Summary: Your personal best requires that you take on the mindset of an athlete. An athlete runs to win. They exercise disciplines for the win when the door opens for opportunity. They sacrifice for what they believe in.
Everyone has heard the phrase “Practice makes perfect” or at least I think they have. It’s such an old adage, I’m not sure if anyone knows who said it first. Regardless of who coined the phrase, the Bible is full of wisdom concerning this very notion of practice and results. No matter what you want out of life…in order to achieve the best result, we have to put in the time necessary to achieve them. The time we spend in our pursuit is chalked up as practice, and again…practice makes perfect.
Recently, I was in an airport and had a little time before takeoff so I thought I would look around for a shoe shine stand. Well, I found it and I also found a perfect example for the outcome of consistent practice. When I first saw the stand I couldn’t help but notice there were several men in front of me. I was making the consideration for waiting or just catching a shine the next time around. There were two guys working the stand and one of them caught me trying to decide. Obviously, he had some practice in spotting the indecision. Right away, in the middle of doing a shine for another guy, he starts talking to me. He’s friendly, he’s engaging and before I knew it I was in the chair. The wait had become a non-issue because this guy was so good at snagging the customer. When I got out of the chair, my shoes were gleaming, I was happy, he was happy…all in all it was the perfect shoe shine experience. The charge was $6.00 but I gave the guy $20.00. He was grateful but not moved. Why? I think it happened for this guy all the time. Why? Because he put in the time to be great at what he did. Why? Because being great at the end of the day pays better than mediocre at the end of the day. This guy was great as a result of consistent practice everyday to be the best at what he did. The shine was only worth $6.00. I didn’t pay for the shine. I paid for the attitude and the entertainment he provided WITH the shine.
This little exercise of practice has the exact effect on anyone who will put in the time to be great. No matter who that may be and regardless of what they do.
Many people practice failure. They do the same things everyday, the same way and they never seem to understand that doing nothing is a practiced behavior. They don’t make decisions when it’s time to make them. They make a practice of relaxing when they should be up and at it. They procrastinate until they have to self-impose pressure to get something done. They form these bad habits because of bad practice. Worse yet, they become complacent and even comfortable with habits that can ruin them physically, financially and even mentally.
Stop waiting for what you want and work what you’ve got!
I’m thinking about a couple of scriptures that are “now” words and not do it later words.
I’m not even sure I know of a “Do it later” scenario in the Bible. Words like “Today is the day of salvation.” Or “Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts….” and “… choose “this day”
Whom ye shall serve.” No, the bible is full of words like today, this day and now. Most of them come as a command or a stern exhortation of some sort. He knows He’s dealing with flesh.
…and what of this practice- Practice what we preach!
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
This takes habitual practice. We must put on Christ, everyday. We must ask, daily, for our bread through prayer. We “grow” in grace. We should be mortifying or killing the impulses of flesh everyday….that impulse to put things off or the impulse to watch TV when a better practice would put you closer to your goal of fitness. We have so many little bad practices and they aren’t the ones we should be cultivating for perfect!
Lying is a habit! Procrastination is a habit! Spending is a habit! Does anyone ever wake up and say “I want to be broke” or “I want to be great at lying.” Of course not, but you can’t convince them this is the result they’ve netted for not putting forth good practices.
Practice is simply repeating a performance to acquire a skill. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative practice. Let’s look at the shoe shine guy again. That guy was probably making $100K a year. If I were to guess, I wouldn’t guess he held a Master’s Degree for his profession. He could have if it were possible. He practiced his sales technique. He threw himself wholeheartedly into his deal. He maximized the benefit of service with a smile! He knew how to catch, influence and keep his customer indifferent to the wait time. The bottom line…he was in it to win it. What was it? It was my $20.00 and every $20.00 he could earn in that line of men.