Practice is a concept we are familiar with and frequently engage in. The main purpose of practicing is to better oneself, to improve acquired skills, or to learnt to accomplish a task efficiently. As the saying goes, Practice makes perfect. Yet the type of practice we engage in is what determines whether it eventually makes perfect. And in all honesty, who’s to say when perfection has been attained? Perhaps improvement is a much more achievable goal. If we practice yet we don’t see tangible improvement, chances are we are in our comfort zone. How about upping the ante by practicing in public?
How you practice matters
The goofs we remember are those we made in the public arena where everyone witnessed our faux-pas; we learn the most from these. Hiding away to practice often allows us to lie to ourselves that we are effectively doing something when a closer analysis will reveal that we really are just procrastinating. In this regard, there is such a thing as practicing too much. We must come to the realization that we have planned enough, practiced enough, prepared enough, and that it’s time to ship. As long as we are practicing in private, there’s no pressure to move forward, to perform, to deliver, to achieve. We will make mistakes even as we practice in public, but that’s okay, we’ll try again and again until we get it right.
How you learn matters
According to KOLB’s learning styles concept, some people learn either by active experimentation (doing) leading to concrete experience (planning), or by reflective observation (watching) leading to abstract conceptualization (thinking). Beginning is easier once we know what learning style we respond to best. Especially if we learn by doing, then we will only perfect out craft when we’re engaged in it, while we’re doing it, hacking away at it day by day, step by step, issue by issue, topic by topic. If to improve our skills we must practice anyway, then we might as well do it in public. This will speed up our learning process while also benefitting others who can learn from our mistakes.
Practice and fail faster
Practicing in public allows us to improve faster. We never learn anything by being perfect, we learn the most when we fail. This is because we rarely remember the things we got right, but we always remember the things we got wrong. When you practice in public, the stakes are higher because you’re aware everybody is watching, which forces you put your best foot forward. Indeed we do some of our best work when we know somebody is watching, listening, consuming our content. This is because accountability is introduced into the equation, meaning there’s a consequence to our work, and with this comes feedback to inform your work. Feedback paramount to the creative process because we create work and disseminate it for consumption to make an impact, achieve a purpose, make a connection. We create to inspire, and feedback is indispensable to the process. So the next time you want to wait until it’s perfect, instead get out there and engage in public practice, see what happens. Below is a YouTube video I did on the same topic while in Israel Tel Aviv.