Pursue what you love
Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
Do the hardest work first
We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain.
Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else.
That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break.
Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity.
The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses
The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments.
Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
Take regular renewal breaks
Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning.
It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them,
so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.
It takes several hours of daily practice to achieve excellence, so prioritize
I have practiced tennis deliberately over the years, but never for the several hours a day required to achieve a truly high level of excellence.
What’s changed is that I don’t berate myself any longer for falling short. I know exactly what it would take to get to that level.
I’ve got too many other higher priorities to give tennis that attention right now. But I find it incredibly exciting to know that I’m still capable of getting far better at tennis —
or at anything else — and so are you.
Here are the recent books on this subject:
- Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin. My personal favorite.
- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- The Genius in All of Us by David Schenk.
- Bounce by Mathew Syed