Whatever they might be engaged in—dancing, singling, teaching, or doing therapy, top performers make “it” look so easy. Witnessing such a performance inspires awe and wonder, leading many unitiated to whisper about some being lucky, “born with talent.” How else can one explain the superior abilities of those we admire? “Sure, most will readily acknowledge, “the best work hard.” “BUT,” they quickly add, “THAT person has a gift.” Even the dictionary contributes to this continuing belief, defining gift as “innate capacity, talent, or endowment.” What is widely believed however is not always true: flat earth, phrenology, cold fusion, and…innate talent.
Turns out that the factor that separates the best from the rest is the amount of time spent practicing. And not just any kind of practice. Deliberate practice. A planned, conscious effort aimed at making small, continuous, and measurable improvement in one’s level of performance.
“It don’t come easy,” to borrow a line from an old rock and roll tune. If you are not exhausted at the end of the process you are probably not doing it right. As detailed previously on this blog, it requires time, patience, reflection, and—as we recently wrote in the Psychotherapy Networker, support. Interestingly, despite the challenges, the idea is catching on in the therapy world. I spoke with Alex Millham who lives and works in the U.K. not long ago about the subject. Click to read the interview.