Practice Makes Perfect

Thermal image of house inspection.
The Snell Group

Practice makes perfect! This is an old saying that we have heard for a long time. A lot of us just repeat it without really taking it to heart. After all, it was something my grandfather used to say when I complained about casting drills for fishing. I would have to Stand 30 ft from a bucket and cast a fishing line with a small weight into it until I could do it 25 times without missing. I knew how to use a fishing pole (I was all of 5 years old) why did I need to do this boring drill? The following week we went trout fishing in Spearfish Canyon, little boys dream to spend the day fishing with grandpa. After losing most of the tackle that I had in my little box, snagging the brush on the sides of the small stream that was all of 18 inches wide and only catching 1 rainbow trout. I realized why grandpa had me cast into that bucket over and over. He not only caught his limit of trout but had not lost a single piece of his gear. As his cast would always hit right where he wanted it. Not upon the bank in the bushes to get snagged up and lost.

I know it is a cute story, but the point is I told grandpa that I had been practicing just like he told me to. The results proved otherwise. This happens in our world of PdM thermography as well. As an instructor, we can teach the basics in the training room. The instructors give us the tools and show us the basic skills needed to be successful. We even demonstrate that skill as part of the testing for the class, we pass, we say I’ve got this. Then 3 months later when we are asked to complete a task using the skill, we learned three months ago, we struggle with the very basic operating of the simple components of the camera. Why? You may ask because we were too busy to practice? Too arrogant for simple camera drills? Too lazy? Have better things to do than waste time with practice?

It takes a lot of self-reflection to admit we can be quite lazy, arrogant, too confident, or good at procrastinating.

During the course of the class, I would recommend that the new thermographer spend 1 hour a week practicing the skills they had just learned. It is a new skill set and if you don’t use it repeatably you will lose that new skill. If your supervisor, manager, or company cannot give you 1 hour a week to develop your new skill then the training is wasted. Proficiency is never gained, and the program will fail. Just because you may not have routes yet or a program that is officially in place, you have received the training and introduced to the basic skills. You need the time to keep those skills and to improve them. Use your initiative to create that time, take that time needed. When the routes are ready and the program is ready to roll out, you will be ready to apply those skills in an effective manner.

Practice makes perfect!

Granted there is no such thing as being perfect, there is always room to improve. But that movement towards perfection is the thing, always move forward.

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