Deliberate Practice: the road to getting better

Too often, when we are complimenting a work of artistry, we say the person who produced it has “talent.” But such a comment — without our meaning it to be — is dismissive rather than complimentary.

What it dismisses is the amount of time and hard work that has gone into producing the artistry.

It discounts the “deliberate practice” that has gone into developing the talent that a person has. Shane Parrish in his FarnhamStreet.com blog delves deeply into the concept of deliberate practice in a long article about what it takes to “get better” at doing something.

Deliberate practice is what turns amateurs into professionals. Across every field, deliberate practice is what creates top performers and what they use to stay at the top of their game. It’s absolutely essential for expert performance.

As a general concept, “practice” means preparing. It’s the act of repeatedly performing certain activities with the intention of improving a specific associated skill. We rehearse what to do in low-pressure situations so we’ll be better when we use a skill in situations where something is actually at stake, such as in a competition or in the workplace. Although this definition may seem obvious, it’s crucial to distinguish between doing something and practicing it, because they’re not always synonymous. Source: The Ultimate Deliberate Practice Guide: How to Be the Best

What Parrish is writing about is getting better at any activity — not just ones we consider “artistic.”

If you want to get better at doing something, this article is definitely worth the time.

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About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall, (JPROF.com) a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self-publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker, and beekeeper -- among other things. Subscribe to his weekly newsletter at http://www.jprof.com .
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