Where are my podcast listeners at?
One of my favorite ways to clear my head and reenergize is to get outside and go for a walk while listening to one of my favorite podcasts. Generally, I gravitate toward podcasts geared for business owners and general self-improvement — She Did It Her Way, The Lively Show, and Being Boss are a few of my favorites that I highly recommend!
This weekend, however, I stumbled upon the Freakonomics podcast.
Always having a curiosity about the world around us, I found many of their topics very interesting, and starting bookmarking them left and right for future listening. But I dove into one that especially peaked my interest: “How to Become Great at Just About Anything.”
This episode was a great listen, and just about anyone could gain some new insights from diving in. But one takeaway that really stuck out to me was the idea that we tend to become great at something not by repetition and years of experience necessarily, but by practicing outside of our comfort zone; in other words, pushing ourselves to the point of struggle while we’re practicing that thing and continuing to do so — without going too far. I believe they referred to this as “deliberate practicing.”
The idea that simple repetition and experience doesn’t necessarily lead to becoming better at something is fascinating to me. Yet, it totally makes sense.
Think about just about any sport or skill…singing, for instance. I’m a TERRIBLE singer. But let’s pretend I was at least decent. Wanting to become an even better singer, I commit to practicing singing every day for an hour. After a month (or even a week) of this, you would expect to hear some improvement right? Even if it was small? But maybe not. It depends on HOW I was practicing. Is anyone else there to critique my singing, pointing out where I could improve and how to improve those areas? At the very least, was I pushing myself outside of what I considered “easy” songs to sing at my level or hyper-focusing on a particular string of notes or pitch?
Continuing to practice at a level of comfort will keep you great at that particular level of skill…but it may not help you grow and become even better at that skill. Is natural talent a thing? I definitely think so. But I also think that by practicing in a deliberate way, you can become pretty darn good at just about anything.
What’s one skill in your life or business you’d like to be better at?
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