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.

How to Build a Habit Effectively

You may have heard your parents or your teachers in school talking about the benefits of habits. From young, we are encouraged to take up and master habits like reading and waking up early. However, a majority of us never manage to take up these habits. In fact, we are given no clue by our schools as to how we should do so. Many of us lack the motivation to sustain these habits and eventually give up. So, you might ask, how do you even build a habit successfully? Why are some people able to remain interested in what they do? Don’t they get bored? In this post, I will be showing you what sets them apart from everyone else. Most of all, I will be showing you how you can build any habit of your choice effectively and easily. Before you continue reading, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow me!

Tip #1: Make it Easy

Let’s say you want to master the habit of reading. If you know that you have a busy lifestyle and little time, you could aim to read just one page a day. Over time, you could scale it up to a chapter a day or even a book a day. This makes it easy for you to consistently read everyday, even when you feel unmotivated. Likewise, for all habits, make your habit easy to accomplish and free of pressure.

Tip #2: Be Consistent

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Of course, there might be days where we don’t feel like doing anything. You could have had a long day at work or a stressful day. We’ve all been there before. On these days, the majority of people would skip their habits. However, habits are built upon repetition. It is therefore important to ensure that you at least engage in your habit once a day. This builds upon Tip #1, where you should make your habit easy to accomplish. During such days, you could choose to let’s say read only a page a day or complete only 1 pushup a day. Using Tip #1, you will be able to be consistent even when you lack the motivation or willpower. However, there might be some days where we slipped or completely forgot about the habit. In these situations, it is important to get back on track as quickly as possible. As you do so, think about why you failed earlier and plan for the future. Was it your environment? Was it that your cues weren’t strong enough? Or did you just forget it completely?

Tip #3: Understand Your Environment

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A person’s environment inadvertently influences his/her feelings and thoughts. Likewise, when engaging in your habit, it is important to make your environment conducive for your selected habit. For example, if you are trying to build the habit of reading, you could find a quiet and calm place to read, such as a room or a cafe. This avoids distractions and ensures that you are in the mood for the activity. Alternatively, you could buy E-readers like the Kindle Oasis (check out my review of the Kindle Oasis at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/11/28/kindle-oasis-a-review/), which are devices made specifically made for reading and nothing more. Such devices help you to focus on your task at hand and avoid those notifications which scream for your attention.

Tip #4: Reward Yourself

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Habits are built around a reward system. The four stages of a habit is as follows: Cue, Craving, Response and Reward. Most habits have a long-term reward. Reading promises improved vocabulary while exercise promises better health and stamina. However, these long-term rewards are not very noticeable. So how do we ensure that we are motivated to repeat a certain activity again and again? The answer is the reward you place for yourself at the end of an activity or milestone achieved. For example, you could tell yourself, “If I finish this chapter today, I will eat my favourite snack.” These short-term rewards are the little things that will help to keep you going. Eventually, however, the completion of the habit itself will become the reward.