Practice makes almost perfect
Repetition is the key to learning. Yet, no matter much you practice something, you’ll never be perfect at it, and there’s beauty in that.
Often, when children are growing up, they cling to hobbies and interests. Sometimes, because they’re naturally gifted at them, others aren’t but are born with the competitive gene, so they want to be. We find something we can call our own. It could be a sport, musical instrument, board game, really anything that requires a level of skill. Granted, some of these are more involved than others. Take, for instance, learning to play the saxophone. The level of difficulty associated with that is much higher than learning to play Connect Four.
However, there are many experts in both of these skill-based hobbies. If you’re like me, you very, very much dislike losing. You’ll do anything to win, and typically that means pouring an abundant amount of time into perfecting your craft. Most of the time, having an unrelenting pursuit of getting better at something you enjoy is an admirable quality to have. But staring over the edge of perfection is a dangerous and slippery slope.
People spend their entire lives chasing perfection. Many CEOs and top-level executives of companies work 70 hours a week to discover the next big thing or stay ahead of the curve. The problem with a relentless pursuit of perfection is there’s no balance. Everything in this life requires balance. Something will give when you’re burning the candle at both ends. If you’re consumed in work-life, your family life will suffer. If you’re immersed in weight training but make no time for aerobic exercises, your cardiovascular health could suffer.
Having this mindset doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Plenty of brilliant, dedicated, and persistent members of society climbed the ladder of success while putting all of their eggs in one basket. Unfortunately, for many of them, the trajectory of their lives was changed forever by this decision. If possessing balance is what you seek, fairness is the name of the game, and you must spread out the eggs. Give ample time to each essential aspect of your physical and mental health and overall life.
Moreover, what’s disheartening is how many individuals lose sight of who they are to reach a level of perfection. A relevant example is athletes who’ve taken performance-enhancing drugs. Search through any professional sports history, and you’ll find a handful of cases. In sports such as baseball and cycling, usage was rampant at one point. Even the best players participated, tarnishing their legacies and subsequently getting rejected from their sports hall of fame in the process. It begs the question, at what point do you stop pursuing perfection? For many, that question isn’t answered until it’s too late, and they’ve lost everything. Here’s the thing,
“Beauty isn’t always found in the result but the process in which you endured to get there.”
There’s beauty in the process of advancing at something. It lies in realizing you’ll never be perfect at anything but that your quest to get better remains the same. The better you get, the more successful you want to be at it. But you can’t let your desire to succeed run wild and cause you not to spread love to other areas of your life.
When I look back on practicing basketball for endless hours, perfecting a shot I wanted to use in a game, the culmination of my efforts wasn’t limited to the moment where I did. Sure, when you hit the shot you’ve been practicing in a game, you feel terrific. It feels like all of your hard work paid off. Yet, the true glory of the game doesn’t come from a fleeting moment, but all of the time, energy, and effort you put in to get to that very moment, and that, is imperfectly perfect.