In 1993, a groundbreaking study was done by a cognitive psychologist named Anders Ericsson that suggested, practice does not make perfect. In fact, it has more to do with how we actually practice and apply learned skills The study showed that the difference between mastering something and being mediocre is quite distinct and there are ways we can master a concept or skill if we can adapt and practice deliberately. Before, we have accepted that practicing makes perfect, when in fact, we needed to focus on a more effective way of practicing, and that’s what really matters. Read on to find out why practicing makes perfect is a myth and how you can be more forthright with practicing.
For one, the importance of deliberate practice cannot be undermined. People learn and master something in different ways but across the board one thing remains fairly consistent — doing practice the right leads to dramatic results and applications. This has to do with many studies in cognitive science and psychology. The importance of practice is this: constantly having a sense of self-evaluation and self critique. We should be focusing on our weaknesses and actively going about looking for ways to improve and be stronger. This has to come from our own projections of self and our goals. Rather than simply practicing for the sake of it, we are just feeding our weaknesses and not actively engaging ourselves to really improve.
When it comes to mastering a motor skill combined with a cognitive ability, like for example, playing a musical instrument or learning a new language, one of the most important themes is the importance of practicing how to practice. That’s right, doing it right is key here. It’s about quality, not quantity or duration. Here’s where self-evaluation plays a pivotal role in your progress and effectiveness.
Deliberate practice can be applied to school, learning new concepts, and preparing for tests. There are many ways you can hone your practicing habits. For one, practice that most people do, most of the time, should be in pursuit of personal goals. If you truly want it, you will be self motivated and ready to sacrifice lots of time and commitment. It’s more than a daily routine, it require effort that is not inherently desirable. You have to be forthright in focusing on your weaknesses and then think of new ways to cheer yourself on and keep going when you’re bored or ready to give up.
Monitor your results frequently. When you fail, don’t see it as a roadblock, but see it as a renewed opportunity to do even better next time. Make notes of what works and what doesn’t. Only the best students proceed on even after failing and feeling discouraged. On the same note, even when you have succeeded, don’t consider that a climax or a plateau, you can always push a little bit more and be truly great.