My third grade teacher told the class about her young daughter’s new favorite phrase. Her daughter turned “practice makes perfect” into “practice makes practice.” In the third grade I laughed at this, for it seemed childish. Now, I think that young girl may have stumbled upon a profound idea.

Practice does not make perfect. The ability to learn from mistakes, creative problem solving skills, and a consistent thought process make perfect something close to perfect.

Assuming you don’t have much for firearm experience, let’s say you go to a shooting range. You’ve seen enough movies to understand the general idea. Pick up the gun, aim, fire. Your bullet hits the target, but slightly below and to the left of the bulls-eye. You’re still looking through the sight so you aim higher and to the right. Aim, fire. You overcompensated. Take the difference of your two shots. Aim, fire, bulls-eye. Looks like practice makes perfect. Wrong. You simply tried your best, then utilized problem solving skills by following a practical thought process in order to fix your mistakes.

Not convinced? Let’s say you were running late and forgot your glasses on the way to the range. You can’t see minute details without them. For some reason you try anyway. Maybe because you already paid the $100 non-refundable reservation and equipment rental fee. You understand what to do. Pick up the gun, aim, shoot. Aim, shoot. Aim, shoot. Aim shoot…

It is extremely unlikely any one bullet came remotely close to the center of the target. But wait, you practiced. Without your ability to recognize a mistake there is no way to improve.

Albert Einstein declared, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Try new things. Try different. Make a mistake, fix it, then make a few more. Perfection Something close to perfection will come.

take a picture,

jack pope


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