‘Practice makes progress’

JOSH VAN BERKEL considers the true power of practice.

According to popular opinion – the number one fear in the world is public speaking – death, is number two.  Which means, (as comedian Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out) if we were given the choice at a funeral, most of us would prefer to be the one in the coffin than the one doing the eulogy!

I work with people from all of walks of life that want to improve their ability to not just speak in public, but also communicate effectively – or even just connect well with others.

These are all fantastic skills to have (in fact I believe they’re absolutely essential to leading a successful life) but just like any other skill – practice is the key.

“Practice makes perfect.” I bet you heard that growing up!  Probably from your parents, teachers, sports coaches and others – and if you’re anything like me I bet you’ve even heard yourself saying it to your kids!

But I’m trying to stop.

I don’t want perfection to be the goal. I no longer aim for perfect and I don’t want my children (or clients) aiming for it either. The problem with perfection is that it’s very rarely attainable, and even when it is – it isn’t sustainable – it just isn’t.

If we make perfection the goal then more often than not it’ll destroy us, because life isn’t perfect – and neither are we (what a relief!)

Progress, however, is achievable. Regardless of where we are, who we are, what we’ve done or where we start from – we can all make progress. We can do better. We can grow. We can improve. We can learn.

Perhaps the best way to sum it up is this: perfection is a destination – but progress is a journey, and life is a journey – not a destination!   If we’re prepared to let go of the perfect, and embrace progress – we’ll achieve more, and be more than we ever thought possible.

So, I no longer say: “Practice makes perfect.” Instead – I say, “Practice makes progress.” And believe it or not, I’m getting a lot more done, and I’m a lot happier doing it (and so are my kids!)

Josh worked in media for 10 years and now trains and equips others with the skills they need to communicate powerfully and effectively joshvanberkel.com