If you’re not familiar with it, Malcolm Gladwell interpreted Ericsson’s research and suggested people need to accumulate 10,000 hours to become an expert.
Ericsson, however, says,
“[T]he key thing that people have misinterpreted is that it’s not just a matter of accumulating hours. If you’re doing your job, and you’re just doing more and more of the same, you’re not actually going to get better.” (source)
Ericsson instead says the missed element is something he calls “deliberate practice.” As fitness experts, this idea should resonate with you.
Imagine a client who wanted to get healthy and strong, but they kept repeating the same exercises done incorrectly. If they reached 10,000 hours without hurting themselves, would they really have improved? They may even be in a worse position long term.
Ericsson says, “Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal” (p. 15).
Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World.
An Interview with Anders Ericsson
Check out this interview with Ericsson below:
6 Tips for Incorporating Deliberate Practice Into Your Business
As you think about how deliberate practice might apply to your business, we wanted to share a few tips:
- Incorporate practice into daily work life – The first step in applying deliberate practice into your business is to schedule it into your daily work life. You’ll never make progress if you don’t set aside regular time.
- Get out of your comfort zone – If you only practice what you’ve always practiced, you’ll never grow. That’s true when you exercise and it’s true in your business. If one of your clients only wanted to exercise their biceps, you’d firmly explain that’s not a smart way to exercise.
- Seek immediate feedback – A core component of deliberate practice is seeking immediate feedback. That might mean seeking out a business mentor or taking an online course where you have access to an expert for a new business tactic. Don’t keep practice something that you can’t get feedback on and don’t know if you’re doing correctly.
- Learn from others, particularly experts – The best way to become an expert is to learn from one. That might mean reading a book like PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, taking a seminar, going to a conference, or seeking a new certification. Our digital world provides us hundreds of ways we can learn from experts.
- Build mental representations – “A mental representation is a mental structure that corresponds to an object, an idea, a collection of information, or anything else, concrete or abstract, that the brain is thinking about.” (source). Many people use this form of learning in school but stopped using it as they transitioned into the business world. It can be a tremendous tool in your deliberate practice.
- Focus – Deliberate practice requires your full attention, so set aside a specific amount of time and remove distractions. If you’re new to this idea, read more about the Pomodoro Technique.
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