Why I don’t say “practice makes perfect”

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Today I want to talk about the phrase “practice makes perfect”.

But before we begin today’s post, I want to give a shout-out to our awesome workshop students from last weekend! We had absolute fun teaching and watching how much each student was transformed by the end of the second day.

Now, back to our post!

Have you heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”? If you haven’t, it’s what people say to encourage others to keep practising so that they get better at something.

But I don’t like that phrase. I prefer to say “practice makes progress“.

Let’s compare the meaning of “perfect” and “progress”, shall we?

perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. 

progress: development towards an improved or more advanced condition.

If you ask me, based on the definition above, being perfect sounds almost impossible. 

So we should stop aiming for perfection. If we’re practising to be perfect, we may never be happy. There will always be something that we need to improve on.

Instead, we should aim for progress.

Just a little each day will go a long way. Don’t wait to be perfect to speak up at work. Let speaking up at work become part of your practice so that you progress and get better.

And don’t forget to celebrate your progress.

Look back on how much you’ve improved today compared to where you were in the past. Give yourself a pat on the back before you progress to the next thing you need to improve on.

Do you tend to aim for perfection? If you do, this may lead you to disappointment when you fail to reach the high expectations you have for yourself.

Yes, it’s great to have high expectations, but at the same time, be kind to yourself. Celebrate how far you’ve progressed. Be your own coach to help you progress even further.

That’s all from me for today. We’ll talk to you again soon.

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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