the clear message from decades of research is that no matter what role innate genetic endowment may play in the achievements of “gifted” people, the main gift that these people have is the same one we all have — the adaptability of the human brain and body, which they have taken advantage of more than the rest of us. (Location 154)

we now understand that there’s no such thing as a predefined ability. The brain is adaptable, and training can create skills — such as perfect pitch — that did not exist before. This is a game changer, because learning now becomes a way of creating abilities rather than of bringing people to the point where they can take advantage of their innate ones. In this new world it no longer makes sense to think of people as born with fixed reserves of potential; instead, potential is an expandable vessel, shaped by the various things we do throughout our lives. (Location 183)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning there is no limit to our natural abilities

The right sort of practice carried out over a sufficient period of time leads to improvement. Nothing else. (Location 198)

Tags: practice

Today deliberate practice remains the gold standard for anyone in any field who wishes to take advantage of the gift of adaptability in order to build new skills and abilities, and it is the main concern of this book. (Location 208)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice

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. If anything, the doctor or the teacher or the driver who’s been at it for twenty years is likely to be a bit worse than the one who’s been doing it for only five, and the reason is that these automated abilities gradually deteriorate in the absence of deliberate efforts to improve. (Location 427)

Tags: improvement

Purposeful practice has several characteristics that set it apart from what we might call “naive practice,” which is essentially just doing something repeatedly, and expecting that the repetition alone will improve one’s performance. (Location 443)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice

Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal. (Location 464)

Tags: practice

Note: Focus on many small steps

Purposeful practice involves feedback. You have to know whether you are doing something right and, if not, how you’re going wrong. In Oare’s example the music student got belated feedback at school with a C on the performance test, but there seems to have been no feedback during practice — no one listening and pointing out mistakes, with the student seemingly clueless about whether there were errors in the practice. (Location 487)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice feedback is key

Purposeful practice requires getting out of one’s comfort zone. (Location 498)

Tags: comfortzone, practice

Note: .practice .comfortzone

This is a fundamental truth about any sort of practice: If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will never improve. (Location 505)

Tags: comfortzone, practice

Note: you need to push beyond your comfort zone

Generally speaking, meaningful positive feedback is one of the crucial factors in maintaining motivation. It can be internal feedback, such as the satisfaction of seeing yourself improve at something, or external feedback provided by others, but it makes a huge difference in whether a person will be able to maintain the consistent effort necessary to improve through purposeful practice. (Location 571)

Tags: feedback

Note: .feedback

So here we have 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. (Location 580)

Tags: favorite, practice

Note: .practice

First, the effects of training on the brain can vary with age in several ways. The most important way is that younger brains — those of children and adolescents — are more adaptable than adult brains are, so training can have larger effects in younger people. Because the young brain is developing in various ways, training at early ages can actually shape the course of later development, leading to significant changes.

This is “the bent-twig effect.” If you push a small twig slightly away from its normal pattern of growth, you can cause a major change in the ultimate location of the branch that grows from that twig; pushing on a branch that is already developed has much less effect. (Location 945)

Tags: brain

Note: Similar to the analogy of course correcting a plan on an incorrect flight path early

With deliberate practice, however, the goal is not just to reach your potential but to build it, to make things possible that were not possible before. This requires challenging homeostasis — getting out of your comfort zone — and forcing your brain or your body to adapt. But once you do this, learning is no longer just a way of fulfilling some genetic destiny; it becomes a way of taking control of your destiny and shaping your potential in ways that you choose. (Location 999)

Tags: comfort zone, practice

Note: .practice

Much of deliberate practice involves developing ever more efficient mental representations that you can use in whatever activity you are practicing. (Location 1159)

Tags: practice, mentalmodels

This explains a crucial fact about expert performance in general: there is no such thing as developing a general skill. You don’t train your memory; you train your memory for strings of digits or for collections of words or for people’s faces. You don’t train to become an athlete; you train to become a gymnast or a sprinter or a marathoner or a swimmer or a basketball player. You don’t train to become a doctor; you train to become a diagnostician or a pathologist or a neurosurgeon. Of course, some people do become overall memory experts or athletes in a number of sports or doctors with a general set of skills, but they do so by training in a number of different areas. (Location 1173)

Tags: skill

Note: .skill is very specific. Train for specific improvements

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. (Location 1181)

Tags: memory

Note: .memory

We concluded that the advantage better players had in predicting future events was related to their ability to envision more possible outcomes and quickly sift through them and come up with the most promising action. In short, the better players had a more highly developed ability to interpret the pattern of action on the field. This ability allowed them to perceive which players’ movements and interactions mattered most, which allowed them to make better decisions about where to go on the field, when to pass the ball and to whom, and so on. (Location 1234)

In particular, deliberate practice is informed and guided by the best performers’ accomplishments and by an understanding of what these expert performers do to excel. Deliberate practice is purposeful practice that knows where it is going and how to get there. (Location 1765)

In short, deliberate practice is characterized by the following traits: Deliberate practice develops skills that other people have already figured out how to do and for which effective training techniques have been established. The practice regimen should be designed and overseen by a teacher or coach who is familiar with the abilities of expert performers and with how those abilities can best be developed. Deliberate practice takes place outside one’s comfort zone and requires a student to constantly try things that are just beyond his or her current abilities. Thus it demands near-maximal effort, which is generally not enjoyable. Deliberate practice involves well-defined, specific goals and often involves improving some aspect of the target performance; it is not aimed at some vague overall improvement. Once an overall goal has been set, a teacher or coach will develop a plan for making a series of small changes that will add up to the desired larger change. Improving some aspect of the target performance allows a performer to see that his or her performances have been improved by the training. Deliberate practice is deliberate, that is, it requires a person’s full attention and conscious actions. It isn’t enough to simply follow a teacher’s or coach’s directions. The student must concentrate on the specific goal for his or her practice activity so that adjustments can be made to control practice. Deliberate practice involves feedback and modification of efforts in response to that feedback. Early in the training process much of the feedback will come from the teacher or coach, who will monitor progress, point out problems, and offer ways to address those problems. With time and experience students must learn to monitor themselves, spot mistakes, and adjust accordingly. Such self-monitoring requires effective mental representations. Deliberate practice both produces and depends on effective mental representations. Improving performance goes hand in hand with improving mental representations; as one’s performance improves, the representations become more detailed and effective, in turn making it possible to improve even more. Mental representations make it possible to monitor how one is doing, both in practice and in actual performance. They show the right way to do something and allow one to notice when doing something wrong and to correct it. Deliberate practice nearly always involves building or modifying previously acquired skills by focusing on particular aspects of those skills and working to improve them specifically; over time this step-by-step improvement will eventually lead to expert performance. Because of the way that new skills are built on top of existing skills, it is important for teachers to provide beginners with the correct fundamental skills in order to minimize the chances that the student will have to relearn those fundamental skills later when at a more advanced level. (Location 1767)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice

Robert Hodgson, the owner of a small California winery, got in touch with the head judge of the annual wine competition at the California State Fair, in which thousands of wines are entered each year, and suggested an experiment.17 The competition is set up so that each judge tastes a flight of thirty wines at a time. The wines are not identified, so the judge cannot be influenced by reputation or other factors. Hodgson suggested that in a number of those flights, the judges should be given three samples of the same wine. Would they give these identical samples the same rating, or would their ratings vary? The head judge agreed, and Hodgson ran this experiment at four consecutive state fairs from 2005 to 2008. He found that very few judges rated the three identical samples similarly. It was common for a judge to give scores that varied by plus or minus four points — that is, to give one sample a 91, a second sample of the same wine an 87, and the third an 83. This is a significant difference: a 91 wine is a good wine that will fetch a premium price, while an 83 is nothing special. Some judges determined one of the three samples to be worthy of a gold medal and another of the three to be worth just a bronze medal — or no medal at all. And while in any given year some judges were more consistent than others, when Hodgson compared them year to year, he found that judges who were consistent one year were inconsistent the next. None of the judges — and these were sommeliers, wine critics, winemakers, wine consultants, and wine buyers — proved to be consistent all the time. (Location 1851)

Tags: wine

Note: .wine

Lesson: Once you have identified an expert, identify what this person does differently from others that could explain the superior performance. There are likely to be many things the person does differently that have nothing to do with the superior performance, but at least it is a place to start. (Location 1909)

And finally remember that, whenever possible, the best approach is almost always to work with a good coach or teacher. An effective instructor will understand what must go into a successful training regimen and will be able to modify it as necessary to suit individual students. (Location 1915)

Tags: learning

Note: get a good coach

Gladwell did get one thing right, and it is worth repeating because it’s crucial: becoming accomplished in any field in which there is a well-established history of people working to become experts requires a tremendous amount of effort exerted over many years. It may not require exactly ten thousand hours, but it will take a lot. (Location 1983)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice

But I see the core message as something else altogether: In pretty much any area of human endeavor, people have a tremendous capacity to improve their performance, as long as they train in the right way. If you practice something for a few hundred hours, you will almost certainly see great improvement — think of what two hundred hours of practice brought Steve Faloon — but you have only scratched the surface. You can keep going and going and going, getting better and better and better. How much you improve is up to you. (Location 2000)

Tags: practice

It is never easy to design an effective training program, whether for fighter pilots or surgeons or business managers. The navy did it mainly through trial and error,5 as you find when you read histories of the Top Gun program. There was a debate, for instance, over how realistic the combat had to be, with some wanting to dial it back and lessen the risk to the pilots and the planes, and others arguing that it was important to push the pilots as hard as they would be pushed in real combat. Fortunately, the latter viewpoint eventually prevailed. We know now from studies of deliberate practice that the pilots learned best when they were pushed out of their comfort zones. (Location 2079)

Tags: comfortzone

Note: the best training pushes people outside of their comfort zone

Doing the same thing over and over again in exactly the same way is not a recipe for improvement; it is a recipe for stagnation and gradual decline. (Location 2117)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice doing the same thing over and over doesn't mean you'll improve

The deliberate-practice mindset offers a very different view: anyone can improve, but it requires the right approach. If you are not improving, it’s not because you lack innate talent; it’s because you’re not practicing the right way. Once you understand this, improvement becomes a matter of figuring out what the “right way” is. (Location 2123)

For example, a typical company meeting might have one person in front of a room giving a PowerPoint presentation, while managers and coworkers sit in the dark and try to stay awake. That presentation serves a normal business function, but Art makes the argument that it can be redesigned to serve as a practice session for everyone in the room. It might go like this: The speaker chooses a particular skill to focus on during the presentation — telling engaging stories, for example, or speaking more extemporaneously and relying less on the PowerPoint slides — and then tries to make that particular improvement during the presentation. Meanwhile, the audience takes notes on how the presenter’s performance went, and afterward they practice giving feedback. If done just once, the presenter may get some useful advice, but it’s not clear how much difference it will make, as any improvement from such a one-off session is likely to be minor. However, if the company makes it a regular practice in all staff meetings, employees can steadily improve on various skills. (Location 2131)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice audience listens and give feedback

my basic advice is to look for one that follows the principles of deliberate practice: Does it push people to get outside their comfort zones and attempt to do things that are not easy for them? Does it offer immediate feedback on the performance and on what can be done to improve it? Have those who developed the approach identified the best performers in that particular area and determined what sets them apart from everyone else? Is the practice designed to develop the particular skills that experts in the field possess? A yes answer to all those questions may not guarantee that an approach will be effective, but it will certainly make that much more likely. (Location 2156)

Thus, one of the most important things you can do for your success is to find a good teacher and work with him or her. (Location 2539)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning one of the most effective ways to learn is to have a good teacher

It’s particularly important to query a prospective teacher about practice exercises. No matter how many sessions a week you have with an instructor, most of your effort will be spent practicing by yourself, doing exercises that your teacher has assigned. You want a teacher who will guide you as much as possible for these sessions, not only telling you what to practice on but what particular aspects you should be paying attention to, what errors you have been making, and how to recognize good performance. Remember: one of the most important things a teacher can do is to help you develop your own mental representations so that you can monitor and correct your own performance. (Location 2555)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning ask your teacher for exercises to do yourself

Learning to engage in this way — consciously developing and refining your skills — is one of the most powerful ways to improve the effectiveness of your practice. (Location 2602)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning engage in your practice

In bodybuilding or weightlifting, if you are going to attempt to lift a weight at the maximum of your current ability, you need to prepare before the lift and be completely focused during the lift. Any activity at the limits of your ability will require full concentration and effort. And, of course, in fields where strength and endurance are not so important — intellectual activities, musical performance, art, and so on — there is little point at all to practicing if you don’t focus. (Location 2627)

Tags: focus

Note: focused practice makes a big difference

Focus and concentration are crucial, I wrote, so shorter training sessions with clearer goals are the best way to develop new skills faster. It is better to train at 100 percent effort for less time than at 70 percent effort for a longer period. Once you find you can no longer focus effectively, end the session. And make sure you get enough sleep so that you can train with maximum concentration. (Location 2635)

Tags: learning, focus

Note: .focus .learning better to have a short session at 100% than a longer one at 70

The hallmark of purposeful or deliberate practice is that you try to do something you cannot do — that takes you out of your comfort zone — and that you practice it over and over again, focusing on exactly how you are doing it, where you are falling short, and how you can get better. Real life — our jobs, our schooling, our hobbies — seldom gives us the opportunity for this sort of focused repetition, so in order to improve, we must manufacture our own opportunities. (Location 2678)

Tags: comfort zone, practice

Note: .practice get out of your comfort zone, focus on a particular task and where youre falling short

To effectively practice a skill without a teacher, it helps to keep in mind three Fs: Focus. Feedback. Fix it. Break the skill down into components that you can do repeatedly and analyze effectively, determine your weaknesses, and figure out ways to address them. (Location 2715)

Tags: feedback, practice

Note: .practice .feedback focus, feedback and fix it

Bodybuilders, for instance, will change the types of exercises they are doing, increase or decrease the weight they’re lifting or the number of repetitions, and switch up their weekly routine. Actually, most of them will vary their patterns proactively so they don’t get stuck on plateaus in the first place. Cross-training of any sort is based on the same principle — switch off between different types of exercise so that you are constantly challenging yourself in different ways. (Location 2770)

Tags: plateau

Note: .plateau cross train to avoid plateaus

Benjamin Franklin again. As a young man he was interested in all sorts of intellectual pursuits — philosophy, science, invention, writing, the arts, and so on — and he wished to encourage his own development in those areas. So at twenty-one he recruited eleven of the most intellectually interesting people in Philadelphia to form a mutual improvement club,21 which he named “the Junto.” (Location 2973)

Tags: club, franklin

Note: junto personal improvement club

In the first stage,6 children are introduced in a playful way to what will eventually become their field of interest. For Susan Polgár it was finding the chess pieces and liking their shapes. In the beginning, they were nothing more than toys to play with. Tiger Woods was given a little golf club to hold when he was just nine months old. Again, a toy. In the beginning, a child’s parents play with their child at the child’s level, but gradually they turn the play toward the real purpose of the “toy.” They explain the special moves of the chess pieces. They show how the golf club is used to hit the ball. They reveal the piano’s ability to produce a tune rather than just a racket. At this stage, the parents of children who are to become experts play a crucial role in the child’s development. For one thing, the parents give their children a great deal of time, attention, and encouragement. For another, the parents tend to be very achievement-oriented and teach their children such values as self-discipline, hard work, responsibility, and spending one’s time constructively. And once a child becomes interested in a particular field, he or she is expected to approach it with those same attributes — discipline, hard work, achievement. This is a crucial period in a child’s development. Many children will find some initial motivation to explore or to try something because of their natural curiosity or playfulness, and parents have an opportunity to use this initial interest as a springboard to an activity, but that initial curiosity-driven motivation needs to be supplemented. One excellent supplement, particularly with smaller children, is praise. Another motivation is the satisfaction of having developed a certain skill, particularly if that achievement is acknowledged by a parent. Once a child can consistently hit a ball with a bat, say, or play a simple tune on the piano or count the number of eggs in a carton, that achievement becomes a point of pride and serves as motivation for further achievements in that area. (Location 3118)

Tags: parenting

Note: .parenting

Progress is made by those who are working on the frontiers of what is known and what is possible to do, not by those who haven’t put in the effort needed to reach that frontier. In short, in most cases — and this is especially true in any well-developed area — we must rely on the experts to move us forward. Fortunately for all of us, that’s what they do best. (Location 3464)

I have made it a hobby to investigate the stories of such prodigies, and I can report with confidence that I have never found a convincing case for anyone developing extraordinary abilities without intense, extended practice. My basic approach to understanding prodigies is the same as it is for understanding any expert performer. I ask two simple questions: What is the exact nature of the ability? and, What sorts of training made it possible? In thirty years of looking, I have never found an ability that could not be explained by answering these two questions. (Location 3532)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice there are no naturals

When children are just beginning to learn chess, their intelligence — that is, their performance on IQ tests — plays a role in how quickly they can learn the game and reach a certain minimal level of competence. Kids with higher IQ scores generally find it easier to learn and remember rules and to develop and carry out strategies; all of these things give them an advantage in the early stages of learning the game, when one plays by abstract thinking applied directly to the pieces on the board. This type of learning is not all that different from the learning that goes on in schools, which was the target of Binet’s original project developing IQ tests. (Location 3866)

Tags: iq

Note: .iq higher iq helps to pick up rules and strategies faster but amount of delliberate practice is the most important factor

THE REAL ROLE OF INNATE CHARACTERISTICS The results from the chess study provide a crucial insight into the interplay between “talent” and practice in the development of various skills. While people with certain innate characteristics — IQ, in the case of the chess study — may have an advantage when first learning a skill, that advantage gets smaller over time, and eventually the amount and the quality of practice take on a much larger role in determining how skilled a person becomes. (Location 3896)

Tags: iq

Note: .iq iq only provides an advantage in the beginning

The average IQ of scientists is certainly higher than the average IQ of the general population, but among scientists there is no correlation between IQ and scientific productivity.43 Indeed, a number of Nobel Prize–winning scientists have had IQs that would not even qualify them for Mensa, an organization whose members must have a measured IQ of at least 132, a number that puts you in the upper 2 percentile of the population. Richard Feynman, one of the most brilliant physicists of the twentieth century, had an IQ of 126; (Location 3914)

Tags: mensa

Note: .mensa need an iq of 132 for mensa

But since we know that practice is the single most important factor in determining a person’s ultimate achievement in a given domain, it makes sense that if genes do play a role, their role would play out through shaping how likely a person is to engage in deliberate practice or how effective that practice is likely to be. Seeing it in this way puts genetic differences in a completely different light. (Location 3976)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice

while innate characteristics may influence performance among those who are just learning a new skill or ability, the degree and the effectiveness of training plays a more significant role in determining who excels among those who have worked to develop a skill. This is because, ultimately, the body’s and the brain’s natural ability to adapt in the face of challenges outweighs any genetic differences that may, in the beginning, give some people an advantage. So I believe that it’s much more important to understand how and why particular types of practice lead to improvement than it is to go looking for genetic differences between people. (Location 3981)

major difference between the deliberate-practice approach and the traditional approach to learning lies with the emphasis placed on skills versus knowledge — what you can do versus what you know. Deliberate practice is all about the skills. You pick up the necessary knowledge in order to develop the skills; knowledge should never be an end in itself. Nonetheless, deliberate practice results in students picking up quite a lot of knowledge along the way. (Location 4155)

Tags: practice

Note: .practice focus on the skill you want to learn

The redesigned physics class at the University of British Columbia offers a road map for redesigning instruction according to deliberate-practice principles: Begin by identifying what students should learn how to do. The objectives should be skills, not knowledge. In figuring out the particular way students should learn a skill, examine how the experts do it. In particular, understand as much as possible about the mental representations that experts use, and teach the skill so as to help students develop similar mental representations. This will involve teaching the skill step by step, with each step designed to keep students out of their comfort zone but not so far out that they cannot master that step. Then give plenty of repetition and feedback; the regular cycle of try, fail, get feedback, try again, and so on is how the students will build their mental representations. (Location 4205)

Tags: learning

Note: .learning set out the skills to learn, break into chunks, plenty of feedback and repetition