Searching requires a lot of grit!

If you are interested in some of the ideas on practicing your craft, check out my notes from Angela Duckworth's book, Grit.

7. Practice:
a[redacted]Considering all the studies showing that gritty people typically stick with their commitments longer than others, it seemed like the major advantage of grit was, simply, more time on task.
b. Some people get twenty years of experience, while others one year of experience….twenty times in a row. Which one are you?
c[redacted]Kaizen in Japanese means “continuous improvement”. This gained a lot of traction in the business community as they saw Japan become a spectacular example of efficient manufacturing. All grit paragons exude kaizen, there are no exceptions.
d. “It’s a persistent desire to do better…it's the opposite of being complacent. But it’s a positive state of mind, not a negative one. It’s not looking backward with dissatisfaction. it’s looking forward and wanting to grow.” Hester Lacey
e[redacted]What is the relationship between not just a large quantity of time, but the quality of time? The graph below shows that in order to reach “world-class” we must be willing to not only spend a lot of time but quality time. Nothing is worse than practicing the wrong thing and becoming great at the wrong thing.
f. Greatness is only achieved after 10,000 hours of quality time.
g. “It takes about ten years to make a mature dancer” Martha Graham.
h. “It takes about ten years to make a thoroughly seasoned press dispatcher” back when Morse code was a thing.
i[redacted]The “10,000,000-hour rule” or the “10-Year Rule” are real to master your craft. This is not a few hours, not dozens, not score, not hundreds, but thousands and thousands of hours.
j[redacted]Masters of a craft don’t just put in the hours, they put in deliberate practice. You do not get better because you are not deliberately practicing.
k[redacted]How do experts practice?
i. They set a stretch goal. Find a metric you are trying to accomplish, then next time beat it.
ii. Then with undivided attention and great effort, they strive to reach the goal.
l[redacted]Experts hungrily seek feedback. They are more interested in what they did wrong, to fix it.
m. What’s after the feedback? The do it again, and again, and again, and again. Until its mastered. Until conscious competence becomes unconscious competence.
n. Management Guru Peter Drucker said effective management “demands doing certain – and fairly simple – things. It consists of a small number of practices.
o. Deliberate practice can feel hard and cumbersome. Consider the words of the dancer Marth Graham: “Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to the paradise of that achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration. There are daily small deaths.”
p. Can deliberate practice ever feel like the “flow state” where you are so immersed in something that it feels effortless? No. Why? Deliberate practice is carefully planned, whereas flow is spontaneous.
q. “The roots of knowledge are bitter, but its fruits are sweet.” Hungarian saying.
r. “Even when the learning is hard, it is not bitter when you feel that it is worth having, that you can master it, that practicing what you learned will express who you are and help you achieve what you desire.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
s[redacted]Grittier adults reported feeling more flow. Flow and grit go hand in hand.
t[redacted]Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow. How is that possible?
i. First, deliberate practice is a behavior, and flow is an experience.
ii. Second, you don’t have to be doing deliberate practice and experiencing flow at the same time.
u. The relationship between deliberate practice and flow could be put as; deliberate practice is for preparation and flow is for performance.
v[redacted]As the 1984 gold Olympic swimmer Rowdy Gains put it: “I swam around the world for a race that lasted forty-nine seconds.” Why didn’t he quit? “Passion for competing, for the result of training, for the feeling of being in shape, for winning, for traveling, for meeting friends. I hated the practice, but I had an overall passion for swimming.”
w. Kids need to learn the value of hard work. They need to “learn to love the burn”.
x. How do you get better in your deliberate practice?
i[redacted]Know the science. Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable:
[redacted]Have a clearly defined stretch goal
[redacted]Give it full concentration and effort
[redacted]Ask for and receive immediate and informative feedback
[redacted]Repetition with reflection and refinement
ii. Make it a habit. This is a godsend, because according to the science, when you do it at the same time, in the same place, it becomes a habit and becomes easier. We are creatures of habits. Either they can be your master or your slave.
iii. Change the way you experience it. Consider the way you become “totally immersed” in your craft.
1. “Deliberate practice can feel wonderful. If you try, you can learn to embrace challenge rather than fear it. You can do all the things you’re supposed to do during deliberate practice – a clear goal, feedback, all of it – and still feel great while you’re doing it. It’s all about in-the-moment self-awareness. without judgment. It’s about relieving yourself of the judgment that gets in the way of enjoying the challenge.” Terry Laughlin.
[redacted]Embrace failure as part of the process. We start as a baby not trying and trying and trying and eventually succeeding. Somewhere around kindergarten, we are being programmed to think failure is bad and we start experiencing embarrassment, fear, shame and more. These negative emotions are the nemesis of greatness. Instead, learn to experience failure with a lesson and joy so that you can get better. Say to yourself “That was hard! That was great!”
I sincerely hope you enjoy these notes on Grit and will take the time to reflect and implement these principles.
Until next time, be a Paragon of Grit
Michael Ballard