“I’m just not very good at that” – well, maybe it’s time to get good at that! – insight from Peak by Anders Ericsson

Peak-K.-Anders-Ericsson-768x674Ok, I’ve now read every word of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson (and Robert Pool). And, I am depressed! Not really; I’m actually pretty motivated.

This book offers a promise – you can get better, to the point of “good,” at pretty much anything you genuinely and fully tackle. But, “tackle” means tackle by embracing the discipline of “deliberate practice:”

And, here’s the bad news. Going to a workshop or seminar, (or reading a book), is not equal to the many hours required in deliberate practice.

For example, are you not very good at speaking? You can be. Really, you can be! From the book:

Or maybe it’s for totally practical, extrinsic purposes. You hate public speaking, but you recognize that your lack of speaking skills is holding you back in your career, so you decide you want to learn how to address an audience.

So, how do you get good at speaking? The same way you get good at anything. By working, hard, purposefully, deliberately, at getting good at speaking.

Here are the steps (short version):

Schedule time for solitary, deliberate practice — (one hour a day is his beginning recommendation).
Find a teacher. (By the way, I do some of this kind of teaching for those wanting to get good at speaking).
Have your teacher give you exercises to work on – exercises to build steps of progress, and correct flaws.
Put in the hours!!!

Over time, you will not just get less bad, or a little better; but you will get good at speaking.

I think he’s right about this.

So, now, I’ve got to select what I’m going to work on. (I’ve got a couple of ideas).

And, no, I’m not too old. In the book, he describes a man at the age of 69 who took up karate, and advanced to a blue belt.

So, what do you want to get good at? Read this book, and get to it…

This is a very good book to read, by the way.


(I will present my synopsis of this book this Friday, at the July 8 First Friday Book Synopsis).


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