Deliberately Practice Until You Succeed
How deliberate practice will bring you success and joy.
My business is all about ghostwriting at the moment, and one thing I enjoy about one of my clients is the fact they're all about self-improvement. This has given me the opportunity to learn more about my niche and what sort of topics that are most important.
But I'm writing in a specific section of self-improvement. That section being about learning.
Learning styles. Learning techniques. And how to be leveraging those techniques.
So far I've written a half dozen articles. They're all really interesting and I had a lot of fun writing them. But there was one that stood out the most to me. It's talking about deliberate learning or deliberate practice.
What's that all about?
Well to paint a picture, if you've spent any amount of time in the self-improvement world, you'll have heard all kinds of facts. A lot of these facts are major points in some really iconic books.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad had all kinds about the fact your house and car aren't assets, and that how you think about money will determine how you spend it.
The Magic of Thinking Big talks about just that, how thinking big will impact every aspect of your life.
The Secret talks about the law of attraction as a machine that'll give you things if you give enough back.
But one particular fact I want to touch on is about practice and what it takes to be an expert or really good at something. One of the most popularized sayings about practice is:
To be an expert at something, one must practice 10,000 hours on something.
That idea was popularized by the book Outliers, where Malcolm Gladwell explains how various entrepreneurs and people were not conventional thinkers and achieved success in a system that functioned differently than how those people thought.
I haven't personally read the book, but after writing about deliberate practice I likely won't now.
Not because I think it's all a scam or it's false.
It's merely a little misleading.
Instead, if you are to read up on deliberate practice, I'd recommend Peak.
Because one of the authors is the main man behind deliberate practice: Anders Ericsson.
In the book, he talks about the misconceptions and explains exactly what deliberate practice means. He's also devoted his entire life to studying this form of learning and practice.
I don't know about you but I'd probably read from the expert who spent his entire life bringing this topic to the forefront of the learning community and being known for that compared to anyone else.
But how does this technique fit into goal setting?
Isn't this a matter of learning and developing a mindset?
Well yes. Setting goals and achieving them at their core is all about mindset.
While Outliers has some misleading information, it's not nonsense. The motivation and overall mindset aspects are still there.
Going back to the popularized idea, if you are to spend 10,000 hours on something, that would take a lot of mental capacity to do.
Not to mention, those people still reached their goal and it all came down to their attitude. In some cases, it was the fact they spent so much time practicing and growing.
But Peaks expands on that idea. As Ericsson explains, time is definitely a factor, however, there are other steps:
- feedback from yourself or from someone else,
- working with a specific intention or goal in mind at that moment,
- making the task challenging enough so that it's not incredibly difficult, but not easy to achieve effortlessly.
These sorts of elements and many others are what Ericsson outlines in his book amongst others. And these aren't always properly conveyed in other self-improvement books that talk about practice.
But what I'm suggesting is that we take those elements Ericsson explained and adopt them to a goal setting system.
Best of all, it's not all that difficult since setting goals naturally has those elements.
- We typically look for feedback about our progress whether it's from us or someone else. Another term for that is an accountability system.
- We obviously have a goal and some of us break them down to individual tasks. Some say it's a to-do list or merely something we have to do every single day.
- And naturally, the goal is going to be challenging. It wouldn't be a goal if we can effortlessly achieve it.
If those sorts of elements are lacking in your own goal-setting, it might be a good idea to incorporate those ideas into your lifestyle. Make a point every month or so to ask how you're doing. Or have an accountability partner that you can talk to about your progress. And if you really want to be diligent with it, do a short check-up session every week or even every day for a few minutes.
The idea behind deliberate practice isn't to make massive leaps and bounds.
It's still about making small steps little by little. But to keep practicing with intention every single day.
Follow that up with the sort of structure I outlined above and I believe that you can achieve any goal you work towards.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon