“Practice Makes Perfect”

My fight with perfection started when I was young. I know my parents meant well. I’m sure they weren’t trying to turn me into a perfectionist. I mean what parent’s goal is to make their children into perfect little automatons? But, they, like many parents used to tell me, “Practice makes perfect!” And it wasn’t just them. I heard it at school all my life. I have heard it on TV, read it in books, seen it on the internet —it’s pretty much everywhere.

But what message does that give to a young mind? I can tell you what message that gave me. It told me that if I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t good enough. And if I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t perfect — then I wasn’t really worth much. And perhaps that was my fault for taking that so literally, but how many other young minds are doing the same?

My whole life, I have struggled to get past the need to be perfect. And when I failed to be perfect, I felt worthless and “less than.” But something is wrong with that. Because — let’s get real here — nobody is perfect. I know that probably sounds insane — but really — nobody is perfect.

The reality is, even if you practice your whole life, you are probably not going to be perfect. Ask any musician, artist, writer, or pretty much anyone who does anything if they get it right every time, and they will most likely tell you that they don’t. They become better. They become great. They become awesome. But they don’t become perfect.

It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can make mistakes without beating myself up over them. And sometimes, I still do. But these days, I’ve got a new saying, “Practice makes better.” And “better” is a much more reasonable thing to strive for.