Trying vs Practicing

Is there a difference?

To practice doing, saying, even thinking something means we may be forming a habit.  If the habit is one of value, all well and good.  If what we are practicing is self-destructive or harmful to others, not so well and good!

I remember lots of practicing during my childhood:  riding a bike, jumping rope, twirling a hula hoop, playing hopscotch, hitting a wiffle ball, bouncing on a pogo stick. All of those activities produced hours of fun, laughter, and camaraderie with friends.

Around the same time, I also remember practicing the clarinet, ironing (I started young ironing handkerchiefs and pillow cases), rolling out pie crusts, and jumping double dutch rope.  Fun – not so much.  Apparently my talents lie elsewhere.

Saying we’ll try to do something (study more, be on time, even practice) gives us an excuse to fail.  We only say we’ll try; we don’t indicate anything positive will happen with any degree of certainty.  In other words, it gives us an out when we say we’ll try.  We don’t promise to get it right.

Trying is warranted, however, if it’s a new skill being learned.  The first few times a child attempts to walk, tie a shoe, skip, or count to 100 – we encourage trying.  Why? Because it teaches the child to practice, thereby learning it’s okay to stumble and fall or only count to 20 at first.  However, if a person tries only once or twice and quits, is he really practicing anything?  Maybe he’s practicing the art of quitting.

Ever hear the expression “Practice makes perfect”?  I disagree with this saying.  Instead, I believe practice makes the attainable that much closer.  Combine motivation and relevance with continued practice and it’s a formula for success.

Did I become an accomplished clarinetist, an expert ironer, a double dutch champion, or a pie master?  No.  I tried.  I guess I didn’t practice enough.  Why?  I was not motivated and it wasn’t important enough to me!

I’d love to hear your ‘try vs practice’ experiences and views.

Till then, keep on moving forward!



About Alice Maxin

Professional Writer, Certified Life Coach, Founder of The Write Turn - "Write it down, make it happen!" When you need just the right words, I am just the right person to write them for you: from wedding wishes to eulogies, from workplace flyers to retirement speeches and more. I'll help you say what you mean to get what you want. If you are looking for help in achieving personal or business goals, partnering with me as a certified professional coach is an excellent move to make. You are your own best asset; now work that to your advantage. With my background in education, writing, and labor relations, I am the right person to call at The Write Turn.
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