some breathing space and doing something rather than holding back and doing nothing because it wasn’t perfect, I feel some sense of accomplishment.

So, it is not that practicing is really just about sitting alone and hashing out the details until one hits a level of perfection. It is more about practicing your skill and then doing something with the skill. Even though perfection is not really possible we like to use this term often and refer to anything that fits the occasion, in the way we like it, as perfect.

That is a whole lot easier to deal with. Time to do something.

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