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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015


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Focused Practice: A Success Tool

I attended an amazing workshop that focused on using right brain tools to succeed in the current economic situation. A part of me expected a huge revelation, some new scientific data analyzed to prove success without any measure of failure. I guess that part of me was looking for the miracle pill that creates the perfect outcome in the smallest amount of time. I was reminded again that it doesn’t exist. Success really comes from practice and lots of it.

What does this have to do with right brain tools? When I think of practice, I think about some kind of left brain routine, like tracing the cursive letters in 3rd grade. The presenter introduced the notion of deep practice: a concept written about by Daniel Coyle. Deep practice is focused practice on a skill. The right brain can focus on the skill without be inhibited by doing it correctly. It doesn’t see the notion of doing it wrong, it just keeps practicing it. Six minutes of deep practice is equal to one month of normal practice on the same skill.

How do you get in the habit of deep practice? In this workshop we actually created drawings, something that most people are uncomfortable with. To stop our right brain from interfering, comedy was played in the background as well as music. The sound was enough to distract the left brain from jumping in and telling you that it’s not right, erase it and do it again. The right brain can continue the practice without interruption and without attachment to the outcome. What did this produce? For most people it was very skillful drawings from people who had little prior practice. Talent is not always an effect of natural ability. It can be the result of deep focused practice.

The cynics are probably saying then how come we all can’t be like Tiger Woods? The method to get to that level of achievement is to combine ignition with practice. You have to feel physically and mentally ignited by the skill. It has to stir the strong inner drive in you. To express it simply: a true passion. When that drive meets focused practice a natural talent and genius emerge. The presenter gave the example of Michelangelo working relentlessly for years on the many achievements he gave to mankind.

We are all capable of it. If that’s the case, why don’t most of us achieve to that level? Many people give up when they hit the frustration level. I learned from this workshop that frustration is the first sign of a breakthrough. If you can practice through the frustration you will get to the breakthrough. Many people mistake the frustration as a sign of inadequacy and the end result is abandonment of a potential success. Quiet the left brain and allow your right brain to take you into the deep practice. Strive for the breakthrough; it can create a whole new level of success in all of your endeavors.

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