Practice and Perfection
The saying used to be that “practice makes perfect”. Now however, it is evident that Gladwell’s 10,000 hours does not a success of you make. Therefore we revise the saying to “Perfect practice makes perfect” understandably so. You need to avoid practicing bad habits in your art or trade lest you need more good practice to undo your bad habits. But then does that not defeat the whole point of bringing up practice as a subject? For either you will have a grand tutor who can beat your bad habits out of you, or you are a genius who does not naturally form the bad habits in the first place. Thus the secret of success is still not a predictably transferable concept unless you have the money or luck to buy the time of a master who can help you unlearn bad habits.
What then of Gladwell’s subjects? Did they begin their practice knowing to avoid bad habits? Did they begin their practice with the aim of becoming perfect? Did they all have mentors? Or as the ability to achieve the 10,000 only possible because they derived joy and pleasure from being able to engage in what they liked?
And what of the value of the raw unpolished potential. Has it no value? Or is it so little valued as to be shunned at all costs? Don’t we all at times crave a little change? In this day and age where so much is gilded, polished, made up, photo-shopped to perfection, a little reality is sometime desired. Something to give us average folk connection and hope that we are enough, even in the stark contrast viewing ourselves against the stars and maestros of skill.
Why do I write these silly lines? For practice? For joy? Naught more than to fill the time and the lines? What makes it so difficult to continue on? Is writing for it’s own sake not enough?
I suppose it has been fear of treading the same water over and over again combined with the lack of changing context that has caused me to stop time and time again. But I cannot let that stop me. Another artist who I respect and admire dearly has acknowledged the same fault in himself and his work, that he covers the same basic topics again and again. This has not stopped him. I merely need to find proper context. Where oh where then to find context.
I suppose I must venture forth from my reclusive shell in search of context and conversation. Where shall I go?