An overview of one of the best books about the mental model of Deliberate Practice. If you want to become a better reader and thinker, this is a must read.
I think you can guess who must have said this. The confidence and attitude oozing out of this sentence says that it could be none other than the greatest pugilist that the world has ever seen in the history of boxing – Muhammad Ali.
Ali began training at the age of 12 and won the world championship when he was 22 years old. A child prodigy, born with a gift for throwing lightning fast punches. But was he really born wearing boxing gloves and a knack for knocking people out? Of course not.
Multiple researches have established that talent is determined far less by our genes and far more by our actions: specifically the combination of intensive practice and motivation that produces brain growth.
Ali earned his talent by sweating out countless hours, practicing each and every move, working on his stamina and training his mind. He probably raked in more than ten thousand hours of practice much before he was 22.
The rule of ‘ten thousand hours’, a scientific finding, says that all world-class experts in every field have spent a minimum of ten thousand hours intensively practicing their craft. That’s how a talent is built. This 10,000 hour heuristics was made popular by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers.
So, does it mean anybody who spends ten thousand hours doing something will become a world class expert in that activity? Of course not. There is more to the rule than the number 10,000. It’s Deliberate Practice which holds the key to developing expert level skills.
Deliberate Practice is defined as the form of learning which fuses the notion of attentive repetition with the willingness to operate on the edge of your ability, aiming for targets that are just out of reach. That’s what Muhammad Ali meant when he said – “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel the pain…”
The idea is that development of skill is nothing but brain development. With quality practice, brain builds new and stronger neural pathways that result in dexterity in the skill.
Most of the professional sports people and performers have access to cutting edge techniques for harnessing Deliberate Practice, but majority of us don’t really have that luxury. In fact, how many of us really want to competeand perform at the world class expert level? I guess not many.
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