Practice Makes Perfect…or does it?

Every Christmas I make our neighbors suffer while listening to me carol. Good thing I have friends who can carry a tune and nice neighbors!

The saying “practice makes perfect” is an expression that dates back to the 1550’s when the phrase was actually “use makes perfect.”  John Adams may have been the first to express the idea in the United States.

While we have been using the term for nearly 500 years, it couldn’t be more wrong.  I’ve heard “perfect practice makes perfect,” which gets a little closer to reality, but would be impossible.  Then I saw “practice makes progress” on a meme recently.  How brilliant.  Now that’s an accurate expression.

We never reach perfection.  It’s an unattainable goal.  I see it in Pilates all the time.  In fact, it is my inability to perfect my Pilates skills in this ever changing world and my constantly changing body that, in part, keeps me interested in the style of movement.  I prefer the idea of constantly progressing.  Not only does the concept take some pressure off, but the idea reflects that we are a continuous work of art.  We are never finished.  I suspect when most Olympic athletes reach their goal, while happy, they immediately want improvement or to advance to yet another level.  Perfection is an unattainable dream.  If we strive for it, we will inevitably be disappointed and frustrated—always wanting more. 

I could practice singing all I want. I’m fairly certain I will never sing on key, and by most people’s standards that will mean that I will never have a perfect voice.  The sound that escapes when I sing is a gargle only a tone deaf mother could love. 

Sometimes in my classes I like to say, “Don’t worry about it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect till next week.  Same rules apply next week.”  Striving for perfection is to fail from the start.  Keep progressing.  That’s a better goal!

I’d love to hear what you are practicing and progressing at in life!  I’m currently working on my handstand skills and trying to publish a book on movement.

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Finding Happiness

Ornaments

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2018-05-04T10:23:02+00:00

About the Author:

Maggie Downie
Thank you for giving your time to stop and read my blog. I hope it encourages you to keep moving. Move and the body will be happier. And when you're moving you can hike, run, swim in Jell-O, race over non-Newtonian fluids, travel the world or build igloos--if that's your thing. If not, you can watch me do it. This is just a spot to try and feel good about life.

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