Becoming the Perfect Instrument Part 9

Josh Waitzkin on “Slowing Down Time”

The differences between those who achieve greatly and their peers are evident at both the longest and the shortest time horizons. The length of one’s horizon shapes the magnitude of the aspirations toward which one can effectively reach. The quality of one’s ability to see, choose and act in the finest demarcations of the moment… Read more » Read more

Photo Credit: Tiffany Franke

Time is the Medium in Which We Sculpt Achievement

Time is the medium in which we sculpt achievement. The longer the horizon of time across which an individual is capable to conceptualizing a goal and pulling that goal all the way back to effective action in the present moment, the greater the magnitude of that individual’s potential to achieve. Robert Grudin articulates how a… Read more » Read more

Part 7

Going with One’s Grain

People differ. Great achievement rarely goes against the grain of an individual’s particular strengths. Twyla Tharp’s metaphor of focal length conveys this notion of with and against one’s grain: When I apply a critic’s temperament to myself, to see if I’m being true to my DNA, I often think in terms of focal length, like… Read more » Read more

Part 6

Beyond “The Dream of Safety”

Leap Before You Look The sense of danger must not disappear: The way is certainly both short and steep, However gradual it looks from here; Look if you like, but you will have to leap. Tough-minded men get mushy in their sleep And break the by-laws any fool can keep; It is not the convention… Read more » Read more

Part 5

Deliberate Practice in the Making of Large Things

Where a practice session in sports or music might last a couple of hours, a writer trying a new novelistic form, in order to stretch his way of writing, or an entrepreneur learning to build a company in a new way, plays on a practice field that might have a span of several years. The… Read more » Read more

Part 4

What Makes Practice Deliberate

Influence helps to transmit the ways of seeing and working that accelerate progress toward mastery. That path to mastery is fundamentally shaped by the application of what researcher Anders Ericsson termed deliberate practice. Geoff Colvin distills the essence of this well: Deliberate practice is characterized by several elements, each worth examining. It is activity designed… Read more » Read more

Part 3

Shaping Our Influences, as They Shape Us

Any influence both shapes and limits. The sculptor Giacometti described how hard it is to stop seeing reality in the way our strongest predecessors have seen it: It’s true that people see things very much in terms of what others have seen. It’s simply a question of the originality of a person’s vision, which is… Read more » Read more