Deliberate practice beats talent any day of the week so no more bullshit excuses of why you can’t do this or that. All you need to do is copying what every master (or expert) is doing; using deliberate practice to become a master in your field too.
Passivity leads to conformity…
From our early childhood we are taught not to stand out, not to disobey authority and not to question our parents or teachers. Everything shall be organised in a certain way and be structured and performed in the same manner as yesterday or actually as it has always been done.
Schools were implemented to train us to learn and in particular to adapt for work in factories etc. Structure, order and obedience were of utmost importance. We were basically trained to be like everyone else because that would make us easier to control. Conform to your teachers, society and then to your bosses and you would have a job to go to for life.
Well, things have changed but we are still being brought up and taught in the same manner! If we stand out, we are punished, if we challenge authority we might be reprimanded by “the system”. Today’s work places don’t look the same and if we don’t start to think and behave more like unique individuals, we are unlikely to live fulfilling lives. If we take a passive approach to life and do what everyone else around us are doing, we have conformed.
Living in conformity means that we do what everyone else is doing and that is rarely a recipe for success (more likely the opposite). If you continue to do what you have always done, you will get the result you have always gotten! Our bodies love homeostasis so if there is an easier way to get what we want with even less work put in, we tend to take that route! This makes us even more passive and encourages us to stay in a spiral which is not taking us in the right direction.
Conformity means that we are afraid of showing the world who we really are and what we are about or reaching for the things that truly make us happy. If we live our entire life based on other people’s opinions (in FOPO: Fear of Other People’s Opinions), we will always be feeling anxious as there will always be someone who might think we are doing something stupid, incorrect, wrong etc..!
Quiet depression might be one of the worst consequences of conformity. If we always have to fit in with everything happening in real life and at the same time be living with the fear of missing out (FOMO), of course our stress levels (cortisol) will always be running high! The “guiding star” in our lives then, is not really a guiding star, it’s a living hell!
These horrible emotions will unfortunately not go away until you change! You will eventually have to face your fears and challenges (of what society might think) and do what you truly believe in. Once you start doing that, you will grow your skills and most likely your passion and with that comes personal transformation. You will no longer be living your life on someone else’s terms, it will instead be on your terms and your happiness and joy for life will for sure come back!
Don’t have any talent?
There have been numerous studies on this topic and the idea of talent comes from ancient Greece and is something which has been ingrained in our brains all our lives. I would almost dare saying that it’s just bullshit but that might be a bit bold. Most people who are interviewed about their greatness don’t talk about talent. They talk about meaningful, deliberate, restless practice to perfection! Just study the biggest athletes of our times. It’s not just about 10,000 hours, although time for sure makes a difference, but repetitive practice which is not deliberate will never take you as far as deliberate practice.
The thing with “talent” is that most people give up early on because they don’t seem to have any talent. This for sure will not lead to success within that field. Some people of course will have some innate talents. If you have more muscles or are taller you will for sure initially have an advantage over others in certain sports. So initially you will be better BUT it’s by no means a guarantee you stay ahead!
A great example of this is the the Swedish high jumper Stefan Holm. One would expect a high jumper to be tall, right?! Well Stefan is actually not very tall, he stands 1m 81 cm (5 ft 11 in) but he still managed to win the Olympic gold medal! Was this done by chance then, luck or something else? Of course not!
Had his thinking been like most people, he probably never would have gotten started. Why start a sport where you are behind from the very beginning, right? Wrong! If that’s your mindset, you have lost before you have even started. If you think like this and never try anything new, what are the odds that you will find that thing which gives you joy, growth and passion?
Regular practice versus deliberate practice
What most seem to do, even many with innate talents, is that they practice, learn and grow up till a certain point. You are getting better and better but after a while you seem to stagnate or reach a plateau. This is what happens to most of us in the majority of our endeavors as well as at work. We initially learn new things and make clear progress but then after a while “we know the drill” and we start doing what we have always done. It becomes repetitive, habitual and eventually automatic. Homeostasis has won and we become more and more comfortable at that level and there is no more growth.
Unless we do things that constantly challenge us, this is very likely to happen in all areas of our lives and that is the scary part. Up until this point, we have probably done what everyone else has been doing. What if we would do more and stand out? FOPO is back in our heads again and we stagnate.
This stage is ok for a while but then some unpleasant emotions start come haunting us… We could have done more, we could have accomplished more which means emotions of guilt, regret, anxiety and potentially even depression start suffocating us from the inside. This is change talking to you and eventually you will have to break out because this pressure from within will have consequences to your physical as well as mental health and you will be forced to take action. This is what happens with “regular practice” within any field.
Deliberate practice on the other hand is very different as when you do something deliberately, the feelings and emotions associated with the experience is very different. Deliberate practice means hard, intense and focused work where you constantly need to improve. Nothing is left out because you want to make sure you are always making progress. It will be frustrating and mentally challenging and your capacity per day would probably be in the region of 4-5 hours because of the intensity and focus required. This of course doesn’t sound very enjoyable and when performed, most of the time it won’t be. As always though when something is very hard or difficult, there is something in it making it all worthwhile…
There are a couple of reasons but let’s compare the two different types of practice or learning and what type of satisfaction one might get out of these two different approaches.
This is what you get when something is easy. So if you are eating, drinking, watching shows on the internet or just surfing social media, you get instant satisfaction. When you do things that are easy and you don’t push yourself but still get a feeling of satisfaction or dopamin, you get addicted. As this is so easily achieved, why not indulge to get that feeling more often?
That’s what most people do as it’s so easily attainable and requires so little of us. The challenge is of course that we will require more and more to get the same kind of feeling and the feeling tends to disappear faster and faster. If you do something which is somewhat challenging, initially you will feel good about it but if you can find other ways (easier) ways of getting that same feeling you might quit unless you have a good enough reason for not quitting. Most people don’t seem to find that reason so they quit and live a life of mediocrity and are unfortunately very likely to develop a quiet depression. Sadly they wouldn’t dare telling anyone as what would other people think…?
When you involve in deliberate practice within any field, you do so for a reason. You might want to become the best in that field, you might want the recognition that comes with it, you might want to impress someone or you might want fame or money. There can be lots of reasons behind it but as Napoleon Hill said: “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
If you know why you do it and you create a plan of execution and practice deliberately with intense focus and always evaluate and review, you will become unstoppable. There will be obstacles, there will be challenges and it for sure will be very, very hard at times. But if you always have your goal super clear to you, you will be resourceful enough not to give up and will keep on going.
You will become better and better and you will know (as you measure everything) that you are making progress and becoming more knowledgeable. When you realize that you are constantly becoming better, even if just a tiny, tiny bit, you know you are on your way to mastery as most of your “competitors” have given up a long time ago. The insight of what you are capable of when you focus and become almost obsessed about that thing you want to accomplish, will give you a level of satisfaction hard to describe without experiencing it. It is not even remotely close to the satisfaction one might feel when getting x thumbs up on a social media post.
By taking deliberate action, even when it’s hard, you will feel more in control of your life and when we feel we have control over our lives and make meaningful progress, that’s when we truly can enjoy our lives. This is when our blue print matches our current reality and there is no stress, anxiety nor depression as your life is in sync with whom you truly are.
When you are growing and making meaningful progress towards your goals and dreams in life, you feel good about yourself and the accomplishments you are achieving. You are having an impact on yourself and others and you can feel the momentum which means you are not stressed about what you could have been accomplishing so no anxiety or guilt exist. You are on a roll and as long as you keep that momentum going, you will have a wonderful and spectacular life full of happiness and success.
Deliberate practice and constant meaningful progress towards your goals and dreams is what will make your leave conformity and the quiet depression haunting most men and women in the twenty first century.
Actions to take:
- Start here: Visions & Goals
- How to accomplish twice as much per week by having outstanding morning rituals!
- How to be in full control – Daily Focus
- Habits of highly successful people – just copy them!
- Start gaining momentum and keeping it!
- Finding your passion – you HAVE greatness within