What Are You Practicing In Life?

 By Nina Atwood

Ever hear the expression “practice makes perfect?” Well, it’s not true. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Champion athletes often use visualization processes in which they see themselves making the perfect shot or scoring the touchdown. They visualize themselves practicing perfectly, feel the success of the moment, and thus actually carve out neural pathways for success. That makes it much easier when in the game to re-enact what was perfectly practiced mentally.

Sometimes people ask “why does it matter if I do something today that’s not in my best interest long-term, as long as it feels good and doesn’t hurt anyone?” The answer is that life isn’t a dress rehearsal. Whatever is chosen and acted upon today is your life. The choices that we make often lead to repetitive behavior; i.e., practice. If the choice of today isn’t what you want in the long run in your life, look out. You may be reinforcing what you don’t want and thus attracting more of what you don’t want.

Repetitive practice makes permanent. Whatever we rehearse over and over mentally or physically creates neural pathways in the brain, making the behavior permanent. That’s why it is important to question poor choices, to challenge ourselves to look at it as vitally important, not just a whim that doesn’t matter. In dating, people often make poor choices of partners (i.e., people who don’t love you, people who only want to use you for sex, people who are incapable of a commitment, addicts, etc.) and then wonder why they don’t feel good about themselves. That’s because you can’t escape the reality that you’re compromising your self-esteem and your values. That registers in your mind and heart and leaves a negative imprint that you are bound to feel as long as you aren’t numbing yourself with your own addictions.

The really good news is that new practice, new behavior, new visualizations create new pathways that predominate over the old ones. By practicing what you really want, you make it possible for a whole new life to unfold. You can decide in a heartbeat to live your life newly, to make new choices that are in your hightest and greatest good only, and through practicing both mentally and behaviorally, your life can dramatically change for the better. Our minds are our most powerful tool – we alone of all species have the ability to reflect on our lives and re-decide.

What are you practicing in life? Is it what you really want? If not, change it! Choose again, re-decide, set up a new kind of practice. Watch the transformation.


Entry Filed under: Personal Growth

1 Comment

  • 1. Cyndi  |  June 30th, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Subject: Help! Frog kissing – while looking for your prince or princess – and how do you keep your moral up during this process….

    Dear Nina,
    Perhaps it’s because I live in NY? Perhaps it is because I am an artist? Perhaps it is a sign of the times? But wow…my dates and also most of my non date friends are so very jaded on relationships and promiscuous (one 55 year old female friend likes to brag how she isn’t happy unless she is sleeping with 3 men at a time.) They seem to think that this concept of finding a real relationship is a fools dream (most of them are divorced) and often I find myself ridiculed. They sigh and shake their heads telling me “Why is it so important to be in a relationship? Live in the moment! You should be out “having fun.”

    But honestly, one night stands and hooking up with multiple partners sounds like a recipe for collecting STD’s…and feeling used… and that does not sound like “Fun” to me.” Problem is that some days I feel like the only optimist left in the world.

    Many of the dates I go out with, inform before dinner is through “Look I don’t want a relationship, I just want to have fun!” Just last month I was told that “Women who tell me they only have sex with guys who are boyfriends just make me shut down, it’s such a turn off.”

    Wow! Glad to have turned you off…next!

    I am happy I know the questions to ask to find this out so early in the game, but it’s all so discouraging…I need to find both dates and friends whose priorities are based in real intamcy…not instant gratification….but where?

    I go to a church, where the clergy is just wonderful! However, the singles I meet there are simply not grounded (Between apartments, divorced and still living with the x-wife, without a job….on anti-depressants…on disability…etc). I am glad these well meaning souls have a place to go where they feel loved and accepted, as they start making better choices in life, but they are not my peers. I have a job that pays well, a nice apartment, and my art work is currently getting a lot of notice!

    I’ve started dating on-line, this way I feel I can target people open to a real relationships and I think this will help, clearly I am finding them out there….I have been doing this for 4 months, just haven’t clicked with anyone I’ve met as of yet.

    Okay, I know meeting a prince (or princess for the men out there) means kissing some frogs along the way…..it ain’t gonna work out, until you find the one it works out with….but it does get discouraging, what can a gal do to keep her hopes and moral up during the frog kissing process?

    Thanks for all your amazing blog essays!
    CYNDI (age 42)


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