3 New Ideas 💡
Deliberate Practice 🏌️♂️
When picking up any new skill, we are told that practice makes perfect.
Repetition strengthens neural pathways allowing us to develop muscle memory and internalise sets of behaviours that at first require conscious thought to perform.
By focussing on putting in the reps and consistently showing up, we develop discipline and habits that allow us to quickly achieve competency in everything from our golf swing to our piano scales and yet there comes a point where repetition itself is insufficient to improve - the point where we must shift to deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice relies on listening to feedback and keeping specific improvements in mind with each repetition. Instead of only focussing on developing familiarity, our focus shifts to identifying constraints and taking steps to remove them through new learning (or unlearning).
For our golf swing that might be working on our follow through or for our piano playing, it could be working on being more expressive by paying closer attention to dynamics and tempo.
In all cases, we should apply deliberate practice by first, setting up feedback mechanisms that identify specific areas of improvement (performance metrics, coaches or recordings) and then focussing our efforts on those areas with each repetition.
The secret to improvement is being mindful. As James Clear says: “Mindless activity is the enemy of deliberate practice.”
In an interview for the Not Overthinking podcast, Valentin Perez and Cliff Weitzman - two Brown University alumni turned entrepreneurs - talked about the approach they used in college to surround themselves with ‘interesting’ people and meaningful conversations: coordinating ‘Juntos.’
The private event - whose name means ‘together’ in Spanish - involved a group of 12-15 individuals from the university who Valentin and Cliff would invite to regularly meet and discuss topics of interest in one of their apartments with the only rule being that there could only be a single thread of discussion in the room.
The two say that the Juntos they co-ordinated were full of interesting insights and ideas and challenged everyone in the room to think hard about the arguments they were bringing forward. It allowed them to connect with the people they were most interested in hearing from and brought everyone a lot closer over the course of their discussions.
Affect Labelling 💬
A study from psychologist Matthew D Lieberman and his co-workers at UCLA identified affect labelling (vocalising your feelings) as an effective method for handling negative emotions.
Using fMRI imaging to support the results of previous studies, the researchers found that by simply externalising what it is we are feeling, we can reduce the experience of unpleasant emotions.
This is thought to be due to a combination of different psychological mechanisms and Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth - in the latest episode of their podcast No Stupid Question - identify two interesting ones:
Psychological distancing: by putting your emotions into words and getting them out of your mind and into the world, you can create a feeling of distance between those externalised words and your internal sensations.
Reduction of uncertainty: by acknowledging exactly what it is that you’re feeling, you can dispel the uncertainty that we as humans hate to deal with.
Next time you’re feeling bad, it’s okay (and even helpful) to just say it out loud.
3 Favourite Saves 💾
David Perell is a writer who runs the online writing school Write of Passage. In this interview for The Danny Miranda Show, he talks about how clearly understanding his metaskills and what he excels at has allowed him to find success in the things he’s chosen to apply himself to: his course, writing, learning, golfing and flying (just to name a few). Over the course of the discussion, the two touch on other interesting subjects including: how love and hate can complement each other, the universal importance of intuition, finding passion through experimentation and being a great speaker. David is so filled with passion and knowledge and it comes across in every interview I’ve listened to. In each one he talks at lengths about a completely different set of topics and that just goes to show how widely his passion and knowledge spans.
What the Smartest People Do on the Weekend Is What Everyone Else Will Do During the Week in Ten Years is a short essay from a16z partner Chris Dixon who explains where the ‘next big thing’s can be found: in the garage/dorm rooms of hobbyists working out of passion - as opposed to financial incentives - to push forward promising ideas. Some examples that he brings up include: the PC, the world wide web, blogs and open-source software. It’s interesting to hear what things were considered to be niche-tech-hobbies at the time the piece was written in 2013 and see how they have entered the mainstream (eg. Bitcoin). Makes you consider what important technology of the future can be found in the garages and dorm rooms around us Today.
Brandon Sanderson is a NYT bestselling fantasy author. In this Deep Dive interview, Ali Abdaal digs into the topics of motivation, passion, creation and productivity. Brandon explains how it is that he persisted through almost a decade of writing 2 books a year before selling his first book at the age of 28 when his career finally took off. His advice for productivity, that being successful requires “learning how to make yourself do the things you want to have done”, resonated strongly with me and his advice to young creators: that you have to be okay with pursuing your craft purely out of passion, is important for anyone working in a creative field to hear.
3 Quotes to Think About 📝
“True humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking of yourself less” - C.S Lewis
“Success in all aspects of life can often be traced to learning how to make yourself do the things you want to have done” - Brandon Sanderson
“Nothing so consumes a person as meaningless exertion” - Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
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