Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.

Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong. – Unknown

MJ practiced until he couldn’t miss (even though, from time to time, he did). How about you? What will you do?

What does that mean?
While this may not be a “real” quote, spoken by a single famous person, it is derived from a similar saying in nearly every culture from ancient times to the present. Whether it’s “Practice makes perfect” or “Tomorrow’s battle is won in today’s practice,” the notion that practice is important seems a universal concept.

But that goes only so far as “practice until you get it right.” What separates those who are great with those who are excellent is the second half of the statement. You know of many athletes who are in the second half, and many of the people at the top of their ‘game,’ whatever it might be, are in the second half of today’s quote.

Why is practice important?  
Michael Jordan is a legend in the NBA. Yes, he is tall. Yes, he is athletic. But he failed to make the team when he was younger, and that helped motivate him to move from the first half of today’s quote to the second half of it. He didn’t want to just be good enough to score some of the time, he wanted to be so good he couldn’t miss.

For those of us who aren’t professional athletes, we might dismiss this as a something that only applies to others. I believe that to be an incorrect assumption. We may not play sports, or even be that competitive at anything in life. But we still live, we still use our talents for something.

Whether it’s in our job, in our hobbies, in our spare time, with our family, or whatever else we do, we can get better. For some, it’s a matter of pride. For others, it’s a challenge. Whatever the reason, there is something in your life where you can do better, where you can be so good, it’s automatic.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Let’s start with something most adults have done for decades. Eating. When you were a baby, you practiced putting food in your mouth. You missed a lot of the time. Then you got better. Eventually, you got good enough that you could do it right. Most of us continue to practice, and now we just can’t do it wrong. After all, when was the last time you missed your mouth?

Do we need to discuss walking, talking, or any of the other skills you learned as a baby? Yet somehow, as adults, we just don’t seem to care as much about working at something until we can’t get it wrong. Something has happened along the way, be it a difference in how we learn, or other interests crowd into our practice time.

Most of us believe that we are above average drivers (think about that for a moment), but how many of us actually put in the effort to become so good that you can’t get it wrong? I put a lot of effort in, but I’m still quite a ways away from being that good.

What else in your life is simply “good enough,” where you have practiced until you can “get it right,” but not much more? How much better would your relationships be if you kept practicing? If you worked on it until you could take it to the next level?

I know that my relationships are better than most, but I also know that I haven’t completely committed to the second half of today’s quote. I still have quite a way to go in that respect. At work, I’m good, but still not so good as to never get it wrong, so there is room for improvement there as well.

What this quote is all about is raising your game. It’s about determining what is important to you, and taking it to the next level. Grab some paper and take a moment to brainstorm ideas about what is important to you. What are the aspects of yourself, what are the skill sets, what attitudes or preferences in your life that you need to work on?

Now select three of things you listed, and write down next to each one how your life will improve by raising your game, by striving to get to the place where you cannot get it wrong. How would life be if you had that level of people skills, relationship skills, the skills for whatever you do around the house or to earn a living? Wouldn’t that be great?

While we probably won’t get to that level of awesomeness, we can practice and work at getting better and better. Getting it right every once in a while still means getting it wrong nearly always. The next step is getting it right most of the time. Finally, you begin to close in on not doing it wrong, ever.

In the areas that are important to you, I hope you raise the bar and work on getting closer and closer to the point where you can’t get it wrong.

From: Twitter, @Sports_Greats
confirmed at :
Photo by PVBroadz

About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in attitude, confidence, discipline, exceptionalism, passion, persistence and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.

  1. Pingback: Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it. | philosiblog

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