Deliberate Practice: How to Use it to Your Advantage

There’s been much in the news regarding “deliberate practice”. In theory, 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is necessary and sufficient to gain mastery. This mastery could be playing chess, playing the piano, a sport, or becoming an expert on a topic. However, there is a big difference between deliberate practice and the practice most people engage in.

Deliberate practice could be the missing link in your attempts to achieve mastery in any endeavor. Be warned that deliberate practice isn’t easy.

Use these key actions to discover the power of deliberate practice:

1. Have a set schedule. Make your practice a priority. Whether your interest is mastering the violin or learning how to dominate the stock market, have a schedule that you are willing to keep.

* Avoid the trap of only practicing when you have free time. Make time.

2. Remove all distractions. Imagine you’re strumming your prized banjo while watching your favorite movie from the couch. You might be pretty pleased with yourself, but contrast that with locking yourself in the spare bedroom and focusing 100% on improving your banjo-playing technique.

* A key component of deliberate practice is 100% focus. The hours you accumulate must be of high quality.

3. Choose the most effective action. If you’re great at dribbling a basketball, you probably enjoy furthering your skills in that area. However, it might be your 3-point shot that’s really holding you back. It’s human nature to avoid activities we don’t do well. Find the optimal activity and leave your emotions out of it.

4. Have a goal for each practice session. While studying your chess books for an hour is good, it’s much more effective to have a goal for your study session.

* In what areas do you need the most work?
* What are you trying to learn?
* What is the best way to accomplish that learning objective?
* How does this fit into your mastery in the long term?

5. Feedback is required. If you’re a budding writer, you can’t just practice your writing each day. You need a qualified person to review your writing and provide feedback. A baseball player can practice alone in a batting cage, but some endeavors require a coach, teacher, or mentor for the best results.

6. Understand that all deliberate practice is demanding. Whether your practice is physical, mental, or both, it’s work. The focus required for deliberate practice can be exhausting.
* The amount of deliberate practice that you can accomplish in a day is limited. The studies suggest that 4-5 hours is about the limit. It’s also important to break the time up into multiple sessions.

7. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that musicians in training programs sleep more than those who are not actively training. Experts believe that greater levels of concentration require more rest and recovery. Be sure to focus and get your rest. The experts recommend naps, too.

8. Realize there are limits. If you’re 50 years old or under 5-feet tall, there’s no amount of practice that will permit you to play professional basketball. You can do far more than you realize, but there are limits in life. It’s not possible to become an expert in everything.

Are you ready to raise your expertise to the next level? Deliberate practice is the fastest way to mastering any field. Practice with a goal and without distractions. Ensure you have the ability to measure your results. Set aside a time to practice or learn on a regular basis. Deliberate practice is hard work, but the results are well worth it.

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