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Practice and You’ll Get Better Despite Yourself

I like to use “old sayings” for motivation. I have quite a few bouncing around in my head, and a few favorites that I regularly use. Many of these contain great truths that, if we learn to capitalize upon them, can help us lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

A martial arts instructor once told the class, “If you practice at something, you’ll get better despite yourself.” That has always stuck with me. The meaning is clear – if we practice, we can’t help but improve. Our own incompetencies and weaknesses will give way to improvement if we just practice. I like this saying much better than “Practice makes perfect,” which just isn’t true. I understand the sentiment, but practice makes better, not perfect.

So, when you think of attempting something new, and you feel a bit anxious that you won’t succeed, remember that “If you practice at something, you’ll get better despite yourself.” No matter what the activity is – learning a foreign language, how to play piano, drawing, putting in a ceiling fan, or having more compassion – you can bank on the fact that you WILL improve if you practice. It cannot be helped – it is the way our brains and muscles work. They learn to adapt to stimuli. Think of your own experiences in the past that will confirm the truth of this statement.

I plan on taking guitar lessons quite soon. Not only do I not play any musical instrument, I objectively do not think I will be a quick study at guitar. However, I do know this for a fact – after I practice playing guitar for a year, I will be much better than I am now. I can take this reality to the bank – as can you.

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