Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Passion For Greatness

Great article reinforcing the notion that greatness in any area is driven by passion. Specifically, 5 recommendations are given to elevate your efforts:

1) Approach each critical task with an explicit goal of getting much better at it. The example, in golf, is not to just hit golf balls for an hour, but specifically focus on landing 80% of the balls within 20 feet of the pin with your 8 iron. This focused effort is what researchers call “Deliberate Practice”. Practicing with a specific goal of getting better leads to longer retention and a deeper interpretation.
2) As you do the task, focus on what’s happening and why you’re doing it the way you are. Be aware of what you are doing. When you tune out and execute on auto-pilot, your neural pathways don't form with the same energy or vigor as when you are focused and present.
3) After the task, get feedback on your performance from multiple sources/angles. Make changes in your behavior as necessary. Most people avoid criticism and don't seek feedback. Without direction and assessment, you “don’t get any better, and you stop caring.”
4) Continually build mental models of your situation – your industry, your company, your career. Enlarge the model to encompass more factors. Create pictures of “how the elements fit together and influence one another.” Grove, Gates, Rockefeller all had maps of their industries. Napoleon would identify and track the key elements from the battlefield in his mind.
5) Do those steps regularly, not sporadically. Occasional practice does not work. Consistent practice is key or entropy sets in. Hogan used to say that if he missed a day or two of range practice, he would be set back a week.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous