Practice Makes Progress

I found myself on Pinterest a few days ago (that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone by now) and I saw this quote that read, “Practice makes progress.

It stopped me because, a) What the heck, that’s now how that quote is supposed to go & b) Damn, that is one of the most real things I’ve read in a while. And it was.

When I go out and lock my eyes on a particular goal or dream, I want it 100%. When do I want it? Now? How do I want to get there? By any dang means necessary. I’ll stop at nothing….except the first inkling of failure.

For a perfectionist (like myself), there’s no worse feeling than knowing you didn’t own up to what you thought you would. It’s heart-stopping. Gut-wrenching. And something that so easily tricks you into thinking you are your mistakes.

It’s ridiculous if you think about, and I know I’ll be laughing about it years down the road, but it legitimately makes my insides burn in the moment.

There's no worse feeling than knowing U didn't own up 2 what U thought U would. Click To Tweet

When I do something, there’s no part of the plan that’s allotted for failing. It isn’t a part of my vocabulary, except when I’m writing blog posts like these and it has to be. (I guess that makes me a walking contradiction…)

My sights are always set on someone who’s seemingly great at what it is I want to perfect. Chances are, they’ve been doing said thing for years and have devoted a ton of time and practice into, but I don’t care. I want to accomplish that same thing, and usually in no time at all.

You see, in my tiny mind, practice should make perfect. If it isn’t, I must be doing something wrong.

And…that’s when the true struggle sets in. I compare, compare and do even more comparing until my eyes and brain start bleeding. I need to know right now why I’m not at the same place this other person is.

For example, I’ve recently thrown myself into the world of calligraphy and hand-lettering. I’ve admired it from afar (like a true, honest creeper) for years and finally made the move. I told myself it would be so easy and that I’d instantly be a pro at it, but if you know anything about the world of calligraphy (or anything about anything), you know how wrong that is.

I mess up so much and although I’ve grown a ton already and improved beyond what I expected, it still leaves me feeling like a failure sometimes. I follow tons of Instagrams of people whose entire life and career is calligraphy. Their work is beautiful, and the comparison I feel (quite honestly) is the thief of my joy.

It’s the same bubbling disappointment I feel when I mess up in teaching (or get critiqued). I’ve invested so much of my life and soul into the profession, and the student teaching is just…a trying time. For as much as I’ve learned and grown, I’ve probably messed up double that amount. Sometimes, I get the idea in my head that I must not be good.

And when I get critiqued…oh boy. I hate that I’m admitting this, but it’s too important not too: I hate being critiqued, and love it at the same time. In the moment, I always feel somewhat like my life is falling apart and I need to throw away everything I’ve ever learned or done. Several days or weeks later, of course, that feeling quickly fades and turns into (usually) gratitude for whoever it was that helped me with their honesty.

But, in the moment: that feeling of disappointment because you didn’t reach somewhere that wanted to be; it can easily take over your whole life.

The feeling of disappointment can easily take over your whole life. Click To Tweet

However, that’s why this quote is so necessary. When my sights are set on perfection, it’s no wonder that I feel the way I do when I don’t reach that. Honestly, what even is perfection? How could someone ever measure that truly and fairly? Because every time you think you’ve found perfection, doesn’t someone eventually come along and shatter that idea for something even better?

I can’t truly express how much of a weight falls off my shoulders when I turn the whole idea around in my mind. I’m trying and practicing every day at these things, and isn’t that what should matter?

Of course I’m going to mess up. And of course I won’t be perfect.

A good chunk of me will always have those tendencies to get easily frustrated and bad days will still happen, but at least I know I’ll be looking at a more realistic goal for my future.

Friends, are you guilty of this too? Do you believe the lie that practice makes perfect? If so, tell yourself over and over (honestly until you start to believe it or go crazy–whichever comes first) this:

Practice makes progress, not perfection. Click To Tweet



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