As the kids get back into their school routines, I’m thinking about what really leads to success—as well as happiness. When we look at people who are at the top of their field, what do we know about how they got there?
Turns out, we know a lot. (I’ve pieced together a new theory of elite performance in this post, if you’re interested.) The key take-away is that elite performers practice a lot, in a really specific way. Accomplished people spend hours upon hours in strategic, deliberate practice. This isn’t just poking around on the piano because it is fun; it is consistently practicing to reach specific objectives—say, to be able to play a new piece that is just beyond their reach. In the beginning, masters may practice a new phrase or even a single measure again and again and again.
What does this have to do with happiness, you’re wondering? A lot, because deliberate practice, especially if you’re passionate about whatever it is you’re practicing, leads to mastery. And mastery is a cornerstone for selfworth, self-efficacy and satisfaction with life.
Take Action: Schedule a time every single day (preferably at the same time) to practice something you really want to get better at. Measure your progress, and get coaching if you find you aren’t improving–you may need a better practice strategy.
Join the Discussion: What have you observed on your path to mastery? Have you noticed that practice had a lot to do with it? Share your experience in the comments.
Feature image by Bunches and Bits.