Deliberate practice

Deliberate practice is the key to expert performance in writing, teaching, sports, programming, music, medicine, therapy, chess, business, and more. But there’s more to it than 10,000 hours. Read to learn how to accelerate learning, overcome…

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/deliberate-practice-guide/

I was dubious at their title, but this article—a tiny book actually—is exquisite. With an estimated reading time of 43 minutes, there’s a lot in there. For example, it mentions…

There is a place, right on the edge of your ability, where you learn best and fastest. It’s called the sweet spot.…The underlying pattern is the same: Seek out ways to stretch yourself. Play on the edges of your competence. As Albert Einstein said, “One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

The key word is ‘barely.’

~ Daniel Coyle

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Has anyone read the book, The Little Book of Talent, by Daniel Coyle?

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If only

The day is actually quite spacious, if we don’t try to overfill it.

~ Leo Babauta from, https://zenhabits.net/unrushed/

It took me far too long to learn this lesson. Or, perhaps I should practice improving my self-talk: I’m so glad I understand this now. For a couple months early in 2022 I had a sticky-note about “urgency?” on my monitor. That had a profound effect on me. Is the house on fire? …okay, then where is the urgency coming from? Hint, Craig: You brought the urgency to the situation.

But, why? Why does the urgency creep in for me? I make long (long loong) arguments out in my mind about how each of the things that I’m doing, represents an intentional choice. At one time, I used to allow other people to choose for me. (I know, right… That’s nuts.) But these days, I’m working out the lesson that just because I choose, that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice. One choice, two choices, three choices, four, five, six… and the day is over-full. Quick! All these things need to be done—I chose them. Hello, urgency.

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Eggs and omelettes

There is no angst. There is no disease, suffering, and death. There is no killing. There’s no lust or envy or avarice of pride. There are no eviction notices or IRS audits.

In other words, it isn’t real life.

~ Gaping Void from, https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2021/07/19/the-power-of-culture/

But that’s particularly difficult to remember when you are the down-the-stairs end of something monsterous and the up-the-stairs person is going s l o w l y and futzing with their grip. Or when you are traffic. (My omission of the word “in” is intentional.) Or the queue at the security check point is crazy. The children on the bus are unruly. The tire goes flat. The microwave craps out. And on and on. Because it’s precisely in those moments that we choose what sort of person we want to be.

Presume good intent. Trust, (but verify. My fave Russian proverb, btw.) Everyone we meet is fighting a great battle. No one knows how hard I work—read that as “I” in your mind’s reading voice, so it really refers to yourself—therefore, I know not how hard others work. There are lots of ways to aphorize the sentiment, and I use every single one of them, every day, as I don the armor of the Angel of my Better Nature and try.

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Enabling possibility

I feel my title’s use of “enabling” rather than the more common [that I’ve seen] “creating” is important. (Of course, I don’t craft the titles with reckless abandon; There’d be far more, “Wordy werds” and “Completely different” type titles.) But in the past couple weeks I’ve been focused on the distinction between “to create” and “to enable.”

I’ve been sprinkling a Lonely Hearts-inspired call in a few different places as I think it’s time to bring a writer onto the Movers Mindset team. Each time I post it somewhere, it kicks off one or two conversations with someone. Each of those little conversations gives me a chance to refine how I convey my vision for this new role. (As a certain reader would say, how I convey my intention—hi Angie!)

The first thing I realized is that what I am bringing to this potential new relationship is the resources—the raw material that the team has amassed. I don’t in fact know exactly what the new person would be creating. My intention is to enable someone to create something (some things?) from that raw material. I’m not creating the possibility—it’s there already. My hope is to enable that possibility to come to fruition.

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Fish

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.

Age-old aphorism, right?

The first point I want to make is that both options—giving and teaching—are not necessarily viable. If we’re in a desert, my giving you a[n edible] fish is helpful, while teaching you to fish is not; there’s an overriding resource constraint. This is a minor point which we’re all comfortable sweeping under the rug because that aphorism is screaming out that it’s far better to be teaching people to proverbially fish.

The second point is more serious: Things do not go well if you disagree on which is supposed to be happening. If I think we’re doing fishing lessons and you just want me to shut up and hand you a fish—that’s a recipe for, not broiled trout, but rather steamed people.

Anyway, no fish today—gone fishing.

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Intention

Here’s my uneducated hypothesis: the childhood politics of trying can leave adults with the habit of sometimes engaging in tasks without a real intention to complete them.

~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2020/07/dont-try-intend/

My attention has been drawn to “intention.” I’ve now read and heard, from several sources I consider fonts of great information, that intention is the key to having your efforts yield what you actually want. I’ve started trying to figure out what actually is my intention in conversations, blog posts (meta!) emails, coaching, etc.. I’m definitely onboard the intention bandwagon.

There’s a fine hair to split—in my opinion—regarding what exactly does setting, (and then remembering and staying true to,) one’s intention accomplish? Let that sink in for a second. When we talk about intention, we’re talking about something I decide in my mind before I take action. What exactly is that historical decision supposed to do? I don’t think it creates motivation, nor does it sustain motivation I get from somewhere else.

I think it is simply a compass. Once I’m neck-deep in the swamp of doing the thing and the alligators are sliding from the banks into the glassy water… it gets hard to remember why I was draining the swamp. (Feel free to craft your own metaphor if you don’t like my alligator-laden negativi-tea.) A glance at my compass— A glance at my intention instantly reminds me: Alligators be damned, I was intending to … and by George I shall so endeavor!

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Do you have an “ask”?

I don’t always have an “ask.” But when I do, I make it clear and I usually lead with it. This plays out in countless ways, and I’m hoping it’s so obvious that I don’t need to give any examples. Rather, I’ll just go meta:

When you have an ask, is it clear—really clear—in your communication?

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What’s in a title?

Should I write the title first, or last?

Should the title be a clear signpost of what is to come?

…or should the title prepare the reader?

…prime their mental state, jar them out of common trains of thought, give them the first bit of context, …

Should the title be short, or loquacious?

An interrogative or a statement.

Should the tense (present, past, passive, active, …) match, or provide counter-point?

If I practiced by writing 2,509 titles would I be able to write a title for a post on titles?

Could I remove the titles entirely?

Should I remove the titles entirely?

What is my intention for having titles? (Hi Angie!)

Should I have the same intention each time I’m composing a title?

Could the title be revealed last—only after the piece is read?

Email has a subject line; not a title line.

Does a title convey the subject?

…always? …sometimes? …maybe it never should?

Can a subject be a title?

Could a title contain the subject but also serve some as-yet-undiscovered-by-me purpose?

Should a title set the tone?

…create tension? …allude to the subject?

and be short?

Do people judge what I write by the title?

Do people who read a lot of my posts, versus those who are having their first experience, use the titles differently?

Or maybe the title’s primary purpose is to serve as a mental bookmark for the piece after it’s been read?

Wait. What was I going to write about today?

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