I've never agreed with the phrase practice makes perfect when it comes to my sporting endeavours, or any task at which I've needed to improve to be honest. I'm human and so, quite simply, am intrinsically flawed; Perfection is never going to exist.
This doesn't mean that I fail to seek improvement, just that I measure it differently. Removing the feeling that perfection is the only acceptable outcome has allowed me to improve without undue pressure and to focus on the steps towards performing better rather than the unattainable unicorn that is perfection.
In my shooting for instance, either in the field, or from a competition aspect, I've always sought to perform at a minimum level based around previous engagements; To shoot with better accuracy, more speed and to strategise each scenario better each time I go out. I seek to have my equipment squared away, weapon-systems set up correctly, and to be in the right mindset to make rapid decisions which can often affect the outcome.
After each time I shoot I take the time to evaluate my performance because knowing what I did, right or wrong, will permit me the ability to understand where improvement can be made. Building on the good things and amending those that could have gone better is critical to mission-success next time, and to improving.
"I'm not a perfection-seeker. I'm a continuous-improvement seeker."
There was a time when I would have called myself a perfectionist. I was proud of the fact that I drove hard towards perfection. I thought it was a good thing...Until I received a much-needed attitude adjustment from a superior. You see, the problem was that my pursuit of perfection meant I was holding myself back in certain areas...Better to not attempt it than to do so and fail so to speak.
I would simply not hold myself out there, place myself in danger of failure and therefore opportunities were lost, or at least not explored.
Fortunately I realised it and took steps to make a change. It was difficult though, and I decided to employ the help of a professional to facilitate the process. The best decision ever.
The fear of failure is a limiting emotion, it was for me anyway; For others it may be the most legit thing ever. Once I realised the error of my ways however the-opportunity-floodgates seemed to open up and pour into my life and I liked the new get after it guy I had become.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't the sit-around-and-not-do-anything-guy prior to that point, just that I would cherry-pick the best opportunities, the ones that I knew I could excel at. It held me back.
That was the start of my new life, the design and create life-ethos that now punctuates every thing I do. I was the get after it guy prior, but my new path made that get after it ethos more effective and yep, I failed heaps. I still do! I achieved at more things also though, because I put myself in the position to do so.
perfect continual improvement.
I practice every aspect of my shooting from the set up of my rifles and handguns, equipment, theory and practical aspect...Not just trigger-pulling. Data of previous engagement (DOPE) is critical to that practice and the pursuit of improvement. It is one of the most important aspects of shooting, especially long range shooting; It is also something all of us can apply to our everyday lives.
Taking the time to evaluate our performance as a partner, a worker, parent, friend, sports-person, community-member, indeed every aspect of life, can gain us valuable DOPE if we examine it; Evaluate...And once we know the as-is position we can set about improving it; Improving ourselves and deploying life a little more effectively.
I mentor a few people here and there and this is one of the topics we often discuss; Perfection or continual improvement. Understanding the concepts around improvement and fear of failure has been a valuable lesson for myself and those around me also.
Practising the skills around self-evaluation is, in my humble opinion, one of the most important things a human can add into their life. It will open opportunity and expand one's paradigm bringing new attitudes and behaviours, and better results. Will a person fail more because of it? Probably. But, like my father once told me, "failure brings a person closer to success."
So, do you agree or disagree with me? Do you pursue perfection or continuous improvement?
Tomorrow isn't promised - Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default
An original post written by a human
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