Someone recently told me that "Only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect." I have been sitting on that for the last couple of months wondering how accurate of a statement that is. This person's reasoning was that if you practiced doing something wrong, and made that same mistake repeatedly while practicing...well, then all of your practice would never provide perfect results. At first I wanted to dismiss what she said, because I had always been taught the opposite. But the more I thought about it, I thought maybe she could be right. Well, that is until this week.
This week, as I have continued practicing my hand piecing skills, I have made mistake after mistake. I misread directions and cut triangles that were too large. So when I went to join sections, one section was far too big. This resulted in my re-cutting and stitching many of the pieces. I didn't stitch close enough to my points and left a hole in the center of my block. Or I flipped blocks so that triangles were going the wrong direction. Every time I sat down to work on my block, I made a mistake.
I made so many mistakes while practicing, that I missed my personal deadline for finishing the block. I thought about setting it aside and moving on to the next block in the quilt along. I thought about scrapping it and starting over. But, instead, I kept picking it up, picking out stitches and practicing putting the pieces together.
Even though I kept making repeated mistakes, and sometimes even the same mistakes, I could recognize the mistakes. I knew I was not producing the results I wanted, and I knew I could do better. I think this is where the woman's advice falls apart. When we are working on learning a new skill or improving some area of our life, it takes practice...and mistakes. We don't always get it right the first time. And I think that seeing those mistakes, and choosing to pull something apart to make it right, is what helps us to learn and improve.
How about you? What have you made enough mistakes on while practicing to get closer to perfect?