Tag Archive for 'Deliberate Practice'

Minutes make a difference

If you weren’t sure if practicing makes a difference, here is an interesting chart showing that minutes make a difference.

Minutes-hours-in-a-day-chart

Of course if you are going to practice, you need to use Deliberate Practice techniques to make sure you are improving while you are practicing.

Practice does NOT make perfect – Practice makes permanent.

Only perfect practice makes perfect

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There is no such thing as talent

Many business people want “success” to be more ‘cerebral and complex’… When it’s not.

Just keep thinking about how you achieved at a sport and developed mastery – without clarity and concentration of focus, it’s IMPOSSIBLE.

Everyone wants to think champions are “born” and that talent is a god-given gift. It’s not. It’s pure hard work and execution of the basics. “Pure talent” like Michelangelo and Da Vinci are so rare that over the CENTURIES there are only a handful of such examples.

All the other “great masters” spent the same 10,000+ hours learning their craft – MOST of them dying destitute BECAUSE they acquired mastery too late…

On one hand it’s sobering and on the other it means greatness is within us all – IF WE WANT IT.

I see this manifest itself all the time, on the squash court and in business.

People want to win in squash and get more leads, projects, contracts in business, but most are not willing to do what it takes to achieve “game excellence”.

Everyone can have an “excellent game” when everything flows and the stars in the universe line up, but “game excellence” is the ability to do it consistently, over and over again.

Game excellence is acquired with deliberate practice.

If only more people would just give up on the self-perpetuating myth and realise the reality… You need to INVEST in yourself to get the PAYOFF.

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Take 1 step back to take 2 steps forward

Goal Setting, Achieving Goals, Set Goals

Take 1 Step Back To Take 2 Steps Forward

I often tell people it’s wise to “take 1 step back to take 2 steps forward”, but it’s rare those who actually follow through. The reason is that the brain operates with what academics call “positive intent“. The brain’s desire to please itself here and now rather than later on. It’s a complex psychological force that is much more powerful and persuasive than you might think.

In squash (or tennis) for example, during a long rally, the brain will feel the fatigue and will attempt to end the point prematurely to get some rest (instant gratification) rather than play out the rally and win the point (delayed reward). It is such a powerful force that it prevents otherwise skillful players from reaching the top of the rankings.

Overcoming this force is much easier said than done.

In business it’s not all that different. Going for the quick sale rather than the long-term market share building initiatives plagues most small businesses.

So what can you do about it?

First, recognise that a change or improvement is necessary.

Second, identify what needs to change and then commit to changing it when it’s most convenient (after a tournament is preferable to doing it just before…)

Third, accept that at first, the 1 step back means you’ll lose more points before you start to win. If you’re not willing to go through that, don’t bother.

“Lose now to win later.”

Again, easier said than done, but well worth the investment and eventual rewards.

BUT and there usually is a but…

But, when you do take the 1 step back, you have to follow through to take the 2 steps forward otherwise you only end up where you were (1 back, 1 forward = zero improvement) with a lot of wasted time and effort.

Therein lies the rub. You either commit or don’t even start.

My recommendation is  you make the investment during your “off season”, in-between tournaments. Give yourself as much time as possible because often, the change will take longer than anticipated.

Just remember that most athletes are not willing to do this, so when you do commit, the rewards will be there for you. Once you’ve had this much needed breakthrough, you’ll be at a whole new level, beyond your current peers.

That’s why you want to do this – to excel and become the best you can become.

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Deliberate Practice

If you’re serious about improving at your sport (mine’s squash) you need to start practicing and training deliberately. Deliberate practice is a concept that you’ll hear a lot more about in the next few weeks and months. Anders Ericsson, an expert in Expertise and Expert Performance is the world’s penultimate specialist in this field of research. You can find the reference to this book on my Linked In Profile, look at Marc Dussault’s Reading List on my profile page – it’s on the right-hand side of the page, below the fold, which means you’ll need to scroll down to see it.

Let’s get back to deliberate practice… Simply put, it means having a SPECIFIC outcome and focus WHILE you practice. Having a deliberate intent and focus is essential for on-going improvement that I call the 1 percent improvement doctrine.

For today, just make a list of what you’re focusing on.

For your information, right now I am focusing on NOT making any unforced errors. That means I only go for the kill shot winner WHEN it is in my strike zone and I can feel I have a 90+% chance of hitting the perfect winner. If the ball is not in my ‘kill zone’, I place it strategically to keep my opponent running, off balance and force HIM to make the ERROR.

That is my deliberate practice outcome.

HOW I am doing that right now is explained in my previous post.

You can now start to see how a champion goes about practicing and training.

Share with me your lessons, victories and defeats by posting comments on this blog. I am interested even if it’s another sport!

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