Practice Makes Perfect

As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” This timeless piece of advice is the heart of mastery and success. It is the path of all masters. Even after mastery is reached, practice still retains its importance as it sharpens and maintains the skills of the practitioner. Practice is harder than it sounds. It requires fortitude, consistency and fortitude on the individual’s part. However, I assure you that you will find the pain well worth it many years later. It’s similar to going to the gym. Most of us don’t like going to the gym, but we’ll be glad later that we went. The hardest part of practice is getting yourself to do it. In this article, we will discuss the importance of practice and how you should go about doing it. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

The Importance of Practice

#1: Practice Sharpens Your Existing Skills

If there is one thing that your brain is good at, it’s forgetting. The mind, an efficient machine as it is, gradually deletes memories that have been unused for a certain period of time. On the other hand, the brain strengthens retrieval pathways that have been used repeatedly. When retrieval pathways are triggered repeatedly, they become more efficient and stable. These neural pathways can become so efficient that they can be triggered without thought. In other words, these memories become part of your subconscious mind. This is exactly how famous chess masters like Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen are able to execute perfect moves with blinding speed while staying calm. This is the end goal of practice – to develop the ability to execute a series of specified actions perfectly and with minimal effort. This also prevents you from forgetting what you have learned.

#2: Practice Is An Unavoidable Part Of Learning

It is in my humble opinion that not a single human being was and will be able to ride a bike fluently on the very first try. In fact, many of us actually fell down. This is similar to learning other skills. We may not get it on the very first attempt, but with repeated practice we gradually become familiar with the subject matter at hand. We may even be able to spot and learn from our mistakes in the process. Gradually the neural pathways involved are slowly refined and performance increases.

Staying Motivated

Failure is inevitable during the process of practice. There will be times when you feel completely demotivated due to a temporary setback. Here, it is of paramount importance that you push through. There is no other way. When faced with failure, keep going. Of course, if you feel tired, do take a break. Just remember to continue practicing the next day. However, if you feel that the skill you are currently learning is not for you, you have the option to drop it. It’s better to learn something that makes you happy. Below are some tips to keep yourself motivated.

  • Give yourself a break if you feel tired! After all, humans are not machines. Practicing for too long will lead to burnout and fatigue.
  • Practice mindfulness and be aware of your thoughts. When faced with setbacks, try to avoid grumbling or throwing tantrums. Instead, think rationally and find out what went wrong. Then figure out how you can stop making the same mistakes.
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day. Many professionals of different arts and fields had to go through years and years of practice to attain the level of mastery they possess today. You will not see improvement overnight. Instead of focusing on the short term, focus on the big picture. Ask yourself what you want to achieve in the end and draw up a plan to work on it.
  • Stay consistent. Memories will fade if not utilised. Come up with a plan to practice in regular intervals. Always make sure that you make it for each and every practice session, regardless of how you are feeling on that particular day. It may not feel great now, but you will be rewarded handsomely in the future.

Conclusion

While practice is hard, its rewards are plenty and bountiful. I hope that this short article gave you an idea of why you should practice and how you should go about doing so. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Comment your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles.

To Sleep Or Not To Sleep Early

Sleeping early. These 2 words somehow elude many students, employees and professionals alike. Sleep deprivation has worsened to the point that some of us might be asking ourselves, “What is sleep?” I’ll do you one better – “Why is sleep?” Seriously, many of us now find the concept of sleeping early foreign. We actively forgo it for work, study and commitments, even though we knew all this while the consequences of doing so. Forgoing sleep has adverse impacts on our health in the long term and would reduce our ability to concentrate in the short term. Without the ability to function at peak performance, we are less able to learn and chase after success. Thus, I can safely say, to sleep or not to sleep early is to sleep early. In this article, we will be detailing why this is the case. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Sleeping Early Keeps Your Mind Healthy

As you slumber, your body parts are working hard to regenerate themselves. New cells are regenerated and dead cells are removed, while your brain and other organs work hard to detox themselves. All in all, your body slowly recharges itself and prepares for a new day. This is especially important for the brain. During sleep, neurones decrease in size by up to 60%, increasing the space between them for waste and toxic materials to be washed away easily. In fact, the brain removes significant amounts of a toxic protein known as amyloid-beta, which is involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, science has shown that sleep and learning are closely linked. Here, new memories are processed and consolidated in the brain, as neurones in the hippocampus repeat the activation patterns that took place while the individual was conscious. This helps to transfer short-term memories held in the hippocampus to other parts of the brain, so as to facilitate the formation of long-term memories. Thus, missing out on sleep could cause one’s learning ability to decline by as much as 40%. That is something that you clearly want to avoid!

#2: Detoxification Of Body Parts

The brain is not the only that needs to clean itself. Sleep affects almost all tissues and organs in the body, from your heart to your skin. As mentioned above, your brain has something called a Glymphatic system which involves the shrinking of neurones so as to create room for toxins to be flushed out. Meanwhile, the body also secretes hormones, which decreases one’s breathing rate and promotes muscle relaxation. On the other hand, sleep deprivation increases inflammation levels, which restricts the body from effectively cleansing itself. The removal of toxic materials allows the unrestricted movement of essential substances and oxygen, which ultimately aids in the regenerative processes of the body. Missing out on sleep impedes the aforementioned processes, which may even cause the stunting of growth in children.

#3: Sleep Improves Immunity

Since sleep affects nearly every part of the body, it is no surprise that it also has a tremendous impact on our immune systems. Consistent sleep increases one’s immunity, while a lack of sleep increases the risks of diseases. When T cells detect an infected cell, they activate integrins, which allow them to adhere to and destroy the latter cells. The T cells of consistent sleepers have been shown to have higher levels of integrin activation than those of sleep-deprived individuals. Moreover, stress hormones may even restrict the functions of T cells in poor sleepers. High concentrations of these hormones may in turn decrease the ability of T cells to kill pathogens, thus weakening the body’s immune system. Another example is the fact that the body releases cytokines, in the presence of infection and inflammation, which help to fight diseases. Without adequate sleep, the body will not be able to produce as much of these cytokines and antibodies. During periods of sickness, the body utilises more energy so as to battle infections and eradicate diseases. This means that the body will have less energy on hand for other processes. During these times, sleep is of paramount importance as it helps to conserve energy and resources.

Conclusion

After reading this article, were you surprised by how important sleep is? Why or why not? Will you be sleeping earlier now? Jot down your comments in the comment section below! Thanks for reading! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more.