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Accuracy vs. Precision: Finding Balance In Life

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Music has healing power and is a fundamental part of my life, so I like to pick a “soundtrack” for every post I write. You are welcome to tune in with it and me 🙂

The other day, I realized that accuracy and precision aren’t synonymous.

This might seem irrelevant in daily life, but things started to get pretty interesting when I dug into the meaning of both terms:

  • Accuracy refers to how close a measured value is to the target value.
  • Precision refers to how consistent or reproducible is a set of measurements.

In other words, accuracy is about being aligned with your long-term goals, while precision is about being consistent regarding a specific task or objective related to those goals.

Understanding the differences between both terms will ensure that you are being precise when needed, and consistent when appropriate.

To simplify this, I’ll guide you through my journey trying to find a balance between accuracy and precision in my running training. Let’s go!

My Hamstring Injury: A Painful Example Of High Precision And Low Accuracy

When I started to run, I was mainly focused on pushing my limits by running further and faster.

One of the consequences was injuring my hamstring one month before a 54 KM race. The reason was probably muscle overuse plus lousy biomechanics.

Also, I wasn’t giving myself enough time to recover between sessions. My top priority was “being as consistent as my body can take,” which led me to run almost daily, accounting for 60-80 kilometers per week.

The achiever inside me was proud until my hamstring began to hurt badly, even when walking.

I got ten points for precision (consistency), but zero for accuracy (strategy).

This experience taught me that precision is not necessarily an indicator of progress. It only shows sustained repetition. Therefore, it is about reproducibility rather than improvement.

Thou shalt be Adaptable

I think we sometimes focus too much on consistency and forget to check in with ourselves, just to confirm we are actually making progress.

We tend to believe that success implies sticking to a rigid master plan to rule them all. Indeed, having a routine is a positive indicator of self-discipline, but doing the same over and over again will only produce the same results over and over again.

Continuous improvement requires being flexible and introducing adjustments when needed. Initially, these changes may result in less precision but can lead to greater accuracy (better results) in the long run.

On the contrary, being too rigid may prevent us from exposing ourselves to new experiences, which is key to acquiring valuable knowledge and skills.

How To Choose Between Accuracy And Precision?

Both accuracy and precision are essential in life, but one can be more useful than the other depending on the situation.

For example, if we’re talking about a fixed plan that shouldn’t come with significant changes over time, it may be a chance for you to exercise precision through consistency.

A good example is your loan payment. You want to remain constant about that.

In other cases, being adaptable may be more important for continuous improvement.

For instance, as a runner, I knew from the beginning that I was setting the bar for long-distance events. Still, I ran a 10K race first; then, a 21K race followed by 25K and, finally, 54K.

The training plan was different each time, and even my nutrition changed. It was all about being flexible to achieve accuracy.

The good news is apps powered by AI make project planning and adjustments quick and effortless. This means you can easily adapt to unexpected situations while still staying on track with your goals. I highly recommend checking out Notion AI:

Personal Growth Is A Mix Of Both Accuracy And Precision

Life has many controllables, but we can rarely anticipate every single outcome. Thus, we must be accurate and precise to sort obstacles on the way.

Having an open mind and being willing to try new things can reveal unexpected paths to better results. Meanwhile, being consistent once we have found a foolproof method will help us stay aligned with our goals.

What about you? Is there any situation in your life that requires you to be more adaptable? Or maybe it’s time to be more consistent to reach your highest potential.


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