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Why practice makes perfect is the wrong advice

Posted Mar 26 2013 5:00am

What you should be practicing

Do you think that if you keep practicing you will get better at what you want to improve? There are 2 reasons why this does not work.

1. We tend to practice what we like to do

We enjoy doing the things we do well. It is human nature to keep practicing the things you are good at over and over trying to improve your game.

What many an Olympic contender or professional athlete knows is that victories are not won by constantly practicing only the things you are good at. Certainly you need to continue to practice your strengths a little to keep them up to par but there is something more important to practice.

To improve your game practice the things you are poor at. The consistently successful people find the things that they do poorly and work on improving them. A small amount of improvement in a flaw will result in a significant improvement in your overall performance.

Are their things you don’t do well and there for avoid? Anything you feel you are not good at should be an opportunity to improve your overall game. Work on your weaknesses to build more strength.

2. You will not improve if you practice doing things incorrectly

This is where we can be our own worst enemies. We tend to know what we do well and as we saw in point one above, we practice those things repeatedly. What we fail to recognize are the things we are doing that are not up to par. 

Highly successful people frequently have a coach or adviser that can spot the areas that need improvement and get you motivated to work on those areas.

Even the best at things frequently have flaws that they never notice. One of the worst things you can do is to repeatedly practice doing something incorrectly. If you don’t get advice from others who know how it should be done you are at risk to continue practicing your mistakes until they become an integral part of the way you do things.

So if you want to take your game to the next level, whether that game be business, your recovery or your relationships, you need to listen to advice from people who can help you improve and you need to be willing to tackle the things you do not do correctly. This way you can spot your flaws and work to improve the things that are not up to par. 

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page . For information about my other writing work beyond this blog there is also a Facebook authors page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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