I played the piano from the time I was 7 years old until I was 14 and I heard the saying “practice makes perfect” more times than I could count. I don’t believe in this saying. Instead, I believe that practice makes permanent.
Even though playing the piano was more of my father’s desire than mine I was an extremely good pianist. I have come to realize the reason for my outstanding musical abilities was because I worked hard and because I wanted my father’s approval. Not because I was perfect.
As if it was yesterday I can still hear his words in my head: “practice makes perfect, Brandalyn!” “If it isn’t right, you will do it over!” I never gave these lines another thought. What my father said made sense and more times than not proved to be true in the form of high competition scores, state qualifications, a baby grand piano, and fine-arts camps. There is truth in the statement that you have to work hard at something to be good at it; however, at my young age I had come to the belief that things could be better than good, they could be perfect.
Despite my father’s disapproval I abruptly quit playing the piano. As music from the gorgeous black Baldwin diminished my father’s words produced a powerful crescendo. His words haunted my high school days, thoughts about my appearance, relationships with others, my actions, and so much more. At the time I didn’t realize the effect his words had on me; instead, I felt my attitude was that of a perfectionist encompassing a strong work ethic, just as my mentor.
Last year I was talking with a friend who told me “Brandalyn, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.” After some explanation she showed me an area that wasn’t perfect, my thinking. After she challenged and encouraged me I left with a cloudy head and pondering thoughts. I trusted my friend very much and knew deep inside she was speaking the truth. I realized I needed to embrace my faults instead of feeling guilty for them.
No matter the cause you have to work hard at the things you want most in life. You will make mistakes along the way but mistakes alone do not constitute surrender. If you’re addicted to smoking and want to stop it is inevitable you will have frustration and more practical that you will long for one last drag of a cigarette. However, the more you practice and pursue a smoke-free life the more living without that cigarette becomes a permanent habit, not a perfect one.
Have you failed at something? Maybe you’ve failed more than once? Maybe, you’ve even lost hope. I can tell you there is hope, hope in the belief that life is part of making mistakes; changing, and learning along the way.
I challenge you not to give up. Instead, try again. Try until what you’re seeking becomes a permanent habit, a permanent thought, and a permanent way of life.
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