Everyone has heard the old adage, "practise makes perfect." Practice isn't just for building skills, though. It's also for maintaining the ones you've already built. Photo by Tom Hart.
As advice site The Art of Manliness explains, the skills you have already built can fade over time. Through disuse and neglect, your brain can start to forget even the most well-practised skills if you go a long period of time without using them. It doesn't happen overnight, but practising a little bit every once in a while can stave off the erosion of useful skills:
We often feel like we can leave parts of ourselves dormant, and they will just stay as they are -- waiting for us to start developing them again. But the truth is that all the components of our physical and mental make-up operate by the "use it or lose it" principle. All of life involves swimming against the current of deterioration -- if you're not constantly putting in the effort to advance, you're getting swept back.
Of course, we can only choose so many skills to practice, so it may be a valid choice to let a particular skill die off. As much as I enjoyed the game as a kid, my skills playing Jet Force Gemini are not very practical to my adult life. However, if you want to keep your ability to play that instrument, do that workout or speak that language, you should probably keep practising even when you don't need to.
The 7 Key Mindset Changes for Shifting from Passive Idleness to Active Readiness [The Art of Manliness]