Most people claim they want to achieve something and have a desire for mastery but they won’t do anything required for success. Most often people would resist going through the process because they feel uncomfortable along the way as they fail and because they doubt their ability to become an expert.
Becoming the best is not easy and only a few people have the will to overcome a lot of obstacles and prepare to win. And one of the reasons why it’s hard to become a top performer is because a lot of what you have been told about how to study or train is wrong.
Whatever your goals are, here’s how to become the best at what you do according to science.
Use “deliberate practice”
Everyone knows the saying “Practice makes perfect”. When we speak about training any skills, the longer you are doing something over and over again, the closer you will get to the mastery. But if you want to become a world-class performer, research has found that just practicing isn’t enough and the oft-cited “10,000-hour rule” of merely repeating the same activity doesn’t work.
Anders K. Ericsson, a psychology professor at Florida State University who specializes in the science of peak performance, has been studying people who were best in the world at certain skills for 30 years. According to Ericsson’s research, if you want to become exceptional at something, it’s not the hours of practice that actually matter. All masters use a science-backed method of “deliberate practice” that can help you truly improve and become an expert in what you do.
Deliberate practice means that you should step outside your comfort zone and try challenging activities beyond your current abilities. You should practice with defined intention and need the help of a teacher who will help you make a plan for achieving your goals.
Here are some ideas on how to use deliberate practice daily.
Developing skills is a long process that requires hard work. That’s why you shouldn’t try to learn everything at once. A better idea is to work at mastering one specific skill at a time. Be ready to fail a lot. Failures can teach you important things about yourself that you can never learn the other way. Eventually, you will be able to move forward.
Modify practice sessions
According to a Johns Hopkins study, if you make slight changes during practice sessions, you will master the skill faster than if you just practice the exact same thing multiple times in a row. You should make changes to your self-teaching techniques as you train your skills. For example, if you work on your skills using flashcards in one session, you should use a different method next time – take a quiz, listen to webinar or podcast etc. Because of the process called reconsolidation, your brain will remember and record new information quicker.
Find a mentor
Typically, adult people tend to try to do things on their own but mentors are vital if you want to become exceptional at what you do. If you want to become an expert in mathematics, the first thing you should do is to find a good math tutor to learn from. Your teacher will help you plan your activities for reaching the desired level of performance, provide feedback and critique you. He will help you identify what things you can’t do right now and what steps you need to make to perform better. You coach will show you the right direction in setting goals and provide you with valuable advice when you are eventually ready to train your skills on your own.
Set concrete improvements
You should evaluate your progress regularly and continuously set new goals to improve. You should try to accomplish these goals but even if you won’t reach them, it’s OK. The key is that eventually, you become your own teacher, taking control of your progress.
You should avoid comfort and seek out continuous improvement.
If you want to become the best in the world in your field, be realistic about what it will require, have faith in your own abilities, and use science-based methods to achieve your goals.