Practice Doesn't Make Perfect

...perfect practice makes perfect.

I used to hate when my conductor would say that in middle school orchestra because it was always hot in the band room, and I never had time to practice so I was always winging it, and I didn't feel like playing Bach, I wanted to rock.

No regrets on spending an hour re-listening to the greatest metal cello band of all time.

In business, the sentiment is the same. And you can't make the angsty middle-school excuses I made about practicing.

Just because you read a blog post about it doesn't mean you'll suddenly get it when it comes time to execute. That means you have to try, and fail. And test, and test again. Crafting an experiment takes practice, measuring the results take practice, and gaining the confidence and presentation skills to tell your team about how it went takes practice. 

Related: Learning to Experiment

More than that, though. It takes perfect practice. Making mistakes is part of how we learn. We have to try and fail before something will ever click. But after we try and fail, part of the learning process is repeating the process until we can do it perfectly, and then practicing that, rather than assuming we'll always get it right. 

Remembering the little things can be the hardest part of all. But if we think about perfect practice, instead of going through the motions of our workday, we'll start to really nail what we do and hone the craft.

That's how Jiro Ono became the best shokunin with three Michelin stars in a restaurant housed in a Tokyo subway. Not just practice. Perfect practice. 

Once you decide on your occupation... you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success... and is the key to being regarded honorably.
— Jiro Ono, Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

As easy as it is to drift through your workday, try practicing one thing perfectly today, with focus. It's the only way to become a better version of yourself.