Rockstars possess interest. But what else does it take to be your best self?
You think Michael Jordan always knew how to fly?
Grit motivates you to practice. With practice comes improved performance. This requires time. However, the quality of time matters. You need to spend “better” time on your chosen task. Improved quality of time leads to improved skill. Eventually, your rate of improvement slows.
At this point, you’re an expert. Experts practice nuance.
How Experts Practice
Experts practice differently from the newbs. They already know the fundamentals extremely well. They focus on deliberately practicing the nuances of their game, craft, field, etc.
1. Set A Stretch Goal
*Focus on a narrow aspect of the overall performance
*Seek out challenges
Don’t know where to start? Look for your Achilles Heel. That’s the problem spot you need to refine.
2. Reach It
*Strive to reach your stretch goal
*Spend time practicing alone
*Find more interest in what you do wrong
Look to your mentors for helpful input and constructive criticism. Utilize the information to continue your evolution.
Does deliberate practice drive skill improvements? Further, does grit enable people to do more practicing?
Angela Duckworth analyzed how spelling bee participants studied and practiced. She looked at how three variables affected the performance of bee participants–pleasure & play, quizzes, and solitary practice. She found deliberate practice predicted advancing further in competition far better than any other kind of preparation. Deliberate practice is more effortful and also significantly less enjoyable.
This leads us into another aspect of practice: flow.
So, what is flow and why does it matter? In psychology, flow is the state of complete concentration which leads to a feeling of spontaneity. How will you know if you feel flow? You might experience an effortless, ecstatic state…like what a perfect lay-up feels like…after hours of training. It may seem obvious now; grit and flow go hand in hand. Gritty people do more deliberate practice, thus experiencing more flow than those who are less gritty.
Deliberate practice is for preparation. Flow is the performance. Be like Mike, and make practice a habit. You might become an expert.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”–Michael J. Jordan.