Purposeful Practice

How Practice Can Make Perfect

Purposeful Practice - How Practice Can Make Perfect

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FrancoisEtienneDuPlessis

Make sure your practicing hits the mark.

"Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." – Vince Lombardi.

Everyone has goals. Yours might be to become a world-class pitcher, to be the best copywriter in your company, or to become good at performing laparoscopic surgery. We all want to achieve something, but we all have different ideas about how to do it.

Some think that it's all down to talent – those inherent skills that the gifted few are supposedly born with. There are others who believe that it's more about hard graft – practicing relentlessly until you achieve your goals.

But it's probably actually down to a mixture of the two, and practice is a more reliable way of improving your abilities than relying on talent alone. However naturally talented Michael Jordan might be with a basketball, or Warren Buffett as an investor, or Barack Obama as a public speaker, each has practiced hard at their art.

However, poor practice methods are surprisingly common, with some even being harmful. To improve any skill, it's important to practice it in a productive, structured way. This article shows you how to do just that.

What Is Practice?

Practice is "the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal," as defined by author Thomas Sterner. It enables you to progress from learning to doing, turning knowledge into ability.

In his 2016 book, "Peak", psychologist K. Anders Ericsson identified three types of practice. The first is naive practice. This is when you have a general idea of what you want to accomplish, and you repeat an action again and again, trusting that repetition is enough to achieve your goal. Think of a guitarist practicing the pentatonic scale 50 times in succession, for example.

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