From Good to Great: How Deliberate Practice and Persistence Can Take You to the Next Level

Dec 19, 2022

Many so-called experts tell you the key to success is hard work. These people tend to work hard themselves, but their advice rarely works for others because it's often based on luck or privilege. So don't feel bad if you've tried "hard work" and failed. There's nothing wrong with being average—it can be a good thing! But if you want to excel at something, then you have to be willing to go above and beyond what other people do in that field. Suppose you want to be a great musician or athlete or politician, or entrepreneur. In that case, there is no substitute for deliberate practice: doing the same thing over and over again until your brain turns into mush from boredom—but also knows every nuance of what it does well enough that it can repeat those actions flawlessly forevermore without having to think about them anymore because they've become automatic functions of your body-mind instead of conscious thought processes that took place within your mind alone—and not just once every few days but every day for weeks months years decades decades decades decades+ as long as it takes until either death intervenes first (for mortals) or there is no longer any room left within yourself for improvement possible whatsoever due.

You don’t have to be a virtuoso.

You don’t have to be a virtuoso. You don’t even have to be the best at anything. If you want to get better at something—whether it's learning how to play the guitar, developing your artistic abilities or speaking a new language—you'll likely have more success if you aim for just being good enough than aiming for perfection. That's because when it comes to improving skills and knowledge, there are many factors outside our control: we can't choose what type of talent we possess or which opportunities present themselves in our lives, but one thing we can control is whether we make use of those opportunities when they do arise.

Persistence pays off more than luck does

There Is no magic formula for success.

The truth is a success is not a formula. Success isn't something you can get in one shot. It's not a destination or goal you reach once and then become successful forever. Success is a journey that never ends because if it did, we would have to redefine what "success" means -- because there would be nothing left to achieve!

Success isn't something that happens overnight; it's a result of consistent work over time. It's an event that unfolds gradually through an accumulation of small steps taken every day over months or even years (sometimes decades). It's not something you do once and never need to repeat; it requires ongoing practice and persistence for the benefits from your efforts to compound over time until they reach fruition at some point down the road (or, more likely several points along the road).

It's all about the fundamentals.

The first thing you need to know about deliberate practice is that it's all about the fundamentals.

The second thing you need to know is that no matter how good at something you are, there will always be someone better than you. If they're not better than you, then they're at least doing things differently from how you do them.

The third thing, which I'll get into in a minute, is that it's not about being perfect or even great—it's about getting better and staying focused on making incremental improvements over time.

Deliberate practice is different from hard work.

More than hard work is required. If you're anything like me, you know this to be true. I've seen many athletes and artists who got good at what they do through hard work alone and then plateaued because that's all they had going for them. Hard work is important, but more is needed.

The key to advancing your skills—in any pursuit—is deliberate practice: focused and intense practice that goes beyond what you normally do in your free time or day-to-day activities toward honing one specific skill or area of expertise. It's about setting specific goals for yourself and working on them over time until they become a reality (or maybe just closer to reality).

Don’t spend too much time on theory

Don’t spend too much time on theory.

The theory is important, but it is different from practice. You can learn from books, videos and other sources just as well as from a coach or mentor. It will be easier to make progress with an understanding of what you are doing and why, so you must learn the fundamentals before embarking on your journey towards excellence in any area of life. The more clearly you understand the principles behind deliberate practice, the more likely you will avoid mistakes that could derail your efforts altogether.

Pressure can be good for you.

When you feel the pressure of a deadline, it can be tempting to give up. But don't! Pressure can push you to do your best work, so long as you can manage it well.

When facing a challenge or important task, try setting goals for yourself based on what would be considered "good enough". With these goals in place, put pressure on yourself by setting deadlines and telling others about them—it will make it harder for you to procrastinate or settle for less than what's expected of you. This can also help motivate others around you who may not know how much time they have left before something has been completed (and thus might be more likely to help out).

In short: don't let fear keep you from reaching your goals! The best way out of fear is through courage; take risks and learn how far they'll take us.

If you want to master your craft, it has to be your job.

If you want to master your craft, it has to be your job. There's no other way around it.

Practicing the fundamentals is important, but if you want to get good at something, you must do it a lot. You have to practice until it becomes second nature.

If the only thing that matters is how long you've been doing something and not whether or not you're improving at all, then we will never improve as artists or athletes or scientists or whatever else we pursue in our lives.

If you want to get good at something, then you have to do that thing so many times that other people think you are nuts, and then some more.

I'm sure you've heard that practice makes perfect, but what does it mean to practice something? It means to do the thing over and over again until it becomes second nature.

It's not enough to just move your body through the motions or memorize a list of steps; you have to set up conditions so that each repetition of your action is as close to perfect as possible. You want every repetition of an activity done with intentionality and attention to detail.

For this type of training ("deliberate practice") to work, you have to put yourself in situations where things are difficult enough that failure is inevitable at first—but not so hard that success isn't possible with persistence (and maybe some extra help).


So, there you have it. Successful people don’t all work like machines, but they do have one thing in common: they’re obsessed with getting better at what they do. And that means that if you want to be successful, you should be too! Don’t worry about how long it takes or whether it seems like a lot of hard work—deliberate practice is just how things get done properly.

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