There are certain Practice Principles that when you know and apply them gives you certainty and confidence. Practice then becomes more fun and takes less time. As a result you have improved results and this feeds your confidence and motivation to keep going.
Here are the first 2 Practice Principles:
1. Find the sweet spot
There is a place, right on the edge of your ability, where you learn best and fastest. It’s called the sweet spot. Here’s how to find it.
Comfort Zone: Sensations: Ease, effortlessness. You’re working, but not reaching or struggling. Percentage of Successful Attempts: 80% and above.
Sweet Spot: Sensations: Frustrations, 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%.
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%.
2. Deep Practice – Take off your watch
Deep practice is not measured in minutes or hours, but in the number of high quality reaches and repetitions you make-basically, how many new connections you’re forming in your brain. Instead of counting the minutes or hours, count reaches and repetitions. Instead of saying, “I’m going to practice piano for 20 minutes,” tell yourself, “I’m going to do five intensive repetitions of that new song.” Instead of reading over that textbook for an hour, make flash cards and grade yourself on your efforts. Ignore the clock and get to the sweet spot, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and measure your progress by what counts: reaches and reps.