Here’s a little gem from Anders Ericsson’s book titled Peak. He’s the crazy doc behind the science of deliberate practice and the so called 10,000 hour rule (btw the 10,000 hour rule is a myth according to Anders). His research is freakin’ magic if you’re trying to go from good to great in just about any endeavor. He shares his seven step framework for building expertise and all kinds of other science around the art of building excellence. It’s a worthy read. Check it out.
The little gem, you ask?
The greatest predictor of who will go from good to great isn’t one of his seven steps. The greatest predictor of who will go from good to great is the amount of time invested in solitary practice. Whether it’s mastering sport, art, or commerce, the major difference between better and best is the total number of hours devoted to solitary practice. Practicing your craft alone, most likely, won’t be a ton of fun. Practicing your craft alone, most likely, will feel like work.
So, friend, do you see why it matters the way you define your work? Masters define their masterpiece as a labor of love, as an “opus.” They may not know the framework from Anders and they may not even have a freakin’ magic builder beside them. Masters, however, do one thing much more than folks who are satisfied with good or good enough. Masters make solitary practice their friend. They show up early and stay late because their masterpiece is their labor love. They do not need motivation from another as the drive comes from deep within. Opus is work. Labor is work too. Opus energizes the climb from peak to peak to peak. A laborer longs for the valley and the long descent. An Opus practioner enjoys it all but especially the uphill, solitary climb where, alone, she suffers, sacrifices, soaks in the beauty, and somehow senses the hard earned gains are so worth the strain.
Solitary practice, you see, is the elixir of the elite. Go get some. Good…