Posted by: elambend | October 29, 2007

Deliberate Practice

Dubner and Leavitt of Feakonomics fame had written an interesting article about a year and a half ago about about Dr. K Anders Ericsson and his research into the Acquisition of Expert Performance and Deliberate Practice.

Dr. Ericsson’s research has shown that the old cliche that experts are made not born is true and that practice does indeed make perfect. Along those lines there is sound advice to do what you love:

“Ericsson’s research suggests a third cliché as well: when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don’t love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don’t like to do things they aren’t “good” at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don’t possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better.”

As Dubner and Leavitt point out some people are still better cut out for certain jobs, or as they put it: This is not to say that all people have equal potential. Michael Jordan, even if he hadn’t spent countless hours in the gym, would still have been a better basketball player than most of us. But without those hours in the gym, he would never have become the player he was.

However, reflecting upon this, the question becomes how to pursue something you love. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m sure I know where to direct that focus. A think that I would not be alone in this feeling.

HT: Kottke.org

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