When I was younger, I took piano lessons. I never wanted to practice.
My mother would try to cajole me by reciting that famous aphorism:
Practice makes perfect.
I was in my 30s before I realized this is a lie, on two fronts.
First: perfection doesn’t exist.
Perfect is the lower standard, an excuse for not doing the work or shipping the work.
I’m still working on getting perfectionism out of my system.
Still, if you wanted to be generous you could say that
Practice makes improvement, right?
This leads us to the second part of the lie.
Second: Practice does not necessarily lead to improvement
Practice is how we groove a neural pathway, the connection between mind and body.
It is more accurate to say that
Practice makes patterns.
Or, practice makes habits.
Because that’s what habits are: patterns we have grooved into our brain.
Going back to my piano playing days, if I sat at the piano every day and practiced my scales, but played the wrong note in a scale each time, I would groove the pattern of playing the scale with the wrong note.
Progress? Not so much.
Perfect? Not even close.