“Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
Why would I read this book, if I were you?
Is there anything you REALLY want to pursue in life? But you think you don’t have what it takes to succeed? Or get any good at it? Simply because you don’t have a talent for it? At least that what you’ve been told your whole life.
Do you think it might be too late for you to pursue something you are TRULY passionate about? It seems like people achieving great things start early.
Beside kids learn faster and you might not have all the energy and physical ability you used to have to do what you want to do with your life.
Sounds like anything from YOUR head?
IS there ANYTHING at all, that is in the way of going after things you want in life? Things that put your soul on fire? Things that make you feel like a kid again? Inspired, full of energy, full of life?
Then definitely read the book!
It will blast apart all your limiting beliefs and doubts AND, you’ll get all the knowledge and data you need to leave it all behind and start chasing your dreams full speed right now no matter where and with what you start.
Or, you might have no limiting beliefs, but you’d love to learn how to get considerably better, FAST, at what you do, what you are passionate about. Maybe break through a plateau? Get out of the rut? Get unstuck?
This book has all you need.
It tells you about the science behind a talent and superior achievements in life.
It gives you the stories behind “true” talents and explains what “innate” talent really is. (It’s NOT what most of us think, and it has little to do with what we were born with).
It shows you the examples of people who were “not talented”, but achieved greatness in spite of it, using the right kind of practice. Examples, that can’t leave you without an inspiration and motivation to go after your passions and dreams.
It provides you with a practical tool set, you can start using right now to become extraordinarily good at what you love and always wanted to get good at — just because it makes you feel so damn good.
This is what I found the most useful and what I’m going to use to improve my performance at things that matter to me — physical design, health/vitality/energy, physical and mental performance, creativity, super-learning, effective communication.
You can apply things you learn in the book to anything to get good at it.
And continue getting better.
The Secrets of Talent and Peak Performance:
You can’t get anywhere, if you don’t know, where it is you want to get.
You need to get really clear about your goals.
What is it you want to achieve?
What’s your destination?
You might be putting all the energy into the right kind of practice, but if your goal is not really what you want, then when you get there you’ll be asking yourself,
“Is there all there is?”
And that is one of the worst feelings ever! You’ll spend all this energy and efforts going after something you didn’t want in the first place — and that is in my opinion a total waste of one’s lifetime.
Before starting racing full speed after anything — make sure you know what it is you are chasing.
Know your whys.
Another way of saying it — know your reasons.
The reasons, your whys will give you the energy needed, to put into all the practice you need to do to achieve greatness. If you have reasons that you don’t really care about, then when you hit a wall or when there are tough choices, tough times when you really need to push — you won’t be able to do that.
Reasons, your whys give you the energy the motivation to continue no matter what.
Why is it you want what you want?
Why is it you want to get great at something?
It can be as simple as “I love doing it. I want to see what’s possible, what I’m capable of”.
The reason can be anything. As long as it truly puts your soul on fire — it’s good.
Now, you know what you want to do, and why you want to do it — time to do the work.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, practice, practice.
~ Quote by Unknown
But not any practice will do.
Working hard is not always a better choice.
You got to work/practice smart.
You got to make sure you improve, ideally, every single time you practice.
And how do you improve? How do you do the right kind of practice?
You work on the things you are NOT good at. And every time you try to get better.
Some people learn a language their entire life and never get to the point where they can speak freely and some people learn a language in a month.
What is the difference?
There are few, but most common — practice out of your comfort zone.
Learn a few words, some grammar and go speak — go screw up, look silly, get corrected as much as possible — that’s how you learn and get better.
You can’t get better practicing what you already know, what you are good at.
The right kind of practice shouldn’t make you feel better about yourself. It should make you feel like a dumb ass, who knows very little. And every time you practice you try to be a bit less of a dumb ass. And that’s how you get better. Fast.
To accelerate the results it’s great to know the best strategies used in a chosen field.
With that knowledge you can try different things that are proven to be effective, see what works for you, what doesn’t, mix and match to get better.
Teachers are the best for that!
Not only they have great experience at what you are trying to do (that’s the teachers you need, masters of your area), not only they can tell you what’s the best way to go further, not only they are good to design the right kind of practice and challenges for you to improve faster, but also they give you feedback — are you moving towards your goal? Away from it?
What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong? What things do you need to work on more?
Teachers are Catalysts of your Success!
People are the best kind of teachers. But if you can’t get them right now — get whatever it is you can get — books, videos, audios, devices to help you track your progress, to be your own teacher — journal, ask questions, try things, reflect.
And that leads me right to the last genius amplifier.
You got to track your progress somehow.
You need to constantly get updates on your progress — are you getting closer to your goal? Are you getting further away? Are you stuck? Do you need to adjust your goal? (That makes it full circle back to the importance of having the right goals in the first place).
Ideally, before every single practice have a mini-goal and set up some kind of tracking system to make sure you get better today. (That also strengthens your motivation, because you get a sense of accomplishment. Try providing yourself a reward for achieving a result, making measurable progress every single time your practice).
Teachers, masters of a craft give you the best possible feedback.
But use any kind of feedback strategy you can come up with. Make each of your practice purposeful.
You can have no-purpose fun with whatever you love doing any time. But when you practice to get better — make sure you know how to notice that you DO actually get better. Don’t just do stuff — that’s a way to have fun but not the way to mastery.
Conclusion and Main Takeaway.
I want you to go away with the most important message of the book.
It’s not what you are born with or not, that makes you great at anything, makes your performance peak. And it’s not your environment either, at least not the one you were born into.
Your performance at any given field is all about your intent, your readiness, your desire to get great. Exceptionally great.
The question is not whether you have what it takes.
The question is,