Today I was reminded of an excellent article I read a while back called Secrets of Greatness.  This simple article stuck in the back of my mind for years after reading it and it came into my mind recently after seeing Tiger Woods back out on the golf course after his surgery.

The article concludes that while talent is important, it is not nearly as important as “deliberate practice”.  Deliberate practice is a focused, concentrated effort to improve oneself, rather than simply practicing for the sake of practice (apologies to Allen Iverson).

The article’s most salient point is:

The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.” It’s activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one’s level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

For example: Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don’t get better. Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day – that’s deliberate practice.

As a result of taking 15 minutes each day to sit quietly and think about my day, I’ve noticed an increase in my awareness of my behaviors, patterns, habits and most importantly, my actions.  Rather than just  thinking every once in a while about things I’d like to do more of (volunteer, travel, learn about fixed-income markets), writing in a journal and quiet thinking time has helped keep me honest about where I’m going and where I’m headed.

Thinking about the person I’d like to become has made me realize that if I don’t take action to turn hopes into reality, those hopes will never materialize.  This deliberate thinking process has actually given me the peace of mind to make it easier for me to take action where it previously seemed difficult to do so.

It is an exciting feeling to know that you are learning more about yourself and you can improve your habits and behaviors faster by incorporating quiet thinking and journaling into your everyday life.  This attention to detail is a very useful form of deliberate practice and it has certainly helped me move in a positive direction.  I hope you give it a try.

Thanks for reading.

Read more about practicing introspection.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


Leave a Reply