“Don’t get frustrated, just go back and practice.”
I am a father to three kids. The standard that I have set for myself, as a dad, is very high. Being a good dad is a goal that means a lot to me. I want to give my kids something special and that special thing is, my time.
The more time that we can be around our kids, the more our wisdom and leadership as parents will rub off on them. That is the role of a parent, I believe.
We have so much more experience and wisdom than our children do, that if we spend enough time with them, eventually, our greatness rubs off on them.
While this post is all about the power of practice, I want to start with a small experience with my children.
Those of you who do not have children, hopefully this example can provide a different perspective on why there is great power in practice.
As a parent, one of the most beautiful experiences in life is that you get to see a human grow.
One thing is to look back on your childhood and try to remember how things were, but another is to actually see a human grow right in front of your eyes.
From beginning to end, you are blessed to see a person you created, grow and develop into an adult just like you today.
Raising kids, you get to see frustration rise quickly when they want to do something so bad, but they just can’t. My kids will start crying, cross their arms around their chest and just start walking away stomping their feet as they try to leave.
(Now just to be clear, my kids are still little 😂)
Right in those same frustrations, is the silver lining. When my kids get to these points (and they do it individually and uniquely), my wife and I always have to step in and coach them as to how we get around frustration and how to keep moving forward.
It’s okay to vent, it’s okay to get upset and frustrated. However, what’s not okay, is allowing a bad attitude to join in and take over.
Reminding my kids that if you can’t do something now, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it later, is the key. Sometimes, you are just too new and you need to apply patience and practice in order to develop your skill.
When you are trying to do something and it doesn’t come out the way you had hoped, all you need to do is is go back, do it all over again (possibly a few times), — until that repetition and practice pays off to your favor.
Here’s an example where I grew greatly, just from watching my kids incorporate practice and repetition:
My kids like to go to the park from time to time and there is a beautiful open field of low cut grass, like most parks. Within that beautiful plain field of grass, there are these little weeds that grow these beautiful white and yellow little flowers. The little flowers, attract these small yellow butterflies that like to fly around and land right on them.
My youngest daughter (6 yrs old), would watch her two older sisters catch butterflies out in the open fields and quickly let them go. Naturally, she would run after her sisters and try to do the same. Only problem was, she couldn’t.
She didn’t have the skill down-packed like they did. She would question with frustration and wonder why other people could do it but she couldn’t. I could see the toll it would take on her little mind. She doesn’t truly understand the fact that if she practices with focus, she can do anything.
Why did her older siblings have the skill down packed of catching butterflies?
Well, one, I guess they are into some strange things 😂 and two, they had practiced for years, as they are older than my little one.
They have experience in something that my little one has not had the opportunity to practice enough just yet.
Naturally, my youngest would get bent out of shape and her frustration takes over. Quicker than we’d like, the tantrum is in full effect.
She doesn’t understand the concept yet, that if you want to be able to do something, anything really, you need to practice.
The point that I am trying to bring across, is that you should always go into starting something new fully understanding that your first tries are going to be pretty lousy.
Your brain is making connections to properly learn that new skill you are introducing. If you really want to get better at it, a tantrum or letting your emotions overtake you is not going to help you. You must be willing to go back and practice.
The power of practice applies to so many areas of life. Think about it. Whether it is school, work, sports, hobbies, investments — anything, it all requires practice and repetition to master.
Once you come to terms that you are willing to take on anything new and just be willing to practice that until you force yourself to be proficient at it — you win!
Why do you win?
Because, no matter what you choose to take on in your life, if you want to be the best at it, or even get a strong grip over it, you will need to practice.
The power lies within the will and self-discipline to go back and just keep practicing until you master it.
Just yesterday, my wife and I were walking with our kids at a park and our youngest, caught a glimpse of butterflies with the corner of her eye flying around and landing on the flowers. They took over her complete focus. 😳
It wasn’t a walk anymore, it became a hunt.
She jumped off the sidewalk path and onto the grass, where the butterflies gathered.
She went over to them very slowly. Being very careful not to scare them away.
You could hear the crunching of the grass as she took each step. But, she moved so cautiously, that the butterfly didn’t realize a six year old was about to pounce and try to capture it.
She got close enough to make her move. Slowly squatting down with her hands cupped together, (just like her sisters had shown her), she moves slowly and domes over the flower.
Then quickly scoops over the flower to capture her first butterfly!
She did it!
This was a big moment for her, she was so proud! She made a wish and opened her hand to let the butterfly fly back to its environment.
Immediately, her confidence rose and she was running down the field ready to try again.
She caught 5 more after that. She got a hang of the skill. All through practice and repetition.
As a father. As a parent. My mindset, wisdom and knowledge all increased from watching that experience with my kids.
It was the perfect opportunity to remind her how frustrated she has gotten in the past, when she had just started.
Just as important, was to point out to her how the will to keep going and keep practicing, is what enabled her to achieve what she wanted to achieve.
She now knows how to make the connection in her mind of what practice looks like in real life.
How practice can lead towards mastery and achievements.
She now, is beginning to understand that in the beginning things are always going to be rough, bumpy, hard, and frustrating. But, if you keep working at something, and you don’t quit on yourself, and allow your emotions to take control of you, you can then accomplish anything you want out of life.
If we start something new and we end up giving up because it is too difficult, or requires too much time, then all we are doing is revealing to ourselves our weaknesses.
It also reveals to you, that maybe you don’t really want it that bad. I say this because, the things worth having in life, are going to require your best effort. They will demand the best version of yourself in order for you to reach those milestones.
People must be willing to go back to practice, and practice, and practice, and practice some more.
You must be willing to practice until you have mastered what you are putting your time into. And even when you have mastered it, now the real work begins.
The continuous practice is what will help you maintain that new skill that you have built over time.
When frustrated, go back and practice some more.
No butterflies were injured in the making of this experience. 🙏