Every once in a while you see someone so good at what they do, you just wish that you could be as good as them. You wish you could excel at what you do. Then what is stopping you? Many give it a name like talent or natural but what is the reality that is separating you from being good or great at something.
“The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It’s not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it’s deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft.” ― David Brooks
A footballer scoring a ball from the middle of the ground, it might seem like magic or easy to call it pure talent. The truth is, it’s not magic. None of the great people or people who are good at something is because of the bare talent. To be good or great at something, always there is a key role of deliberate practice. This is what determines if you stay bad or improve to be good or become great at. The interesting part is even after knowing the answer, what it takes to excel at something, yet most of us get stuck and never unleash the true potential that is within us. Why? Because deliberate practice is not easy. Especially at this time when we are living in a world of distraction.
What is deliberate practice?
You can mindlessly repeat the activity again and again for many hours but gain nothing rather harm yourself like watching YouTube or scrolling through social media. Such activities give you a high dopamine effect but in the long term ruins your true potential. It is no more different than drugs if used without a meaningful purpose. On the other hand, deliberate practice is repeating the same activity time and again to get better at it but with full focus and purpose. In this kind of practice, one is completely observed in the task, improving oneself, realizing own mistakes, and finding ways to overcome.
You want to be good at basketball or you want to study every day for 2 hours but you can’t wait to finish those practice sessions so you could do something else. During all practice sessions, you are thinking about other stuff then you are hardly going to make any progress. Repeating every day does help but unless you are fully present at your task the chances of getting better are very narrow. It’s like you are crossing an ocean in a boat with a hole. Imagine how far could you go? Therefore it is more important to try to practice more deliberate rather than just practice it every day.
“I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well. More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans but also to feel satisfied with myself. It is my conviction that there are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.” ― Cristiano Ronaldo
Even though the practice require our physical presence and force but the main execution is always taking place inside our brain. Our brain is taking input, translating it, and giving the output. So, before putting the physical work we must take care of our internal dialogue or the execution that our brain is doing. From Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps to the other greatest people, if you listen to them, they have always pointed out how the optimal performance is not only dependent on the body but the mind as well. Hence as you already know, deliberate practice is about focus and feedback which means your mind plays most of the role. This is good news, why? Because we can trick our minds.
Seven Steps (HABITS) to Trick Your Brain to Enjoy Practicing Deep & Effortlessly.
A visualization is a great tool for everyone to start. It is easy and everyone can do it but do not underestimate its power. Every great athlete, writer, the director uses this tool and has achieved greatness in their field. For the same reason, you should start with visualization. Your brain does not understand the difference between reality and imagination, this you should take on your advantage. Separate sometime in the morning or before you sleep and visualize yourself practicing what you want to be good at. Try to visualize in clarity and imagine yourself completely observed, focused on that task. Also, imagine yourself enjoying and smiling in those sessions. This will greatly help your brain to re-frame the practice session as something enjoyably rather than boring.
The popularity of meditation has skyrocket not for fashion but for its actual benefits. It is real and it is for everyone. Mindful meditation is a hard-core scientific built strategy with which you can unlock the full potential of your brain. It helps you to be at present, increase your focusing and observing ability which is crucial for deliberate practice. Henceforth, try to meditate even for 5 minutes. The best way you can practice mindful mediation is by felling your senses while closing your eyes. It could be a breath or feeling your skin or even water and pouring your all attention to the senses. If you want to know more about Mindful Meditation, you can watch the Ted Talk below.
Develop a dopamine tolerance
The Internet has not revolutionized the whole world but our dopamine system as well. Today the internet is everywhere and with internet notification, games, social media, youtube, and blogs never leave you alone. This has made our brain work on dopamine all the time which seems to be not a problem but in long run, you are losing the tolerance ability. That is the reason you find it hard to study for an hour or learn new things whereas you easily spend hours and hours on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Imagine if you could put those hours into your practice what would you become? Therefore, try to avoid such dopamine hit all the time so you could build dopamine tolerance. What this does is, it will lower your stimuli and eventually the brain will be tricked to get dopamine even from your practice session.
Changing the narrative
If a person constantly thinks about not being good enough then in brain neural path will be created regarding his ability that will leave this person with perception and belief of lack and limitation. Contrary if a person constantly focuses on being able to learn anything, through his thoughts and feeling states, there will be neural pathways about the possibility and those will become dominant in the mind. Every thought and feeling you have to strengthen the neural pathways you have to develop which in turn dictates what you believe to be true. So, always try to give the narrative that servers you. Like practice makes a man perfect. Or, I love practicing because it helps to create my best version or anything that fits you.
Clear Out Distraction
During your practice time trying to clear out distractions like not bringing you’re mobile in the gym if you are trying to build a good body is a way to go. Less distraction means more focus. By clearing out distraction not only mobile but if you are at your room studying, hang Do Not Disturb sign in your door so that no one will knock. Many times you are just starting to get focused and same time sometimes knocks the door or you hear the notification then your focus is gone. Think of things according to your circumstance and try to clear them out during the time of your practice session.
Take a refreshment break
According to neuroscience, the human brain is able to focus up to two hours, however, it might not be the same case of every one. Therefore, try to notice your focus time span. Once you give your focus to the task, take a break for some minutes. These breaks allow you to get refresh and come with a fresh mind again. In this way, you can start to focus again. Taking a break is very important for deliberate practice.
Asks for feedback
Feedback is necessary. Unless you are asking and getting feedback how will you be able to track if you are progressing or not. Asking feedback gives you room for improvement. It is always much valid when others give you feedback so there is no bias. Ask your teammates or if you are studying ask your friends to question you and answer them. Repeat that feedback loop every week that way you can work on weakness and overcome it. Any practice you want to impose always follows with feedback.
Try it for yourself and unlock the full potential. You are more than what you think you are. If this article helped you or you enjoy reading it please subscribe.
BE KIND, BE YOU. YOU ARE AWESOME!