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The Ultimate Deliberate Practice Guide: How to Be the Best

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TLDR

What is Deliberate Practice?
Deliberate practice is the art of preparing for anything with a clear awareness of the components of the skill one hope to achieve and how to improve those. It revolves around intentional focus on what is being done and how that specifically is improving a piece of the larger goal.

Elements of Deliberate Practice
Structure
We are wired to be lazy. Deliberate practice focuses on weaknesses. Each stage has measurable goals to gauge progress
How to achieve: break down skill into smallest possible parts. Work through them in logical order, and continue revising the plan as you go
Uncomfort
We must get used to the challenges early and often, before the pressure mounts. We must target weaknesses and deliberately formulate a plan around those. We must find the ‘sweet spot’ that is on the edge of competence
How to implement: Each time you practice a sub-skill, look to make it 10% harder than the level you currently find comfortable. Set ambitious stretch goals each month
Rest Periods
Athletes train, sprint, recover, and do it all again. No one can sustain deliberate practice for long, so rest and recovery is critical. We are in focus work during deliberate practice and diffuse mode while resting
How to implement: Allow yourself to daydream during your relaxed activities. Allow this diffuse state to augment focused progress
Constant Feedback
What gets measured gets managed. Must have a way of measuring critical performance indicators and past performance. Beware of vanity metrics
How to implement: Identify the most significant metrics
Coaching
Coaches can provide unbiased feedback on progress and skill. Teachers can greatly improve processes and better see the holistic picture from a different perspective.
How to implement: Find coaches and teachers at a similar or greater caliber of skill. Continue finding new coaches as you get better.
Intrinsic motivation
You must have the discipline and motivation to continue practicing regardless of external circumstances. It must be driven by an internal want, though can be supplemented by extrinsic factors
How to implement: Make a list of reasons you want to work on a skill and the benefits getting better at it would bring. Realize the greater vision. Realize your emotional state through time and work.
Longevity
Mastery requires time and patience. Lucky breaks are often a result of years of preparation and work. To be successful you must also produce constantly and continually look for feedback.
Focus
Realize your focus and capabilities. If you can only focus for five minutes, take a break after 5 minutes. Ensure that you can focus for the time alotted. Intense focus is a multiplier of everything else.
How to implement: Eat the from. Find the activities that have the greatest impact and work on those first
Deliberate practice
Engage in deliberate practice on a regular basis, continually revisiting old topics.
How to implement: Make a schedule for sub-skills, with a timeline for deliberate practice and later review

I thought this article was fantastic and brought together many elements of other books and lessons I’ve found. I just finished Atomic Habits a few weeks back and much of this content reflected the systems for strong habit forming. It’s actually quite rare that we engage in deliberate practice on a day to day basis. Deliberate practice requires self-reflection and true grit. There is no substitute for doing the work, and most of the elements are naturally uncomfortable. Do read as you take on new skills and tasks.
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