Perfect pitch was believed to have been a gift bestowed upon only on the best musicians in history.
It’s the ability to identify any note not only on the piano but on any musical instrument. Mozart, Beethoven, and others had it.
However recent research has shown that study at a very early age in musical training can develop the perfect pitch.
The ability to learn perfect pitch is born with everybody so long as you have an adaptable brain.
It’s true that children have such a pliable brain that they can learn things early in life and only learn those things early in life.
But it’s also true that a full-grown adult can learn and adapt to things and new skills previously unknown.
Deliberate practice is the gold standard for anyone attempting to reach a high skill level. Deliberate practice can help anyone develop new skills anything-writing, sales skills, your tennis game… Anything.
Purposeful practice means setting short-term goals that incrementally make you better every day, and not naïve practice, which is just practice for a set period of time without specific benchmarks.
Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a long-term goal. And you’ll seldom improve if you don’t devote your full attention.
One of the most important aspects of purposeful practice is getting outside of one’s comfort zone. It means trying to do something you’ve never done before.
An example is from physicians. Many times physicians with 20 or more years of experience have actually gotten worse in their skills. Doctors 2 to 3 years out of residency are actually more proficient at what they do. It’s because older doctors haven’t purposefully practiced.
To become truly masterful, it is best to work with a coach who can help you get over certain obstacles.
You must also figure out a way to maintain your motivation. What keeps you coming back to practice even though it’s incredibly hard and many people have quit before you?
It is possible to reshape the brain to a certain task through deliberate, conscious practice.
When certain stressors are applied to the body at which point homeostasis can no longer be sustained, the body will adapt. This is also what happens with the brain when pushed outside its comfort zone.
There is research that shows that training at a young age, for example, music, develops brain matter that cannot be achieved in adulthood. What this means is that the young brain is more pliable At an early age and can be adaptable.
On the downside, failure to keep up with your training leads to deterioration of the gray matter in the brain. For example, London cabbies who had an intense knowledge of the London area lost some of their knowledge of that map when they stopped working.
Many people live a life of just “good enough” but the lesson is that if you want to be great at something you can learn it.
Chess grandmasters use what is called chunking, a way to view the board as sets of moves or positions rather than individual pieces. This allows them to come up with many many countermoves.
Mental representations essentially mean being able to see the forest for the trees but also each tree.
It’s why many of the best quarterbacks in the world spent hours in the film room analyzing certain positions and set pieces.
Mental representations are found in medical diagnosticians – those who determine diagnoses based on facts from the patient. The best diagnosticians had an intense medical background but also a tremendous understanding of “if-then” statements about a situation.
Novice writers essentially write down everything they know about the topic, called knowledge writing, and call it done. Experts writers do it way differently; they figure out what they want their writing to do, who their audiences are, the narrative structure, what the keyword focus will be, etc.
The best violin students had spent much more time in solitary deliberate practice than just good students. They all agreed that practice was not fun but the motivation to do it was to get better at their craft.
Deliberate practice is different from purposeful practice into ways:
1. it has an established level of performance and not some hobby or job where there are no criteria for high-level performance like gardening, engineering, or business consulting.
2. There is a teacher or coach that can help and guide students to learn how to do achieve at a high-level.
It also requires that people get outside of their comfort zone and try to do things that are just above their abilities. It requires full effort conscious action.
Once you have identified an expert, figure out what differentiates that person from others. Then, try to replicate that in some way.
The 10,000-hour rule was only used by Malcolm Gladwell because it’s a nice round number. In reality, there is no definitive number. Some students trained 20,000 hours to become an international piano champ.
Business skills can be developed as well.
Abandon these three myths:
- You’re limited by genetic characteristics
- Throwing hours at the problem will work
- Try harder
Learn while real work gets done. Give feedback when presentations or sales pitches are given.
Doctors got worse with experience because they had no way of deliberately practicing what they do. Their training modules revolved around seminars lectures and reading papers. But their ability to give care did not improve over time.
Any activity, specifically swimming bodybuilding, requires your full attention with no distractions for optimal performance. It requires intense focus, and focus is hard work and tiresome.
Focus. Feedback. Fix it.
In regards to spelling bees, the thing that distinguished the best spellers in the world from the others does that they stayed committed to deliberate practice in order to become the best.
Willpower is not a genetic trait. Just like natural talent is not a genetic trait.
Those that have redesigned their lives to continue to implement the habits that key people on the path towards there goal and continually motivated will succeed. For example, find your biorhythms and determine when the best time to have focused intense practice will be.
Don’t break the chain.
After a while, the motivation on top of the original can be that you take pride in developing this skill. You may begin to see yourself as a public speaker, or scratch golfer or collage maker.
Make an agreement to yourself not to quit especially when it gets hard and you’ve plateaued.
You can teach a young child how to become an expert in a field through deliberate practice.
One of the first steps is to bond with your child and be social with something that you personally are good at.
Steps to excellence:
- Lessons from teacher/coach
- Deliberate practice
For example, many of the best players in the world followed in the footsteps of their parents. Many also followed in the footsteps of their older siblings – Mario Lemieux, Serena Williams, Bryce Harper.
IQ measures only what is tested on the IQ test. Certainly, a better IQ can help young children learn faster, but that’s no indication of success. It’s still the person who practices more, not the one who had the early advantage.
Children who were engaged in social interaction from an early age showed social skills later in life. Specifically nine months old or more engaged in reading books with their parents. School should be not about knowledge but about developing skills.