“Application & Ability; there is no attaining eminence without both, and where they unite there is the greatest fame. Mediocre people obtain more with application than superior people without it. Work is the price that is paid for reputation. What costs little is of little worth. Even for the highest posts it is only in some cases application is wanting, rarely the talent. To prefer moderate success in great things over eminence in a humble post may be excused by a generous mind, but there is no excuse for being content with humble mediocrity when you could shine among the highest.”
Source: The Art Of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian (Translated by Joseph Jacobs)
The old quote “Practice makes perfect” is partly true. If you have a particular talent and a natural aptitude for a specific sport, exercise or hobby then with regular, focused and consistent practice you will go on to be successful in that field. If, however, you rely solely on your natural talent with limited or no training and “hope for the best” you will always fall short as, generally, there’s always somebody giving it their absolute all to be the best they can be – with or without natural talent.
Therefore it’s a statement of fact to say that a person with natural talent but no work ethic or willingness to learn will be limited in their potential whereas a person with limited talent but a willingness to fully commit to learning and practising has far greater potential for success. Mind set is a huge part of what makes a champion, a superstar or a regular winner. If you are willing to make sacrifices to achieve success (give up alcohol, partying, procrastinating and distractions), spend additional hours repeating the same things until it becomes muscle or mental memory, study and absorb information from those who have achieved and succeeded before you and those that coach you, if you’re willing to put the extra hours, extra effort and extra focus in to becoming a success for a (and here’s the key) prolonged and consistent period of time then you will achieve the absolute best you possibly can.
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi. That’s where the original quote falls short and that’s where we come to the next aspect of achieving success in whatever activity you seek to perfect. Practice doesn’t just mean repeating the same thing over and over again, practice means repeating the same thing correctly over and over again. Discipline with technique, form, position, style, mentality and mind set is what develops the positive and successful habits that then translate into a successful competitive environment with your sport, activity or hobby. Therefore, your aim when practising should be to develop all aspects of your technique, honestly and fairly analysing your technique (and any mistakes or flaws you may have) and then combine this practice to build a more full and complete skill set.
Here’s a few other great quotes about proper practice:
“You need to put what you learn into practice and do it over and over again until it’s a habit. I always say, ‘Seeing is not believing. Doing is believing.’ There is a lot to learn about fitness, nutrition and emotions, but once you do, you can master them instead of them mastering you.” – Brett Hoebel.
“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.” – Will Smith.
“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” – Martha Graham.
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that success requires sacrifice, dedication and practice. It’s a combination or knowledge and will. An amalgamation of time and focus. If you want to be truly successful in whatever you are searching for then you have to apply yourself unerringly, 100% and without doubt or reprieve to achieving that goal of success. Oh, and remember to have as much fun as possible trying! If you love doing what you’re doing then you’re far more likely to remain motivated.
“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.” – Ray Bradbury.
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