When our best isn’t good enough to hit the goal, we need to get better so that we can take another stab at it. Sounds easy, right? Well, we’ve been taught that practice makes perfect, so in theory, we should just be able to practice the same thing over and over until it becomes second nature. What happens, however, when we do this and we still aren’t on target? What we’ve missed in practicing until perfect are some very important steps. Additionally, we’ve practiced conditioned thinking which holds us back from that we wish to achieve.
Conditioned thinking brings about conditioned responses. We have been told a certain way to do something is the way to succeed, and that is how we respond- but have you ever thought about who is actually showing the way to success? Who made these rules? And why do we blindly accept and follow them?
Practice makes perfect. Is it perfection that we should really strive for? Perfection is without flaw, and by accepting perfection, or that there is a perfect state, we are assuming there is just one way to get there. If we practice until perfect, aren’t we bypassing or overlooking many other paths that could just as surely lead to our success? In practicing until perfect, there is one path, and we have been told that we must simply repeat the same thing over and over and then it will come. Einstein had something to say about this when he stated that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
When we fail to hit the target, fall short of our goals, experience disappointment, lose out on something that we want so bad, we must keep going, but we must pause long enough from time to time to re-assess. “Learn to pause, or nothing worthwhile can catch up to you,” Unknown.
In business when something is not working, we must stop and re-assess. Hitting the pause button gives us time to reflect on where we are and what we have been doing that led us to this point. What’s going well and what’s not. Our lives or our goals can be assessed through the pause as well. This is contrary to the messages that we have received throughout life.
If you fall off the horse, you should get right back on. Most of us have heard this or been told this at some point. Again, like practice makes perfect, we miss something here. Persistence and never giving up is a key to success, but the power is in the pause. If we don’t take time to reflect on what went wrong, how can we improve?
We have been conditioned with seeds to success that are quite misleading. It is no wonder that so many people have their wheels stuck in the sand, with their foot on the gas, wheels spinning in a fury, sand flying everywhere, yet getting nowhere. It’s frustrating, to say the least, when it seems like we are doing everything right, or so we have been told is the right way, yet we fail to experience a breakthrough or the achievement of our dreams.
When our wheels are stuck in the sand, no amount of spinning is going to get us out; we will just continue to lodge ourselves in the rut. What do we do? Hit pause, get out and assess what other steps can be taken to get unstuck. We learn and do something different than what we were doing.
A willingness to learn from where we fell short is as much a key to our success as persistence. Like a combination lock, there is no one key. It takes multiple factors to unlock our success. There is power in the pause because that time of stopping our, practice until perfect and get back on the horse mentality, enables us to reflect and learn. It is through assessment that we can find new paths, develop new techniques, and keep moving toward our goals. Yes, we can get back on the horse and persevere through practice, but we must be willing to learn.
The most important message of getting back on the horse is that we don’t allow fear, doubt, and disappointment to stop us from achieving our goals, but what’s important is that we learn from the experience so that fear, doubt, and disappointment cannot take root in our thinking.
The most important message of practice until perfect is that we never give up; that does not mean we need to keep doing things the same way.
“It’s not how we make mistakes, it’s how we correct them that defines us,” Rachel Wochin. Accepting the shortcoming, pausing to reflect so that we can gain insight and redirect is what will push us through to the next level. It’s not perfecting, it’s refining.
We cannot achieve extraordinary results by doing ordinary things and thinking in a way like everyone else. Once we realize that the road to success is not a neatly cleared and paved path, but instead is a forest that we may take wrong turns in, we learn that we need to be smarter to develop our own path. We take a wrong turn and we learn about that path and move on.
It’s not that our best isn’t good enough, it’s that our thinking isn’t aligned with finding the road to success. “And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone’s way but my own,” Ralph Ellison. Stop and pause, learn and grow, from there the path becomes evident.
This week take time to hit the pause button. It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you just haven’t figured it out yet.
Jolene Church is a mindfulness practitioner, success coach, and motivational speaker. Her latest book, Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset, helps people break down conditioned barriers in our thinking that inhibit our success. www.SuccessfulThinkingMindset.com
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.