Daniel Ho

A Toronto-based management consultant who spends too much time thinking about coffee, riding around on two wheels, photography, books, and fried chicken!

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything - Tony Schwartz - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review

This is from a HBR article.? I think that some innate ability has to be present, but the article resonates with what I believe to be true.? That of a capacity for all of us to grow both mentally and physically. Most believe in the labels that they have been given and live a life full of "I can't do....", "I'm not good at..."? The reality is that it is almost never too late to acquire a new skill or improve on something that you can already do.? It just takes focused practice.

1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.

2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That's when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ? hours a day.

4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.

5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It's also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.

6. Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you'll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them ? build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

via Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything - Tony Schwartz - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review.