Wednesday musings, 7/27/16: Purposeful practice

In the book, “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool discuss the most effective ways to become skillful. They argue regardless of whether the skill is chess, math, gymnastics, or golf, the rules that govern expertise are the same, stemming from the basic concept of purposeful practice.

The following characterize purposeful practice:

 It must have a clear and specific goal. If you don’t where you are going, how are you ever going to get there?

It is focused. It requires the elimination of distractions or the ability to tune them out to focus on the task at hand.

It involves feedback.Having a knowledgeable coach or teacher is invaluable if you are trying to improve at a specific skill. If you don’t have access to a coach or teacher, recording yourself and comparing your performance to an expert can provide feedback.

It pushes you out of your comfort zone. Getting better at anything is hard. There are times I would happily have foregone the workout/blog/lecture in favor of doing something easy. Unfortunately, easy doesn't make me better. So play in the realm of uncomfortable regularly and see what happens.