Deliberate Practice

Free Throw

I recently finished Daniel Pink’s book Drive, and it had some really fascinating components that got me thinking. One of the core principles of the book regards flow and mastery. Mastery is something that can only be obtained over a long period of time, and requires thousands of hours of deliberate practice. This type of deliberate practice is somewhat challenging and out of one’s comfort zone, but not beyond the reach of his/her abilities. Such practice is also repeated often with intense focus on improving. Another key aspect of this practice is relevant and timely feedback.

After reading about mastery and deliberate practice, I thought a great deal about what kinds of objectives are worth expending such effort. I want to decide what skills I can master that will serve me best over the course of my lifetime. These are things I want to start deliberately practicing for a few minutes every day. Some things I think would be worth mastering:

  1. Writing (including copywriting)
  2. Public speaking
  3. Easily establishing rapport
  4. Reading faces and emotions (for more, see the work of Paul Ekman)
  5. Deeply understanding how people make decisions
  6. Meditation
  7. Critical, insightful thinking with hard problems

For the next few days I will be thinking hard about which skill (or skills) to start working on, and will then work to automate that practice into my daily schedule. I got a lot from Drive, and I think someone in a corporate position would receive even more value from the book.