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Flashcards in PEAK Deck (108)
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1

Myth of the Ten Thousand Hour Rule

these books leave the impression that heartfelt desire and hard work alone will lead to improved performance—“Just keep working at it, and you’ll get there”—and this is wrong. The right sort of practice carried out over a sufficient period of time leads to improvement. Nothing else.”

2

Usual Approach to Practice

the goal is to reach a point at which everything becomes automatic and an acceptable performance is possible with relatively little thought, so that you can just relax and enjoy the game.”
But there is one very important thing to understand here: once you have reached this satisfactory skill level and automated your performance—your driving, your tennis playing, your baking of pies—you have stopped improving. People often misunderstand this because they assume that the continued driving or tennis playing or pie baking is a form of practice and that if they keep doing it they are bound to get better at it, slowly perhaps, but better nonetheless.

3

Result of the Usual Approach to Practice

“But no. Research has shown that, generally speaking, once a person reaches that level of “acceptable” performance and automaticity, the additional years of “practice” don’t lead to improvement. ”

4

Purposeful Practice Goal Example

Purposeful practice has well defined, specific goals:

Our hypothetical music student would have been much more successful with a practice goal something like this: “Play the piece all the way through at the proper speed without a mistake three times in a row.” Without such a goal, there was no way to judge whether the practice session had been a success.”
Push yourself to increase whatever you want to increase from last session

5

Purposeful Practice as Kaizen

Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal. If you’re a weekend golfer and you want to decrease your handicap by five strokes, that’s fine for an overall purpose, but it is not a well-defined, specific goal that can be used effectively for your practice.

Break it down and make a plan: What exactly do you need to do to slice five strokes off your handicap? One goal might be to increase the number of drives landing in the fairway. That’s a reasonably specific goal, but you need to break it down even more: What exactly will you do to increase the number of successful drives? You will need to figure out why so many of your drives are not landing in the fairway and address that by, for instance, working to reduce your tendency to hook the ball. How do you do that? An instructor can give you advice “on how to change your swing motion in specific ways. And so on. The key thing is to take that general goal—get better—and turn it into something specific that you can work on with a realistic expectation of improvement.”

6

Purposeful Practice is Focused

You seldom improve much without giving the task your full attention.”

7

Purposeful Practice Involves Feedback:

“You have to know whether you are doing something right and, if not, how you’re going wrong. “Generally speaking, no matter what you’re trying to do, you need feedback to identify exactly where and how you are falling short. Without feedback—either from yourself or from outside observers—you cannot figure out what you need to improve on or how close you are to achieving your goals.”

8

Purposeful Practice Requires Getting out of One’s Comfort Zone

This is a fundamental truth about any sort of practice: If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will never improve. The amateur pianist who took half a dozen years of lessons when he was a teenager but who for the past thirty years has been playing the same set of songs in exactly the same way over and over again may have accumulated ten thousand hours of “practice” during that time, but he is no better at playing the piano than he was thirty years ago. Indeed, he’s probably gotten worse.”

He never got out of his comfort zone, never put in the hours of purposeful practice it would take to improve. He was like the pianist playing the same songs the same way for thirty years. That is a recipe for stagnation, not improvement.
Getting out of your comfort zone means trying to do something that you couldn’t do before. Sometimes you may find it relatively easy to accomplish that new thing, and then you keep pushing on. But sometimes you run into something that stops you cold and it seems like you’ll never be able to do it. Finding ways around these barriers is one of the hidden keys to purposeful practice.”

9

When you hit a Roadblack

Generally the solution is not “try harder” but rather “try differently.” It is a technique issue, in other words.”

“improve up to a point, get stuck, look around for a different approach that could help him get past the barrier, find it, and then improve steadily until another barrier arose.

10

The Road to Mastery is Not Easy

“One caveat here is that while it is always possible to keep going and keep improving, it is not always easy. Maintaining the focus and the effort required by purposeful practice is hard work, and it is generally not fun.”

11

Purposeful Practice in a Nutshell

Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress. Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation.

12

Mental Models as the Path to Performance

As we shall see, the key to improved mental performance of almost any sort is the development of mental structures that make it possible to avoid the limitations of short-term memory and deal effectively with large amounts of information at once.”

13

How Physical Activity Changes the brain

when a body system—certain muscles, the cardiovascular system, or something else—is stressed to the point that homeostasis can no longer be maintained, the body responds with changes that are intended to reestablish homeostasis.”

14

The Effect of Pushing Yourself

But there is a catch: once the compensatory changes have occurred—new muscle fibers have grown and become more efficient, new capillaries have grown, and so on—the body can handle the physical activity that had previously stressed it. It is comfortable again. The changes stop. So to keep the changes happening, you have to keep upping the ante: run farther, run faster, run uphill. If you don’t keep pushing and pushing and pushing some more, the body will settle into homeostasis, albeit at a different level than before, and you will stop improving.”

This explains the importance of staying just outside your comfort zone: you need to continually push to keep the body’s compensatory changes coming, but if you push too far outside your comfort zone, you risk injuring yourself and actually setting yourself back.”

15

How the Brain Responds to Training

Regular training leads to changes in the parts of the brain that are challenged by the training. The brain adapts to these challenges by rewiring itself in ways that increase its ability to carry out the functions required by the challenges.”

“the cognitive and physical changes caused by training require upkeep. Stop training, and they start to go away. ”

16

Why Most People Don't Reach Mastery

The reason that most people don’t possess these extraordinary physical capabilities isn’t because they don’t have“physical capabilities isn’t because they don’t have the capacity for them, but rather because they’re satisfied to live in the comfortable rut of homeostasis and never do the work that is required to get out of it. They live in the world of “good enough.”

17

The World of Good Enough

“We learn enough to get by in our day-to-day lives, but once we reach that point, we seldom push to go beyond good enough. We do very little that challenges our brains to develop new gray matter or white matter or to rewire entire sections in the way that an aspiring London taxi driver or violin student might.”

18

Chunks

“he or she has accumulated some fifty thousand of these chunks. A master who examines a chess position sees a collection of chunks that are interacting with other chunks in still other patterns. Research has shown that these chunks are organized hierarchically, with groups of chunks arranged into higher-level patterns. The hierarchy is analogous to the organizational structure of a business or other large institution, with individuals “organized into teams, which are organized into units, which are organized into departments, and so on, with the higher-level pieces being more abstracted and further from the bottom level where the real action takes place (which, in the case of the chess example, is the level of the individual chess pieces).”
the important thing about them is that they are held in long-term memory.”

19

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”

Much of deliberate practice involves developing ever more efficient mental representations that you can use in whatever activity you are practicing. ”

20

Common to All Mental Representations

“The thing all mental representations have in common is that they make it possible to process large amounts of information quickly, despite the limitations of short-term memory. Indeed, one could define a mental representation as a conceptual structure designed to sidestep the usual restrictions that short-term memory places on mental processing.”

21

The Mental Representations of Experts

What sets expert performers apart from everyone else is the quality and quantity of their mental representations. Through years of practice, they develop highly complex and sophisticated representations of the various situations they are likely to encounter in their fields—such as the vast number of arrangements of chess pieces that can appear during games. These representations allow them to make faster, more accurate decisions and respond more quickly and effectively in a given situation. This, more than anything else, explains the differ”

“The main thing that sets experts apart from the rest of us is that their years of practice have changed the neural circuitry in their brains to produce highly specialized mental representations, which in turn make possible the incredible memory, pattern recognition, problem solving, and other sorts of advanced abilities needed to excel in their particular specialties.”

22

Hallmark of Expert Performance

What sets expert performers apart from everyone else is the quality and quantity of their mental representations. Through years of practice, they develop highly complex and sophisticated representations of the various situations they are likely to encounter in their fields—such as the vast number of arrangements of chess pieces that can appear during games. These representations allow them to make faster, more accurate decisions and respond more quickly and effectively in a given situation. This, more than anything else, explains the differ”

“The main thing that sets experts apart from the rest of us is that their years of practice have changed the neural circuitry in their brains to produce highly specialized mental representations, which in turn make possible the incredible memory, pattern recognition, problem solving, and other sorts of advanced abilities needed to excel in their particular specialties.”

23

Hallmark of Expert Mental Representation

“In pretty much every area, a hallmark of expert performance is the ability to see patterns in a collection of things that would seem random or confusing to people with less well developed mental representations. In other words, experts see the forest when everyone else sees only trees.”

24

Key Benefit of mental Representations

lies in how they help us deal with information: understanding and interpreting it, holding it in memory, organizing it, analyzing it, and making decisions with it. The same is true for all experts—and most of us are experts at something, whether we realize it or not.”

“The more you study a subject, the more detailed your mental representations of it become, and the better you get at assimilating new information. ”


25

Major Advantage of Mental Representations

you can assimilate and consider a great deal more information at once. ”

“The superior organization of information is a theme that appears over and over again in the study of expert performers.”

“More generally, mental representations can be used to plan a wide variety of areas, and the better the representation, the more effective the planning.

26

When Surgery Doesn't Match the vision of the Surgeon

When an actual surgery diverges from the surgeon’s mental representation, he or she knows to slow down, rethink the options, and, if necessary, formulate a new plan in response to the new information.”

27

Knowledge Telling

there’s a topic and there are various thoughts that the writer has on the topic, often loosely organized by relevance or importance, but sometimes by category or some other pattern. A slightly more sophisticated representation might include some sort of introduction at the beginning and a conclusion or summary at the end, but that’s about it.

28

Expert Writers

we had to figure out what we wanted the book to do. What did we want readers to learn about expertise? What concepts and ideas were important to introduce? How should a reader’s ideas about training and potential be changed by reading this book? Answering questions like these gave us our first rough mental representation of the book—our goals“for it, what we wanted it to accomplish. Of course, as we worked more and more on the book, that initial image evolved, but it was a start.”


As we made our choices, we gradually honed our mental representation of the book until we had something that seemed to meet all of our goals. The simplest way to imagine our mental representation at this stage is to think back to the old outlining technique you learned back in junior high English class. We prepared an outline of chapters, each“focused on a particular topic and covering various aspects of that topic. But the representation of the book that we had created was far richer and more complex than a simple outline. We knew, for instance, why each piece was there and what we wanted to accomplish with it. And we had a clear idea of the book’s structure and logic—why one topic followed another—and the interconnections among the various pieces. We found that this process also forced us to think carefully about how we conceptualized deliberate practice ourselves.

29

Purpose of Deliberate Practice

s to develop effective mental representations, and, as we will discuss shortly, mental representations in turn play a key role in deliberate practice. “The key change that occurs in our adaptable brains in response to deliberate practice is the development of better mental representations, which in turn open up new possibilities for improved performance.

30

Knowledge Transforming

“Researchers refer to this sort of writing as “knowledge transforming,” as opposed to “knowledge telling,” because the process of writing changes and adds to the knowledge that the writer had when starting out.”

“This is an example of one way in which expert performers use mental representations to improve their performance: they monitor and evaluate their performance, and, when necessary, they modify their mental representations in order to make them more effective. The more effective the mental representation is, the better the performance will be.”

We had developed a certain mental representation of the book, but we found out that it had led us to a performance (the explanations in our original proposal) that was not as good as we wished, so we used the feedback we had gotten and modified the representation accordingly. This in turn led us to a much better explanation of deliberate practice.”