Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, April 30, 2010

In pursuit of perfection

Practice makes perfect. You hear that being said about every skill out there, whether it be playing a musical instrument or practicing an Olympic sport.

I don't have many talent-based skills beyond the written word. I guess I can knit, and can attest to the fact that without knitting different pieces with varying degrees of difficulty, I would still only be able to knit scarves and hats. I can also crochet, and without practicing that with varying shapes and difficulties, I'd just be making swatches of crochet stitches for all eternity.

Back to my written word talent-based skills: they are two-sided.

One side of my skills is the actual process of writing. This side is one I feel confident using as a commodity, not only because I studied a form of it in college, but because it is the only thing that qualifies as work that makes me happy. I enjoy it, it's a passion. I have days when it's more difficult than others to sit down and compose something of value, but there are days where it flows out of me like exhaled air, polluted with my thoughts and views, my feelings.

The other side of my skills with the written word is reading. I love to read the written word. I am the person who prefers to read NPR online, than to listen to it on the radio. I understand better, I visualize better what I am being told by the writer when I get to see it. I don't know why that is, but I just love looking at a printed page. I read fast, I comprehend and read between the lines, never missing a beat.

But it hasn't always been that way. It took many years of searching for a passion, reading things I didn't really want to read and feedback from people I respect to get me to the point where I'm at, where I feel like practicing actually will make perfect.

But as much as I practiced these skills, I realized that there was always room for growth, so I wrote more, read more. Eventually, it took maturity to realize that you never quite stop practicing, no matter how good you get, because practice is a never ending process. I also realized that perfection is an eternal destination, a mirage we see in the distance and are forever traveling toward, never reaching.

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