Top 5 Tips for Good to GREAT
By: Deb Maes
September 3, 2014
The Difference between good and GREAT is 10,000 hours
Malcon Gladwell in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, repeatedly mentions the ‘10,000 Hour Rule’, based on a study by Anders Ericsson. He shows that success in any field is, to a large extent, due to practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.
It is our biggest mistake to believe success is SOLELY the result of our intelligence, ambition and hard work.
If you want to be great at anything, you have to do the practice. Even Bill Gates met the 10,000 Hour Rule when he gained access to a high school computer in 1968 at the age of 13, and spent 10,000 hours programming on it.
Florida State University psychology professor Anders Ericsson agrees this is one of the keys to success, what he calls “deliberate practice”—a “lifelong period of . . . effort to improve performance in a specific domain.” You can spend decades running a few miles each day or banging on the piano for twenty minutes each morning or speaking a language for a few hours in a class and you might end up ‘Okay’. But if you want to be great, exceptional…a real success, it’s a matter of much more purposeful, focused practice. Even so, you can spend a decade to get those 10,000 hours done.
GREAT = TEN THOUSAND hours of FOCUSED PRACTICE …
added to your smarts, gifts, commitment, determination and hard work.
You have to travel the miles if you want to reach your destination – no way around it.
Dan Pink suggests these 5 Steps to Mastery
Follow these steps—over and over again and you’ll get there quicker:
- Have an objective to improve performance.
“Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time”, according to Ericsson. He reminds us, “People who play tennis once a week for years don’t get any better if they do the same thing each time,”
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Repetition matters. Basketball greats don’t shoot ten free throws at the end of team practice; they shoot five hundred.
- Seek constant, critical feedback.
General praise, “you’re doing great”, doesn’t help you improve at all. Seek specifics. If you don’t know how you’re doing, you won’t know what to improve.
- Focus on what you need to improve.
While many of us work on what we’re already good at, says Ericsson, “those who get better work on their weaknesses.”
- Be prepared for mental and physical exhaustion.
Learning is making new connections in the brain. It’s not a leisurely stroll in the park. It’s working yourself past your previous capacity – stretching that capacity. You should be feeling a mental or physical stretch. This is tiring. That’s why so few people commit to it, but that’s why it works.
Keep Motivating Yourself by Asking the Small Question Everyday
Everyone who has ever achieved knows it doesn’t happen overnight. Ask anyone who’s trained for a marathon, learned a new language, or run a successful business and they will tell you they spend a lot more time slogging through tough tasks and much less enjoying the rewards.
So keep yourself motivated, at the end of each day, ask yourself, “Did I do more? Did I do it well? Did I learn what I committed to learn? Did I complete the challenge I set? Did I make those calls I promised I would? Did I eat those five servings of fruits and vegetables? Did I write those four pages?”.
Remember that what you focus on grows.
Don’t focus on what you didn’t do, because you will only strengthen that.
Look for small measures of improvement.
Reminding yourself that you can’t be a master by day 3, but you will in 3,000 days if you improve each day.
Don’t look for perfect, but before you go to sleep each night, ask yourself the small question:
Was I better today than yesterday?