Sheridan Taylor Logo

To My Sons: Practice

Sheridan Taylor

In which our hero reminds his sons of the importance of practice, to remind you, dear reader, to practice catching the negative thought patterns and create cognitive flexibility with fact and kindness.

It doesn’t matter what you want to do, if you want to get good at it, you have to do it a lot. But you have to do it well a lot. Life’s short, time’s precious, don’t waste either.

There’s a saying: practice makes perfect. It’s a stupid saying. Practicing something badly a thousand times just ensures you’ll always do it badly. Practice it to the best of your abilities every time, and you’ll only get better at it.

Don’t practice something poorly a thousand times just to make a thousand. Numbers are largely irrelevant. The number of repetitions aren’t the point. The quality of each repetition is the point. What matters is how much effort and concentration you put into each repetition. Ten of your best possible repetitions are better than a hundred sloppy repetitions.

Improvement comes from discomfort. If you want to improve, you have to make yourself uncomfortable. If you want to improve quickly, you have to make yourself really uncomfortable. Your teacher is the pain. Your teacher is the irritation, the boredom, the impatience.

Real progress only comes when you push through boredom. Real improvement only comes when you’re exhausted and want to quit. Success only comes when you push through the self-doubt and keep going; when you finish the job you set yourself because you’re responsible to yourself. When you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself through this?” and answer yourself, “Because I’m better than this and deserve more.”

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it. What matters is how many times you did it right. How many times you did it as best as you could. How many times you pushed yourself to exhaustion. How many times you pushed through pain. How many times you pushed through tears. How many times you pushed yourself past what you thought your limits were.

The only person you have to beat is the person you were yesterday. If you can beat him, daily, beating anyone else becomes easy. That’s why your only competition is you. I love you.