The savant is a legend: excellence is achieved through designed practice. When you have found flow, even practice is fun. In the zone you are aware that every visualization-action-feedback loop makes you incrementally better. Sweat makes you smile.
Practice is Purpose!
My coach in Little League baseball used to say--with mixed meanness and motivation--"practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect." Mr. Hunt did not realize how influential he would be on me--now at his age--and designing practice for life and work success.
But perfection is not the goal; designed, deliberate, and focused practice is what will ensure success.
But wait, there is more! It is this sort of effortful and measurable practice that leads to states of peak experience known as flow or being in the zone. Flowing with existence is a very meaningful state, the pursuit of which can define your life and lead to greater skill development.
Whether you know it as being in the zone or flow states, these transcendent moments of optimal performance are part of the way we talk about our sports stars and musical virtuosos. We rightfully attribute their ability to attain long flow states to their many hours of persistent practice and study.
Furthermore, these flow states produce amazing results: Michael Jordan’s sixty-nine-point, eighteen-rebound, fifty-minute performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on 28 March 1990, John Coltrane’s improvisations live at the Village Vanguard, or the proof of the universality of quantum computation by David Deutsch.
Of course, flow states are not the sole domain of the aforementioned groups, indeed anyone can develop longer and more meaningful flow states. Any activity deliberately approached can be done in the zone and these optimal experiences are how practice becomes purpose!
Your disciplined pursuit of deliberate practice reduces distraction and is optimized to build skills, achieve purpose, and increase the length and depth of the optimal experience.
World-class performance means being in the zone: knowing more, remembering more, and acting with complete awareness.
Flow motivates us to practice and improves our performance.
Skill development is both a means and an end to peak performance, both motivational and foundational!
Behavioral psychology suggests that talented individuals do not start by being innately strong in their skill, but instead start practicing at an early age with a professional mentor, see modest advantage in it at first, which motivates them to practice more, eventually practicing and performing in the zone more often.
My designed practices guarantee success if you:
hustle and spend time deliberately practicing a skill,
iterate on feedback,
maintain awareness of yourself and small improvements you make, and
focus on this one thing, your essential goal.
Getting control of life is never easy, and sometimes it can be definitely painful. But in the long run optimal experiences add up to a sense of mastery—or perhaps better, a sense of participation in determining the content of life—that comes as close to what is usually meant by happiness as anything else we can conceivably imagine.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Contact me about Designed Practices for Success Today!