“If life held no difficulties, we would never know what it was to persevere.” – Theodicus, 1798
You’ve heard it probably a million times: Practice makes perfect. Or: Try, try again. Or: You can do anything you set your mind to. Sometimes you believe it, and other times you roll your eyes so much they slide back into your head (ouch!), but your reaction usually depends on how your week has been going. If you’ve had a wonderful week, then you believe in perseverance paying off, but if your week has been horrendous, you are more prone to eye rolling histrionics.
Throughout it all, though, one thing remains true. If you learn from your mistakes you are better off than if you just keep making mistakes and never changing your patterns. That one is undeniable, even if you’ve never learned from any of your mistakes, because it just means you’re the one who doesn’t change, who doesn’t improve.
Every single one of my major life breakthroughs has been because of perseverance, that drive to get better, to reject my limitations, and to leave them in the dust. Now, I’m not saying it’s been easy. In fact, every one of those breakthroughs came after difficult soul-searching and after multiple mistakes, some very costly, but I can honestly say that every single one was worth it.
You know those people you went to high school with, the ones who were cool and popular, the ones voted most likely to succeed? Do you ever wonder what happened to them after high school? Then you go to your 20 year reunion (mine is next year), and you find out that they never amounted to what everyone back then had perceived as their potential. I’m not saying they’re living on the railroad tracks and sleeping on grates, but usually they don’t become the doctors, the humanitarians, or the business CEOs. What happened?
I think it all goes back to the quote from Theodicus above. In high school those popular kids always tasted success. They never had to deal with difficulties. So when they got out into the real world and life wasn’t all roses and N*Sync songs, they hit the wall. It wasn’t something they had learned to deal with, having to persevere, so they didn’t know the meaning of the word. They stagnated, and never truly reached their true potential.
Whereas, those who struggled to get by, both academically and socially, in high school, learned a hard lesson, but one worth learning, that having those difficulties, and getting through them prepared them for life outside of high school. They are the ones who made their dreams come true by staying the course when necessary, and by deviating from it when the situation called for it.
I have no idea if practice makes perfect. I doubt it, but who’s to say for someone it doesn’t ring true? And I have no clue if trying the exact same way over and over again doesn’t bring with it achievement or victory. It very well might. However, I do know that making mistakes is good… until it isn’t anymore. Getting it wrong prepares you for eventually getting it right. It’s all in how you take it, how you learn from it, and how you persevere.