Mon, May 22, 2017

The Price of Deliberate Practice (or: Why it’s Great to Suck — in Hindsight)

Deliberate practice, the type of practice which is purposeful and systematic, is the best way to improve your performance. You learn and get better at doing things by challenging yourself just enough, so that it’s hard to reach your goal but not so hard that you can’t get there; or so easy that it’s a walk in the park.

Computer games are a great example of deliberate practice in action — as the levels get progressively harder, you get better. The best games continuously monitor your skill and challenge you just enough to make the game hard, but not impossible to play.

The price you always pay by getting better is that you will be embarrassed by your earlier work: When I look back at literally anything I have done — be it managing people or products, writing this very dispatch, presenting on stage… I am continuously embarrassed by my earlier attempts and versions. Sometimes so much so that I keep asking myself “How could you?”.

And you know what: It’s okay. Actually, it’s much better than okay — it’s great. As I can see the progress I made (and continue to make). Plus it anchors me in the firm understanding that whatever I do today, I can — with enough deliberate practice — do (even) better tomorrow.

With that being said: Which skill do you want to hone?

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