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The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
It’s not harder practice
It’s not longer practice
It’s better practice
Practice does not make perfect.
In the science of expertise, the form of explicit practice that’s
known to work effectively is referred to as Deliberate Practice.
Practicing harder and longer can potentially make us even
worse than if we did less practicing.
Building deep expertise takes work, but of a very
specic type that’s often the opposite of what most
people do when practicing.
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The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
“Deliberate Practice”
Worst. Name. Ever.
“Deliberate Practice”
does not mean
“Practice, deliberately”
Experienced Non-Expert
Expert
Both practiced, deliberately, but
in profoundly different ways
Mistaking “practicing deliberately” for textbook
Deliberate Practice has caused much confusion around
the signicance of practice in expert performance.
I did thousands of hours
of Deliberate Practice to
become this good.
I practiced, deliberately,
for
thousands
of hours.
Didn’t work.
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The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
Deliberate Practice is usually the best
(sometimes only) way to consciously*
build skills from Cant do to Mastered
Given an expert and an experienced non-expert
with the same total hours spent on practice-related
activities, the expert has likely spent a greater
percentage of those hours in Deliberate Practice.
A B
Moves skills from A to B
(from can’t do to with effort)
C
Moves skills from B to C
(from with effort to mastered)
Deliberate Practice
Deliberate Practice xes the single
biggest problem most people have
when trying to build expertise...
*Later we’ll look at unconscious skill building.
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The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
We want this
Not this
Fewer
skills but some
are now automatic
More skills, but most of them
still in the “with effort” stage
We try to learn and practice too many things
simultaneously instead of nailing one thing at a time.
The single biggest problem for most people
on most expertise curves is having too many
things on the B board
Good balance
More
skills but BAD balance
We need MORE on C
(or fewer on B)
Can’t do
Can do
with effort
Mastered
reliable/automatic
A B C
A B C
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The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
Deliberate Practice helps prevents what most other
forms of practice suffer from:
Pile-up of mediocre skills on B
A B C
Bad!
Mediocre skills
stuck in B
The really scary thing about practice is...
Practice activities that are not Deliberate Practice can be riskier
than just not practicing at all.
This pile-up doesn’t just slow progress, it can kill it. Or worse.

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