This past July 4th weekend my wife and I were fortunate to spend four days with our kids and grandkids. After much coaching and coaxing I was able to get my granddaughter to add “Papa” to her growing list of new words—mommy, daddy, Brady, back-et-ball, NO…NO…NO… Notice the trend there. Soon she caught on to me. By the end of the weekend if I asked her to say Papa I got “NO” more often than Papa.
The weekend success reminded me of the old saying, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” And, that really old saying by Aristotle, “It is frequent repetition that produces a natural tendency.” And it all hinges on another important principle of learning, practice. Repeating any behavior takes practice and it can be tedious, but eventually it turns into something that appears and seems effortless (like “Papa” did for my granddaughter).
I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with the cliché, practice makes perfect. I am a big proponent of practice. But not just any practice, purposeful practice. The truth is deliberate practice won’t make you perfect, but it will make you better. And more and more focused practice can make you best at what you do.
At 16 months my granddaughter has no idea about the importance of practice. Growing up in a sports-oriented family with sports minded parents that undoubtedly will change. And the fact that she learned to say back-et-ball (basketball) before Papa tells me she will probably understand the concept very early on in her life.
The great thing about practice is even a little bit (one weekend) can result in obvious improvement (my granddaughter is proof). Someday she will hopefully get to read this. When that day arrives there is one quote about the value of practice that I hope she (and all my grandkids) will repeat over and over until it is a natural tendency. Words of value for anyone that wants to make the most of the talents they’ve been given. From the great Polish pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski, “If I miss one day of practice I notice it. If I miss two days the critics notice it. If I miss three days the audience notices it.”
William “Bud” Hart is a certified “Mindset” Coach, Accountability Partner and Business Consultant. Founder of Hart Group, www.hartgroupma.com.