“There is no passion to be found in living small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Sitting silently in my cell, starring out the window at the mountains in the distance, my subconscious mind starts asking me questions.
You were a talented and successful motocross racer, right?
I think, I could confidently say YES.
You won many championships, right?
I won many championships throughout my career.
Well than what stopped you from reaching the top echelon of motocross and becoming as successful as Ricky Carmichael or one of the other greats, my mind asks me.
I had no answer to this so I began reading books with a vivacious desire to find an answer to this question that would satisfy my mind.
The problem was that my mind believed that the awesomely great, apparently superhuman performers came into this world with a God given gift for doing exactly what they ended up being great for.
I came to realized that this explanation was incorrect.
After studying the transcendent greatness of some of histories most magical, most enduring performers, it became apparent that there are many common traits shared by these Titians.
One particular concept was evident in every great achiever, this concept was:
THE CONCEPT OF DELIBERATE PRACTICE
We can learn a lot about what makes people excel in their chosen fields by banishing preconceptions and opening our minds to what deliberate practice means.
We can characterize deliberate practice as follows: its an activity designed specifically to improve performance, it can be repeated in volume, the results can be evaluated, its highly demanding mentally, regardless if the activity is intellectual or heavy physically and lastly its generally not much fun.
When we examine the lives of these great achievers, we see that all of them had designed practice routines that focused on special elements of their performance that they need to improve. They then worked ferociously on them. The difference is that these practice activities are those that can be repeated, repetitively at high volume. These sessions are focused and require extreme concentration; continually working on the weakest area’s trying you’re hardest to improve them.
Finally we identify the painful, difficult activities that will make us better and do those activities over and over.
After each session, we evaluate what still is not right so that we can repeat the most painful and difficult parts of what we have just done. Then we continue that process till we are mentally exhausted.
It is this concept that I never fully grasped and put into practice throughout my career. Reflecting back now, I realized that I was of the opinion that – Practice makes perfect. I practiced daily for hours and hours but the difference was that my practice routine was designed around fun and doing the activities I was good at rather then spending my time on the activities I needed to improve through hard work, repetition and mental focus.
The good news is that a path exists from were we currently are in our activities to that of the greats.
The path is extremely long and demanding and only a few will follow it all the way to its end. The difference between expert performers and the average is reflected by a life long period of deliberate effort to improve their performance in their chosen field.
Regardless of whether your desire to achieve greater results, lies in sporting, music/arts or the business arenas, the concept of deliberate practice is key.
You first need to ask yourself two important questions:
– What do you really want?
– What do you really believe?
Becoming a great performer requires the largest personal investment you will ever make!!!