You may have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”. But what does it really mean?
It means the mechanism for practice when repeated results in perfect execution. So what does this mean?
This essentially means whatever you practice, you’ll get.
So how important is the “content” of what you practice?
For example, if you have an upcoming interview, and you mentally rehearse a poor performance, you have planned accordingly to achieve that.
So what’s a better approach? To practice a flawless performance?
Well that may certainly serve you better than rehearsing falling flat on your face, but what may be even better than that is to rehearse contingencies.
For example, rehearse doing well in an interview or a sales presentation and then getting stumped by a question, but then recovering and sharing an insightful response.
Consider how many contingencies you could rehearse.
- Stumbling on your words
- Itchy eyes
- Getting confused
- Getting upset or angry
- Smacking your lips
- Running out of questions to ask
- Seeing an unexpected response on the other person’s face
So the basic formula for really rehearsing for success is as follows:
Doing well > Messing up > Recovering and doing well again.
Now why does this work?
Most people build up “executing flawlessly” so much that they place undue pressure on themselves which results in making mistakes. So on at one layer you think you are practicing for perfection but in reality it is fueled by the fear of not messing up. This fear is driving the mental rehearsal so you end up getting more of what you fear.
At the end of the day we are all humans. People make mistakes. It’s how you recover from those mistakes that speaks volumes about you.
When you practice doing well, making a mistake, and recovering, you are relieving the tension and stress of being perfect while anchoring in a more effective strategy. This brings ease to your being and actually sets you up for a better performance.