What’s the sweet spot for optimal improvement?

 

 

 

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/whats-the-sweet-spot-for-optimal-improvement

 

While practicing, you want to be succeeding on 50-80% of attempts.

Fewer than that and you’re going to be confused and feel like it’s all luck.

More success than that and you’re not pushing yourself.

Via Daniel Coyle’s excellent book The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills:

Comfort Zone

Sensations: Ease, effortlessness. You’re working, but not reaching or struggling.

Percentage of Successful Attempts: 80 percent and above.

Sweet Spot

Sensations: Frustration, difficulty, alertness to errors. You’re fully engaged in an intense struggle— as if you’re stretching with all your might for a nearly unreachable goal, brushing it with your fingertips, then reaching again.

Percentage of Successful Attempts: 50– 80 percent.

Survival Zone

Sensations: Confusion, desperation. You’re overmatched: scrambling, thrashing, and guessing. You guess right sometimes, but it’s mostly luck.

Percentage of Successful Attempts: Below 50 percent.

 

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What 3 techniques does the Army use to instill mental toughness?

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/what-3-techniques-does-the-army-use-to-instil

Via Annie Murphy Paul‘s very interesting article in Time:

1) “Mental toughness comes from thinking like an optimist.”

The program’s key message: Mental toughness comes from thinking like an optimist. “People who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local and changeable,” notes Penn psychology professor Martin Seligman, describing the intervention in a recent journal article. When such individuals encounter adversity, they think to themselves: “It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.” Sergeants learn to analyze their beliefs and emotions about failure, and to avoid describing failure as permanent, pervasive and out of their control — all characterizations that undermine mental toughness.

2) “Resist “catastrophic thinking” — the tendency to assume the worst.”

Another pillar of psychological fortitude is the ability to resist “catastrophic thinking” — the tendency to assume the worst.
3) “Practice gratitude and generosity”
Lastly, the drill sergeants in Seligman’s program are taught two capacities that might seem at odds with mental toughness: gratitude and generosity. Participants learn how to “hunt for the good stuff” — to look for and appreciate the ways in which they are fortunate. And they learn not to judge too hastily subordinates who themselves seem to lack grit.

What type of practice produces peak performance?

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/what-type-of-practice-produces-peak-performan

It’s “Deep Practice” (or Deliberate Practice) and I tend to focus on four parts:

1) Make your practice as similar to the real life scenario as possible.

Via The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How:

“One real encounter, even for a few seconds, is far more useful than several hundred observations.”Bjork cites a psychologist Henry Roediger at Washington University of St. Louis, where students were divided into two groups to study a natural history text.Group A studied the paper for four sessions. Group B studied only once but was tested three times. A week later both groups were tested, and Group B scored 50 percent higher than Group A. They’d studied one-fourth as much yet learned far more.

Via Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To:

Practicing under the types of pressures you will face on the big testing day is one of the best ways to combat choking…

And:

During the initial shooting practice, all the officers missed more shots when firing at a live opponent compared with firing at the stationary cardboard targets. Not so surprising. This was true after training as well, but only for those officers whose practice was limited to the cardboard cutouts. For those officers who practiced shooting at an opponent, after training they were just as good shots when aiming at the live individuals as they were when aiming at the stationary cutouts. The opportunity to “practice under the gun” of an opponent, so to speak, really helped to hone the police officers’ shots for more real-life stressful shooting situations.

 

2) Don’t be passive. Testing yourself is far better than reviewing.

Via Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success:

Good decision-making is about compressing the informational load by decoding the meaning of patterns derived from experience. This cannot be taught in a classroom; it is not something you are born with; it must be lived and learned.  

Testing yourself is the best way to learn — even if you fail the tests.

3) Practice is not just repetition. Be ruthlessly critical and keep trying to improve on the constituent elements of the skill.

Via Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else:

Deliberate practice is characterized by several elements, each worth examining. It is activity designed specifically to improve performance, often with a teacher’s help; it can be repeated a lot; feedback on results is continuously available; it’s highly demanding mentally, whether the activity is purely intellectual, such as chess or business-related activities, or heavily physical, such as sports; and it isn’t much fun.

Via The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How:

“Our predictions were extremely accurate,” Zimmerman said. “This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically. When they fail, they don’t blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix.”

Via Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success:

When most people practice, they focus on the things they can do effortlessly,” Ericsson has said. “Expert practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.”

A negative attitude, not a positive attitude, makes you more likely to learn from your mistakes. In fact, the shift to focusing on negative feedback is one of the marks of an expert mindset.

Ruthlessly critical in practice, blindly optimistic on game day.It’s irrational, but it works.

4) Practice a lot: 10,000 hours worth.

Via Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else:

One factor, and only one factor, predicted how musically accomplished the students were, and that was how much they practiced.

And when the big day comes, make sure you know the methods to resist choking under pressure.

 

What’s the easiest way to increase learning and improve skills?

What’s the easiest way to increase learning and improve skills?



 

Take naps.

Via Daniel Coyle’s excellent book The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills:

Napping is common in talent hotbeds, and features both anecdotal and scientific justification.

The anecdotal: Albert Einstein was good at physics, and he was really good at his daily post-lunch twenty-minute snooze. Other famous nappers include Leonardo Da Vinci, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and John D. Rockefeller. Spend time with any professional athletic team, and you’ll find that they’re also professional nappers.

The science: Napping is good for the learning brain, because it helps strengthen the connections formed during practice and prepare the brain for the next session. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that napping for ninety minutes improved memory scores by 10 percent, while skipping a nap made them decline by 10 percent. “You need sleep before learning, to prepare your brain, like a dry sponge, to absorb new information,” said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Matthew Walker.

 

10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2012 – Forbes

10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2012 – Forbes

10 Simple and Powerful Body Language Tips for 2012

The effective use of body language plays a key role in effective leadership communication. From “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead,” here are ten tips I’ve learned during the past two decades of coaching leaders and their teams around the world:

1) To boost your confidence, assume a power pose

Research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that simply holding your body in expansive, “high-power” poses (leaning back with hands behind the head and feet up on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open) for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone — the hormone linked to power and dominance — and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Try this when you’re feeling tentative but want to appear confident. In addition to causing hormonal shifts in both males and females, these poses lead to increased feelings of power and a higher tolerance for risk. The study also found that people are more often influenced by how they feel about you than by what you’re saying.

2) To increase participation, look like you’re listening

If you want people to speak up, don’t multi-task while they do. Avoid the temptation to check your text messages, check your watch, or check out how the other participants are reacting. Instead, focus on those who are speaking by turning your head and torso to face them directly and by making eye contact. Leaning forward, nodding and tilting your head are other nonverbal way to show you’re engaged and paying attention. It’s important to hear people. It’s just as important to make sure they know you are listening.

3) To encourage collaboration, remove barriers

Physical obstructions are especially detrimental to collaborative efforts. Take away anything that blocks your view or forms a barrier between you and the rest of the team. Even at a coffee break, be aware that you may create a barrier by holding your cup and saucer in a way that seems deliberately to block your body or distance you from others. A senior executive told me he could evaluate his team’s comfort by how high they held their coffee cups. It was his observation that the more insecure individuals felt, the higher they held their coffee. People with their hands held at waist level were more comfortable than those with hands chest high.

4) To connect instantly with someone, shake hands

Touch is the most primitive and powerful nonverbal cue. Touching someone on the arm, hand, or shoulder for as little as 1/40 of a second creates a human bond. In the workplace, physical touch and warmth are established through the handshaking tradition, and this tactile contact makes a lasting and positive impression. A study on handshakes by the Income Center for Trade Shows showed that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. The trade-show researchers also found that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly.

5) To stimulate good feelings, smile

A genuine smile not only stimulates your own sense of well-being, it also tells those around you that you are approachable, cooperative, and trustworthy. A genuine smile comes on slowly, crinkles the eyes, lights up the face, and fades away slowly. Most importantly, smiling directly influences how other people respond to you. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.

6) To show agreement, mirror expressions and postures

When clients or business colleagues unconsciously imitate your body language, it’s their way of nonverbally saying that they like or agree with you. When you mirror other people with intent, it can be an important part of building rapport and nurturing feelings of mutuality. Mirroring starts by observing a person’s facial and body gestures and then subtly letting your body take on similar expressions and postures. Doing so will make the other person feel understood and accepted.

7) To improve your speech, use your hands

Brain imaging has shown that a region called Broca’s area, which is important for speech production, is active not only when we’re talking, but when we wave our hands. Since gesture is integrally linked to speech, gesturing as we talk can actually power up our thinking.

Whenever I encourage executives to incorporate gestures into their deliveries, I consistently find that their verbal content improves. Experiment with this and you’ll find that the physical act of gesturing helps you form clearer thoughts and speak in tighter sentences with more declarative language.

8) If you want to know the truth, watch people’s feet

When people try to control their body language, they focus primarily on facial expressions, body postures and hand/arm gestures. And since the legs and feet are left unrehearsed, they are also where the truth can most often be found. Under stress, people will often display nervousness and anxiety through increased foot movements. Feet will fidget, shuffle and wind around each other or around the furniture. Feet will stretch and curl to relieve tension, or even kick out in a miniaturized attempt to run away. Studies show that observers have greater success judging a person’s real emotional state when they can see the entire body. You may not know it, but instinctively you’ve been reacting to foot gestures all your life.

9) To sound authoritative, keep your voice down

Before a speech or important telephone call, allow your voice to relax into its optimal pitch (a technique I learned from a speech therapist) by keeping your lips together and making the sounds “um hum, um hum, um hum.” And if you are a female, watch that your voice doesn’t rise at the ends of sentences as if you are asking a question or seeking approval. Instead, when stating your opinion, use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.

10) To improve your memory, uncross your arms and legs

Body language researchers Allan and Barbara Pease, report a fascinating finding from one of their studies: When a group of volunteers attended a lecture and sat with unfolded arms and legs, they remembered 38 percent more than a group that attended the same lecture and sat with folded arms and legs. To improve your retention, uncross your arms and legs. And if you see your audience exhibiting defensive body language, change tactics, take a break, get them to move — and don’t try to persuade them until their bodies open up.

If you follow these ten simple and powerful body language tips, I guarantee you’ll increase your nonverbal impact in 2012.

Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression – Forbes.com

Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression – Forbes

Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression

You meet a business acquaintance for the first time – it could be your new boss, a recent addition to your team, or a potential client you want to sign up.

The moment that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes a thousand computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you friend or foe? Do you have status and authority? Are you trustworthy, competent, likeable, confident?

And these computations are made at lightning speed. Researchers from NYU found that we make eleven major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of meeting.

In business interactions, first impressions are crucial. While you can’t stop people from making snap decisions – the human brain is hardwired in this way as a prehistoric survival mechanism – you can understand how to make those decisions work in your favor.

First impressions are more heavily influenced by nonverbal cues than verbal cues. In fact, studies have found that nonverbal cues have over four times the impact on the impression you make than anything you say.

Here are seven nonverbal ways to make a positive first impression:

1. Adjust your attitude. People pick up your attitude instantly. Before you turn to greet someone, or enter the boardroom, or step onstage to make a presentation, think about the situation and make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to embody.

2. Straighten your posture. Status and power are nonverbally conveyed by height and space. Standing tall, pulling your shoulders back, and holding your head straight are all signals of confidence and competence.

3. Smile. A smile is an invitation, a sign of welcome. It says, “I’m friendly and approachable.”

4. Make eye contact. Looking at someone’s eyes transmits energy and indicates interest and openness. (To improve your eye contact, make a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you meet.)

5. Raise your eyebrows. Open your eyes slightly more than normal to simulate the “eyebrow flash” that is the universal signal of recognition and acknowledgement.

6. Shake hands. This is the quickest way to establish rapport. It’s also the most effective. Research shows it takes an average of three hours of continuous interaction to develop the same level of rapport that you can get with a single handshake.

7. Lean in slightly. Leaning forward shows you’re engaged and interested. But be respectful of the other person’s space. That means, in most business situations, staying about two feet away.

Every encounter, from conferences to meetings to training sessions to business lunches, presents an opportunity to meet people, network, and expand your professional contacts by making a positive first impression. You’ve got just seven seconds – but if you handle it well, seven seconds are all you need!

The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) – Forbes.com

The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) – Forbes

The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness)
These six factors can erode the grandest of plans and the noblest of intentions. They can turn visionaries into paper-pushers and wide-eyed dreamers into shivering, weeping balls of regret. Beware!

 

 1) Availability

We often settle for what’s available, and what’s available isn’t always great. “Because it was there,” is an okay reason to climb a mountain, but not a very good reason to take a job or a free sample at the supermarket.

 And sadly, we'll never know everything.

 2) Ignorance

If we don’t know how to make something great, we simply won’t. If we don’t know that greatness is possible, we won’t bother attempting it. All too often, we literally do not know any better than good enough.

 

 3) Committees

Nothing destroys a good idea faster than a mandatory consensus. The lowest common denominator is never a high standard.

 

 4) Comfort

Why pursue greatness when you’ve already got 324 channels and a recliner? Pass the dip and forget about your grand designs.

 

5) Momentum

If you’ve been doing what you’re doing for years and it’s not-so-great, you are in a rut. Many people refer to these ruts as careers.

 

6) Passivity

 There’s a difference between being agreeable and agreeing to everything. Trust the little internal voice that tells you, “this is a bad idea.”

See Also: 

How To Be More Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps) 

Nine Dangerous Things You Were Taught In School

Why Innovation Dies

Comments

  • Michela StriblingMichela Stribling 1 month ago

    Your points really resonated with me. A rut does not a career make could not be more true.

    I generally find that the seventh enemy of greatness and happiness is boredom and its accompanying lethargy. There’s nothing more energizing than a renewed sense of purpose; and sometimes searching for a new purpose can be just as rewarding as identifying the purpose itself.

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  • Anil SaxenaAnil Saxena 1 month ago

    This is awesome. You have hit the nail on the head. Jim Collins (I think), said that good is the enemy of the great. You have illustrated this so well.

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  • sigmadeltasigmadelta 1 month ago

    Well articulated.
    Awareness of multiplicity leads to a potential for self-direction.

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  • Kuldeep Singh 1 month ago

    Very well articulated. A beaut sum up off years of experience in just 6 Simple heading.

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  • Nishanth Udhaya 1 month ago

    nice article…. those are real enemies if our happiness in life… thanks for article….

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  • Elena Thompson 1 month ago

    That’s A Like 😉

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  • Amit BhagatAmit Bhagat 1 month ago

    A nice way to pen down the thoughts..

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