‘We are great at learning lessons ; the problem is that we forget’.This is why we need to practice.
Practice keeps the ‘lesson’ alive and present for us and is the way that we keep reminding ourselves of lessons learned. We should not be surprised by the need for practice, as sometimes truly learning a lesson involves replacing ‘the habit of a lifetime’ with a new habit.
Practice is also required if we are learning a new skill. Repetition is needed for the skill to become instinctive. Sportsmen know this – there is no one at the top of their sport who does not devote significant time to practice.
The great religious traditions know about the power of practice. Religious practice involves a continuous cycle of ceremonies and prayers. Meditation/mindfulness practice has become mainstream and is proven to bring the great benefits ( peace, presence, clarity, calming the mind etc) to those who incorporate it into their daily routines.
A well known golfer famously said ‘the more I practice the luckier I get’. So if you become frustrated by your failure to achieve at something the first question you should ask is whether you are really dedicated to the task. Do you really put in the effort – do you practice ? Look around – you won’t find many examples of success without practice. Of course, you should always practice with a purpose – know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
If we know that practice works then why are we so reluctant sometimes to do it?
I think that it might have something to do with how we perceive practice before we do it – boring, repetitious, hard work, a grind. We could just as easily see it as an opportunity to spend time doing what we love and enjoy, something that makes us feel fulfilled and takes us closer to achieving our goals. The discipline of practice brings order and stability to our lives. And it is not the same every time – we are in a different place, our mood is different and we will learn something different.
So if you are struggling to practice whatever it is you want to perfect, ask yourself if a different mental attitude, a different way of looking at it would increase your commitment.