Whether you want to be a better athlete, musician, public speaker or almost anything else, one of the keys to success is to practice.

Nine-time New York Marathon winner Grete Waitz once said, “For every finish-line tape a runner breaks, complete with the cheers of the crowd and the clicking of hundreds of cameras, there are the hours of hard and often lonely work that rarely gets talked about.”

We understand that practice is a necessity for greatness, but there are times when it gets tiresome and you feel like giving up.

When you feel like that, here are three reasons to keep going:

It’s less embarrassing when you make a mistake alone.  As someone who regularly speaks in public, I’ve learned the value of practicing before I go out on stage.  I can try stories, ideas and jokes and learn what will work.  I’d rather bomb in my lounge room at home than in front of a few hundred people.

It’s the same for almost any other skill that you’re looking to improve.  Making mistakes when practicing and learning from them can save you from the embarrassment of getting it all wrong in public.

By practicing the fundamentals, you can become more creative.  When I was growing up, I was friends with a guy who wanted to become a professional musician.  He had great talent, but he didn’t rely on that alone.  He would tirelessly practice his scales.  Repetitively training himself in the basic theory of his instrument enabled him to learn how to add flair and creativity when the time came and he went on to become an amazing musician.

Michael Jordan wasn’t a great basketballer just because he was a great natural athlete.  He practiced ferociously, ensured that he had mastered the fundamental skills of his sport and motivated his team-mates to do the same.  This solid foundation gave him the freedom to express himself with more flair as his career progressed.

If you’re not improving, you’re probably regressing.  Pro athletes understand this principle which is why they spend so much time practicing the fundamentals of their sport.  If you want to become a better golfer, don’t watch a professional play a round, watch him practice for two hours before he goes out on the course.

If you don’t use a particular skill for a while, you lose your edge and effectiveness.  By practicing regularly, you stay sharp and on your toes, constantly improving your craft and becoming more proficient.

Famous Polish pianist Jan Paderewski says it well, “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.”

Practice.

It’s rarely glamourous, always hard work and occasionally you feel like quitting.

But I would encourage you to keep going as you’ll reap the benefits in the future.

Can you think of any other reasons to keep practicing?

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