I remember taking piano as a kid. My piano teacher would use that same mantra we’ve all heard, “practice makes perfect.” I would practice every day after school. I needed to get those keys to match those notes perfectly.
What I realized much later in life, is that practice DOES NOT make perfect.
Practice makes PERMANENT!
I would spend my hour or so after school staring at the music book, matching my finger on the keys with the notes on the page. Drilling the sequences into my head to make sure they were right. Hitting those same keys over and over even if they were the wrong keys in the wrong sequence. As happens in our minds and muscles, practicing the same wrong notes and sequences stuck as I continued to practice. I kept getting that same part of the song perfectly wrong. Practice made permanent.
Ever tried to unlearn something your brain and body internalized together? Not easy. In fact, it’s freaking hard!
I’m pretty sure that piano had to be tuned many times just from me pounding the notes harder and harder every time I messed up the same section. At least I gave the piano tuner job security.
Did I ever think that same practice philosophy would apply to my personal life? Of course not! That would make too much sense. Over time, it seems many of us have either forgotten this or haven’t put two and two together.
What we do, hear and say on a daily basis will work its way into our muscle memory whether it’s the body or the brain.
So, let’s think about this for a few moments.
A little girl internalized all the negative stuff she was told about herself. She started to tell herself the same things and now they are “false facts on a loop” in her head. Her mental and emotional muscles have made that “permanent “.
She’s now an adult, yep it’s me, and reads a great book that talks about this whole practice thing in a brand new light. Then the lightbulb moment happens. You know the moment. You read the sentence in the book, feel like you’ve been gently or not so gently bopped on the forehead, and have to reread the sentence to make sure you understood it the first time. The book, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. To be honest, it wasn’t just one sentence. It was that she talked multiple times about practicing things like gratitude and connection to make them a part of who we are and what we do.
I started to think about all the things that were on repeat in my head. It was a huge “false fact loop”. Those things I’ve believed as fact from other people’s words and actions. They are not facts at all, but the mental rehearsals had me deeply believing those “false facts”.
You could be thinking, “Well great! If I’ve been rehearsing my own set of “false facts” for years and they’re permanent, then I’m screwed.” I’m am so grateful that’s not true. That’s another false fact.
Real fact, we can retrain our muscles to learn new patterns and new things. We can start to push those false facts aside when we replace them with new real ones. We do that by starting a new loop.
A few weeks ago, I encouraged you to make a list of things in your life you felt you were half-assing. There is a possibility that you are holding you back on doing some of those things because you are believing false facts.
Next week, we are going to use that list more.
This week, I want us to add a new practice to our daily routine to get ready. The practice of gratitude.
Each time you feel yourself starting to think or say something negative, a false fact, about yourself, pause and think about, or better yet say out loud, something you are thankful for. If it is the same thing over and over, that’s cool. We’re not looking at variety right now. It’s just about building the practice and habit of gratitude.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to do a little retraining. Acknowledge the false fact…push it to the side…say something you are grateful for. Repeat as necessary. You got this!
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