What type of practice produces peak performance? - Barking up the wrong tree
Eric Barker stashed this in Practice
I'm going to have to say, hell weeks, plateaus and stepping away are still the best mechanisms for peak performance.
1. Make it as real as possible.
2. Be active and present, not rote.
3. Continually improve.
4. 10,000 Hours.
I love the cartoon btw!
batman makes everything better
So, the cartoon depicts patience as important to focus.
But Eric's article doesn't really mention the role of patience.
Or is 10,000 hours a proxy for patience?
Cartoon selected because it's Batman. :)
That said, I don't know if patience is the right word. Frankly, I think "obsessed" is at least as applicable here. Patience isn't aggressive enough for my taste. Patience seems like if you hang in there, it'll all work out, like that's the eventual default... and that is *not* the case here. Deep Practice is hard, so hard that it can only be done 3-5 hrs a day, tops. You must be constantly critical of yourself yet still get up and do it again the next day... And the next, and the next. Perhaps "perseverance" is more appropriate than patience because it better reflects the sacrifice inherent in this arduous process.
One really important point Eric made that I want to underscore is that deliberate practice isn't about spending 14 hours per day doing something.
Your brain needs time to recover and grow (myelination!). You can't get to your 10,000 hours in 1,000 days. There is no shortcut.
Chris is absolutely right. The violinists covered in Ericsson's seminal Deliberate Practice study only trained 3-5hrs a day. Most experts in the field will pretty bluntly say if you're consistently doing much more than that it's probably not true Deliberate Practice because the real thing is simply too demanding.
Areas that are very systemic (math, music, chess) may take less than 10k hours if the student has natural ability. Areas that require life experience (novels, poetry) often take more than 10k hours because, along the lines of what Chris said, a 20yr old may be able to do 10k hours of practice in 5 years but you he'll still have the maturity and worldliness of a 25 year old, not the life experience of a 50 year old. 10k hours or not, it would be hard to write an authentic novel about a man looking back on his life and what he's learned when you're 22.
The process of myelination is key. Coyle discuss this extensively in TALENT CODE. And while we're discussing the physiology of it, the other essential thing here is sleep. Sleep is when your brain really encodes what you learn and digs deep those grooves that will be the skill. Naps post-training have been shown to be especially beneficial.
The way I became a good writer is illustrative. I had a wonderful teacher in high school, Berkeley Blatz, who ran the most extensive extra credit system imaginable. Better yet, he kept statistics from year to year, with an all-time leaderboard. Well, once I saw that, I was determined to break the all-time record.
One summer, I set out to write an essay per day. The idea was that I could bank extra credit essays for use during the school year. I suppose it's a bit of a cheat, but it was well within the rules.
Each day, without fail, I would sit down at the computer and write an essay. Sometimes I didn't even know in advance what I'd be writing about. But no matter what else I had to do that day, I wrote my essay. One the springs to mind is an examination of the Persephone myth, and speculating that the long period of winter during her kidnapping might represent a tribal memory of the Ice Age, passed on via the oral tradition.
It was hard, but I kept at it. I broke that record. And to this day, I'm one of the fastest writers I know.
I often give the advice to people who are thinking about blogging that they HAVE TO BLOG EVERY DAY to get good at it.
Your story makes me believe it even more. Thanks, Chris.