“Practice makes perfect". Many of us have probably heard this phrase over a million times before. But is it true? Do we become faster at answering online surveys after completing tons of them? Have there been other instances whereby you practised really hard for something only to have no improvement at all? Or worse still, you became worse than before! In this article, we will uncover the top 5 “secrets” behind practicing.
Remember the time when your Maths teacher made you solve a hundred sums with a devilish smile on her face? Or when you realised you were completing paid surveys at a much faster speed after finishing a few? Practice has been biologically proven to help us perform tasks more efficiently and effectively. When we practise, our brain produces a tissue called myelin, which helps transport electrical signals in our brain at a much faster rate. Hence, it helps to build stronger connections in our brain and we are better able to complete the same task at a much faster pace! Looks like my Maths teacher was an angel after all!
Having said that practice works, one must also practise right! If you practise perfecting your golf swing without knowing that your posture is wrong, you will, in fact, become much worse than when you started.This is because when we practise wrongly, we will also perfect the wrong things. So do hire a personal trainer or get a more experienced friend to help you in your practice before you end up with a broken back!
“All work and no play makes jack a dull boy”! Many believe that over-practice is detrimental and can cause burn-outs. Therefore, they suggest that one should always have a break (and a Kitkat?) regularly! However, studies seem to suggest that SOME overpractice may actually lead you to perfection. The reasoning is simple: by over-practising, our brain becomes so familiarise with the task that it requires much less effort to execute it, hence the excess energy can be used elsewhere to perfect our task, for example, in adding emotions to the song we are playing. Another motivation for one to continue grinding through the long hours of practise!
Ever had a friend who could play all day but still outperform you in studies, making you wonder if he is even human in the first place? This is because practice is but one factor that affects performance. Research has shown that practice actually only accounts for 18 - 30% of performance for music and sports. Other important factors include natural ability, height, weight and health. Now we know his secret! However, fret not. Even though 18 - 30% seems little, it is actually the largest single factor, with other factors each accounting only for around 5 - 10% each! So your best chance is still to practise lots and keep your fingers crossed!
The age-old phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ has stand the test of time, but is it really 100% true? Practice does indeed help us improve as shown in the previous point but does it make us perfect?I believe a better phrase would be “practice makes better”. The meaning of perfection depends on one’s own perception. To some, it means becoming the best of the best, but to others, it simply means becoming the best one could be. Hence, “better” would be more suitable than “perfect”. We may never become the very best even if we practise the most due to other factors, but we could become the best we could be - we could become better.
Though we might not become the next Lionel Messi or Leonardo da Vinci even if we practise, we can surely become the better forms of ourselves. Therefore, there is still much value in practice, even though we may be limited by other factors such as natural abilities. But as the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard”! So we may still become the best if we practise hard enough, with some good luck of course!
Till next time,
The PanelPlace Team
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