Being Excellent at Anything

December 17, 2010

Well, actually the title is a little overstated.  I took piano lessons for ten years and was fairly diligent in my practice, yet was mediocre on the piano at best (and that is a generous statement!).  I think it has something to do with no sense of rhythm.

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything” is an article on the Harvard Business Review blog site written by Tony Schwartz.  Tony has done a great deal of research into improving performance and has found “that it’s possible to build any given skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone, and then rest.”

Tony has laid out “six keys” to achieving excellence:

1. Pursue what you love

2. Do the hardest work first

3. Practice intensely

4. Seek expert feedback in intermittent doses – The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments.

5. Take regular renewal breaks – Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning.

6. Ritualize practice – Will and discipline are wildly overrated. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them

For me the word “anything” is a bit of a stretch, but what Tony is recommending above seems to be a great way to improve our performance in many areas of our lives.

Grace and peace,

BG