3. Stepping outside your comfort zone:
“We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Like a baby, taking her first steps and falling repeatedly, it is a process of repeated failure and frustrations. So, get out of that complacency and push yourself out of that comfort zone even if it means failing a couple of times before you succeed.
Noel Tichy, professor at the University of Michigan business school and the former chief of General Electric’s famous management development centre at Crotonville, classifies the concept of practice into three zones: the comfort zone, the learning zone, and the panic zone.
The comfort zone- in which we tend to practice all the time, the panic zone – which leaves us scared and uncomfortable and the learning zone – which is always out of our reach, but the only way to make progress.
4. Making time for rest and recovery:
“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
—Homer, The Odyssey
As deliberate practice can be exhausting and can result in burn out, it is important to restrict this practice to just 2-3 hours in a day. Though you may work the whole day, intense practice of any kind needs to be restricted to smaller time periods, as it has to be sustainable in the long run. Adequate sleep and rest are equally important, as the brain is working all the time and cannot work endlessly on focused mode.
5. Taking constant feedback and measurement:
“Feedback turns good into better and better into best.”― Frank Sonnenberg, Listen to Your Conscience: That’s Why You Have One
Practicing something without constantly evaluating yourself is pointless. During deliberate practice, you need to constantly measure your performance metrics to check if there is an improvement or not. Just like how a film actor might go over his acting performance in a movie – frame by frame. This gives him valuable feedback, and helps him figure out how he could improve his performance and what might have held him back from performing better.
6. Engaging a coach or a teacher
“A good teacher always makes you do something a little bit more than you thought that you could do”.
– John B. Goodenough
Though mastering any skill involves a lot of solitary practice, having a specialist coach or a good teacher has been found to be very beneficial. It is very common for most achievers, especially in the field of music or sports, to have a coach. A good teacher can give feedback, point out errors, suggest techniques for improvement, and provide vital motivation.
They help you correct the mistakes which you might be repeating again and again, without knowing it. An experienced coach or a good mentor can see your performance from the outside, identify blind spots and will be able to push you to outperform yourself.