#93 The Science of Being Awesome

A Quick Look at Purposeful + Deliberate Practice

In our last +1 we talked about Anders Ericsson and his research on the science of greatness. The most exciting discovery? The fact that we ALL have the gift of greatness: Adaptability.

We can all incrementally Optimize our minds and bodies to perform in exceptional ways. The best among us have simply most fully utilized this potential.

In today’s +1, we’re going to take a quick look at HOW they go about doing that.

Anders calls it “purposeful” or “deliberate practice.”

First, here’s what WON’T do the trick. We can’t engage in what Anders calls “naive practice” and expect to get better. Simply doing something over and over again will NOT make you better.

A lot of people think that simply having more experience at something makes you better. It doesn’t.

If you want to get better, you need to be purposeful about it. Anders gives us some very specific parameters to integrate into our practice. Here they are:

1. We need to have well-defined goals for our practice. (Do you?)

2. We need to be FOCUSED during our practice sessions. (Can you imagine your favorite performer kinda-sorta going thru the motions of their practice? Impossible. THEY ARE SUPER FOCUSED! Are you?)

3. We need feedback on how we’re doing. If you miss a note practicing that song, you know it. That immediate feedback helps you Optimize. (You have it?)

4. We need to exit our comfort zone. As we discussed in our +1 on Your Infinite Potential (And Where to Find It), you need to leave your comfort zone if you want to get better. This is absolutely essential. You don’t need to go that far out of it, but you need to move out. (Do you?)

As Anders says: “So here we have purposeful practice in a nutshell: Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress. Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation.”

If you add work with a teacher or coach within a very rigorous domain like chess or tennis or music you can get to the “gold standard”: deliberate practice.

For now: How’s YOUR practice?

How can you +1 it?

(Remember: Your gift looks best in overalls. Get to work!)

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