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Practice

4/19/2010

Over the last couple of years I've been of the opinion that you can get better at anything if you just practice. Practice painting, you'll be a better painter. Practice your jumpshot and you'll be a better shooter, throw a couple hundred curve balls and you'll get a wicked 12-6 curve. I've found myself insisting on this. When I switched back to my old job last Spring I knew that all I needed was a bit of practice and I'd be up and running in top form...and I was right. Three presentations in and I was back on the horse. Skiing. After three years off, all it took was a couple of runs down an intermediate slope and I was skiing like I never stopped. As an adult I have learned to insist on "practice makes perfect", even though evidence proves me wrong.

"Huh?" You ask, seeing as that paragraph makes no sense. "What?" "Are you kidding?" "What evidence?"

Well, for one, this here blog. For two, my non-existent jump shot and three, pretty much everything else I do.

Practice is no substitute for talent, no matter how many late-eighties movie montages you may see. I can do some things well. Practice helps me keep up with those skills. Some things I am terrible at and practice will never help with those. In fact, I may end up reinforcing the bad habits that make me terrible in the first place. That will lead to frustration and humiliation, which can lead to depression and/or another couple weeks in county for masturbating behind the Foot Locker with a shop soiled Air Jordan and a ped-egg.

Now there's nothing wrong with a little frustration and humiliation now and then, especially if you're wearing something really special and the homeless guy actually takes the picture instead of just stealing the camera. But there is something wrong with the idea that it's possible to get better by simply repeating yourself over and over.

Look, I'm not saying you should give up, all I'm saying is that you need to understand your limitations. If you are at the highest skill level, practice isn't really helping you. If you suck, you aren't going to get much better, and if you're in the middle, you'll beat the losers and get beat by the experts, so you're just practice no matter who you play. You're either a lion or a Christian in this world. (But only because the Romans didn't have Mormons...or Jai Alai. What the hell did Romans bet on when they retired? There they are, in Miami, all toga'd out and nothing to bet on. Man. Life really sucked back then.)

I'm also not saying you can't be a success even though you suck. Lots of people are. Most people suck at what they like and a lot of people hate what they are really good at. You know, "the grass is greener" bullshit, bullshit, bullshit...

So what's my point? My point is that because most people think that the more you do something the better you get, we end up thinking that the guy who works the hardest at something and produces the mos of it, produces the best stuff. And the guy who is naturally gifted but maybe doesn't work as hard as some other poor schlub to turn out the same or better product is some kind of a slack ass.


Not a slack ass




What it all comes down to is that this blog doesn't suck because I don't practice, it sucks because I am a genius who just doesn't try very hard. Besides, none of you would know awesome if it jumped up and bit you on the dick. That's obvious to everyone because of the continued success of Billy Joel and the Eagles, while a genius like the Count gets censored by the man. Fucking commies.




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