How To Be Perfect When Practice Makes Perfect Is A Lie

We've heard of the phrase practice makes perfect, which is often used as a motivational phrase. However, this phrase needs to be more accurate as perfection is difficult to attain, although improvement is the best award from practice. To attain success in any field, one must seek self-growth and improvement through practicing the skill one is good at or loves. Expertise arises from the willingness to learn and work on improving what you’ve learned. People start with various temperaments and aptitudes, but success is attained from experience, training, and personal effort.

Why practice for improvement is better?

Practicing for improvement rather than perfection enables individuals to understand what works and what fails. Practice creates room for experimentation, allowing an individual to comprehend the different ways of improving skills and methods hindering such improvement. This makes room for creativity as one has to find other ways of creating a piece of artwork or writing that will be appealing.

With time, an individual understands the possible ways that one could use to exhibit a particular skill, which may take time, resulting in an increased skill level. Illustratively, the Wright brothers did not create the first plane out of perfection but rather through continuous practice and improvement. They had failed numerous times but had to seek better ways of making a plane. This proves that irrespective of having the skill and knowledge, they had to continuously practice to improve their ability to mask an aircraft that could fly, which resulted in their success.

Attitudes of a perfectionist

Here are some common perceptions and thoughts about focusing on perfection:

  • If it is not perfect, it is worthless
  • I’ll only push myself to perfection; otherwise, I won’t try
  • I’ll feel angry, frustrated, or humiliated if it is not ideal
  • I don’t accept flaws
  • I won’t tell anyone unless it is perfect

Attitudes of improvement

Focusing on improvement rather than perfection radiates progressive thoughts such as:

  • I may have failed, but I learned
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect to be celebrated
  • I’m proud of my work although it failed to meet my complete expectations
  • I can start small and gradually improve
  • This is good enough
  • I am better today than yesterday

How to work on improvement

The ideal notion is to improve and not perfect. Focus on progress, not perfection. Essentially, improving your skills should be standard practice. Improvement requires an attentive and agile mindset, a clear objective, and limiting distractions. These strategies can be beneficial when working towards improvement.

  1. Set milestones

    Setting the right expectations is extremely important. Personal growth requires small victories that one can celebrate before completing the journey. Improvement is a continuous process that can have agonizingly slow progress. As such, when you focus on personal growth, you might lose motivation and focus. Setting the right expectations and milestones ideally helps an individual to track progress. Setting and celebrating these individual successes will boost morale for the improvement journey.

  2. Plan, organize, and prioritize

    After breaking your goals and objectives into achievable milestones, the next step is to plan the day’s schedule. Create a to-do list that identifies the tasks needed to improve the skill. A detailed plan helps one understand the essential tasks. Next, organize the tasks in priority or size and focus on more urgent tasks. Prioritizing helps a person manage activities more effectively, making the most of time.

  3. Limit distractions

    Today’s world is full of distractions that derail the improvement of a skill. External factors can disrupt improving skills and future success. Try working in quiet environments to help with focus. Also, mute the phone to avoid distractions that can derail you from working on a skill.

How to start focusing on improvement, not perfection

It is easy to focus on perfection. However, striving for improvement over perfection is ideal for making progress. So, here are a few strategies to help focus on improvement.

  1. After setbacks, pause and reflect

    When working on a skill, you can suffer setbacks. However, when focused on perfection, a person can quit trying when things fail to work. When working on improvement, if something fails, you can take time to reflect on what happened. Reflect on what went wrong and consider successful parts, and you can change to improve.

  2. Don’t compare to others

    Someone who constantly compares themselves to others never feels accomplished. Perfectionists always want to match a certain individual’s standard, which can derail their progress. You’ll always find things you can improve on when you compare progress to others and feel demotivated. When you compare, you despair. Therefore, keep your mind off comparisons and improve yourself and your skills. Celebrate your achievements and work on improving to reach the next milestones. You’ll never be perfect, but you can get the best version of yourself.

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