Practice, practice, practice because practice makes perfect. That’s what we always hear as kids. It’s an easy saying to remember. Practice makes perfect. You hear it once or twice and it instantly gets stuck in your mind. Then you start practicing all kinds of things. You practice playing basketball but you never make it on the school team. You practice dancing but you always get the backup roles. And you practice your math problems but you still fail all your tests. What many of us didn’t learn as kids is just how much practice it really takes to become perfect. Perfection is such a wildly inconcievable goal. To be perfect is to reach a height never achieved by man. The real saying should be more like, practice makes permanent. The things that you practice over and over again become more and more permanent with time.
This means you can’t just practice throwing a basketball at a goal a thousand times and except to become Kobe. If you have bad form and you practice that over and over you will simply make that bad form permanent. This means you have to be deliberate about what you practice just as much as how much you practice. If you practice the right skills you can become better and better over time. If you practice bad habits for years you will only cement them into your daily life. So don’t think practice, practice, practice. Think proper practice. You should also practice things that you love. When you practice things that you love you eventually fall in love with practicing. And that simply makes your job that much easier. Sometimes we have to practice the hard things. But other times we can simply practice what we love. So what do you love to practice?
Here’s a short story on what I love to practice.
I looked out the window and admire the beautiful blue ocean water. I saw the green bushes of the island on the right. All I could think about was taking one long dip in the fresh blue water. It was like it was right out of a magazine. It had been a while since I was in Jamaica. I went so many times as a kid that it became so predictable. I would already know how the island looked from above, and the colors of the water, and even the music everyone would play. But something was completely different this time. I felt like I was a tourist visit Jamaica for the first time ever again. I was giddy and excited like a small child opening gifts on Christmas morning. I looked over at my family and friends that were just as awestruck by the beauty of the island. And then the whole cabin rattled fiercely as we quickly struck the landing pad.
We were in Jamaica. On our way to the house, I started thinking about all the things we would do on this trip. I remember thinking it sucked that we wouldn’t be staying in any touristy areas this time. All the years before we would split the trip down the middle. We would spend half the time with family in the country parts of the island. That was great getting to see all the family and enjoy their company. They always know how to liven up the mood and have a great time. But then we would split off halfway through the trip and stay at a nice five star resort. That’s when we would have the most fun living like kings and queens with unlimited drinks and dining options. It was a great time getting pampered and relaxing twenty four seven. And there was always cool touristy things to do in those areas from jet skis, comedy shows, and competitions.
But this year were only staying with the family. My mom decided to save some money and not go all out on the tourist attractions. We did invite almost three or four extra friends and people on this trip that my mom was covering. So it was only fair to suck it up and cut back on all the big expenses. I was kind of sad thinking about it in bed later that night. I thought to myself that maybe I could spend some of my own money on one or two tourist attractions. It would be great if I made that happen somehow. That way I would still have something fun and memorable to do on the trip. So I started looking up cool things to do in Jamaica. Granted I’ve done almost all the things listed before. There was a cool waterfall called blue hole, been there. There was a popular music festival called Sumfest, did that. There was tours around different parts of the islands, did those.
So it was hard finding something interesting to do. But then I remembered that I was much younger all the other years that I was in Jamaica. I was much older now and I could do more adventurous things. So I looked up attractions for adults. And there was some Margitaville bars that looked cool. I contemplated it but then I saw something even better. There was a bar called Rick’s cafe that was really popular online. Apparently, it was a world famous bar where hundreds of thousands visited every year. And there was something really special about this bar. It was built cliffside on the ocean with a huge cliff jump built right in the bar. I was hooked. I begged my mom to find a day that I could go. I had never really cliff jumped anything before. But I knew I had to do it.
We pulled up to Rick’s Cafe on the second to last day of our trip. It was an almost four hour drive from where we were staying. I kinda felt bad for dragging my whole family all the way out there. But I really wanted to experience the world famousness of the bar. It was packed from corner to corner when I walked in. There were people of all ethnicities walking around in the bar. It really felt like a true tourist attraction. There was even a pool a few steps away from the bar. As I was looking around all I hear from behind me is a huge, “SPLASHHH!” I quickly look and there it is. There’s a cliff jump. I look over and it’s a really long way down. A waiter told me it was a full 40 feet down to the water. I was scared. But my mom said we couldn’t stay long, so I took of my shirt I walked up to the cliff.
There was a big red sign saying you shouldn’t jump if you have asthma, back problems, pregnancy, anxiety, heart issues, etc, etc. It went forever. It made me one hundred times more scared. The attendant looked at me and asked if I was sure I wanted to jump. I timidly shook my head yes. He said okay you’re good to go. I looked over the ledge and wanted to puke. My stomach turned as I contemplated how long it would take to drop. And then I stopped thinking, said a prayer and launched myself off the edge. It felt like a was dropping for an eternity. The water was ice cold and stung as I sloppily broke through the water. When I came up for air I just started smiling and laughing. The water felt refreshing and my body was rushing with adrenaline. I felt amazing. It was definitely a memorable experience. I went on to jump a second time. And then we left. But ultimately, I did it because I wanted to practice facing my fears. That’s what I love to practice.
The more I face my fears, the more I realize that it’s all mind over matter.