Editor’s Note on Deliberate Practice. Jason’s article is part of the personal development section of Medium Membership.
I write these little notes to share some of my own enthusiasm for the topic and help people understand how each article fits into the greater scheme of mastering your potential.
The big thing we’re shooting for with these articles is to get at the truth — I’m not trying to sell you a book and neither are the authors.
The concept of Deliberate Practice gets at two core truths.
One, there are no quick fixes — you have to practice. Most people already know that but still hope that a pill, hack, or gadget will magically transform them.
Two, and this is less known, hard work is not sufficient. That’s what the word “Deliberate” is about. You work hard and work smart at the same time. You have to do both.
The academic work on Deliberate Practice has a pejorative (just a fancy word for put down) that I loath: “the experienced non-expert.” This is what happens when you don’t mind the deliberate part of Deliberate practice.
Imagine you start a job, figure out the basics and then just keep doing that job the same way every day. Ten years later, your resume would say “10 years of experience” but your skill level would be the same as when you started.
In the concept of Deliberate Practice, it’s the deliberate part that people miss most often. If we can internalize that part, then we really can achieve the highest levels of success.
One of the most common ways people miss is through multi-tasking. Jason’s article gets into some of the brain science of deliberate practice. Multi-tasking interrupts the myelination process — that’s the physical change we’re hoping to trigger through our practice. So a multi-tasker is the worst example of the experienced non-expert. They are working harder than anyone while explicitly short-circuiting the brain changes that lead to expertise.
The second way to miss deliberate practice is obvious: lack of curiosity. We think we figured things out and don’t care to know if there is another level. I call this the disease of done. Everyone’s so desperate to say that they are done, that the task is complete, that the mission is accomplished. But there is always another level.
So, in Jason’s article, you’re going to learn how to think about the world in a different way. This is the way that top performers think. Yes, celebrate each improvement and then afterward keep keep looking for the next one.
Along the way, if you stumble or find yourself on the path of the experienced non-expert, justexclaim “How fascinating!”
(That will make a lot of sense if you read Jason’s article.)