The phrase practice makes perfect is cliche.
And at the same time, I believe, a million times more important than we first consider it.
Because practice does not just make perfect.
Practice is also how you happen to learn to do anything. It’s how you improve at anything.
This is a point that I repeat ad nauseam to my children:
“Prodigy is a myth. The only way to become special at something is to do it every day for many years.”
The secret to success is after all not exciting – it’s mostly repetition and work.
At my upright Mason & Hamlin piano in the den where my father spent the evenings hanging in traction, I practiced for hours every day. I ran through my scales and arpeggios, then turned to whatever piece of music I was working on: a Bach Invention, a Chopin nocturne, a Beethoven bagatelle, a Mozart sonata. I didn’t consider the meaning of the word practice. It would be many years before I began to understand that all of life is practice: writing, driving, hiking, brushing teeth, packing lunch boxes, making beds, cooking dinner, making love, walking dogs, even sleeping. We are always practicing. Only practicing.
-Dani Shapiro, Still Writing