To his astonishment, Anders Ericsson was finally beaten by the boy who lost to him countless times at chess. So, how did the boy who always lost suddenly defeat him? What did he do to improve so drastically? Currently serving as a professor of psychology at Florida State University, Ericsson’s life quest has been to find how anyone can improve at anything through this technique.
Step out of your comfort zone; go beyond doing what you’re good at
Two words, ‘deliberate practice’ are stopping you from becoming a concert pianist or an Olympic athlete, according to him. After much research and logic, Ericsson came to the conclusion that if people engaged in deliberate practice they could become the best in their field. However simple it may sound to practice something over and over again, there is a way to go about it. Rather than engaging in something that you are already good at, he suggests that stepping out of one’s comfort zone and going beyond one’s inherent abilities which is a great place to start. To take it up a notch, he also advises that people should set goals that are well-defined and also take the help of a teacher who can map out a plan to help them get there.
People argue that IQ and physical attributes hinder deliberate practice
Ericsson life’s work has coerced him into studying expert spellers, elite athletes, and memory champions, he found that the common denominator between them is deliberate practice. However, his research has come under some criticism in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘Outliers’, where he says that putting in 10,000 hours of practice can make the average Joe, an expert. People also argue that how cognitive and physical abilities play a role in success. Ericsson argues that though higher IQ and physical attributes may help someone learn faster, it doesn’t mean that another individual can’t catch up to them.
So, while people agree or disagree with ‘deliberate practice’, surely it can’t hurt anyone to spend time perfecting your art wherever it may be. You never know, you might just become the next Beethoven.