8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently

As my kids were (begrudgingly) practicing their Tae Kwon Do patterns the other night, I caught myself telling my oldest that he had to do his pattern five times before returning to his video game. My goal, of course, was not for him to go through the motions of his pattern five times like a pouty zombie, but to do it one time with good form and authority. But the parent in me finds it very reassuring to know that a certain number of repetitions or time has gone into something. Beyond the…


why the way we practice makes us think we're better prepared than we really are

Why the Way We Usually Practice Makes Us Think We're Better Prepared than We Really Are

When I was in high school, "studying" meant reviewing my textbook and notes into the wee hours of the night. I thought I was being pretty hard-core, and it seemed to work pretty well, so I stuck with it. Then I went to college, and quickly discovered that just because everything in the readings made sense and seemed increasingly familiar the more I re-read it, didn't mean I could actually retrieve or use that knowledge when put on the spot. This is an instance of how familiarity can play tricks…


why trying to make practice fun may be the wrong approach

Why Trying to Make Practice Fun Might Be the Wrong Approach

If you've read any articles or books on deliberate practice, you may recall that one of its defining characteristics is that such practice is "not inherently enjoyable." Some have even taken this to mean that deliberate practice is actively unpleasant. That it is "hard" or "painful" and "hurts." Urgh. So does that mean that practicing the "right way" is supposed to feel like a chore? That if we want to become great, it's going to take a tremendous amount of willpower to persist in an apparently…