The three types of practice

Recently, Seth Godin wrote about the two types of practice.

If you haven’t read his post yet, here’s your chance:

Seth Godin’s reminder that not all experts, masters, or highly-qualified people were born that way is encouraging.

We develop expertise through practice and lots of it.

And as learners of the world, we should seek to understand the types of practice, so that we may know which one to call upon and when.

Consider this my attempt to round out the discussion of “types of practice.”

First, Seth’s two types of practices as I understood them below:

  1. Rote practice: Simple memorization to be able to regurgitate with or without emotion when the time calls. Examples include memorizing of facts, lines for a theatre play, or chords on a guitar.
  2. Expert practice: Seth Godin doesn’t call it this in his article. Expert practice is when a person surpasses traditional memorization and can evaluate and apply findings to make something new. They’re practicing their new political opinion or a new guitar riff they’ve developed.

And secondly, I’d like to include a new type of practice to this list – deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice is the bridge squeaked in between the two pillars of practice mentioned above. Its the bridge which helps a person make the cognitive leap from excelling with practice type one discussed above to learning and excelling with practice type two.

While I might call it a bridge to make my point clear, it truly deserves to be considered a pillar of practice too. Still placed between the two types of practice above, yet now complete with a definition, examples, and all.

2. Deliberate practice is a form of taking “rote practice” to the next level.

It puts an intentional spotlight on errors or mistakes uncovered while practicing, making the person aware of them and encouraging them to address them in their work moving forward.

It’s like forgetting the same line over and over in a theatre play. With deliberate practice, you’d notice that you perpetually forget this line, and so as you approach it, you slow down and focus on remembering it. After a few times with deliberate practice, you’d be more likely to remember the line than if you weren’t conscious of it. Another example is when practicing a Led Zeppelin guitar riff over and over, but when you approach a section where you tend to jumble the finger-work, you slow down and focus heavily on getting it right.

All too often we consider practicing the vague act of doing, without any critical thinking. Deliberate practice encourages mastery by bringing awareness and mindfulness to the forefront of training ,and then enacting a plan to improve.

Next time you sit down to practice something – whether an instrument, writing, painting, singing, or anything else you want to master – consider which level of practice you may need to exercise and when.

Right now, it’s like this.

I try to use the Calm meditation app every day.

If you’ve attempted meditating, you know why I said: “try to.” Life’s already jam-packed, and there’s so much to do, finding 10 minutes to sit and be still is usually the first thing I scrap when I’m low on time.

After more than a year of steady commitment to meditation, I’m still finding my way.

Although, I’m now beginning to enjoy the journey. Being able to find my breath and ground myself in times of chaos or becoming a spectator to my thoughts are two of my favorite additions to my mental toolbelt.

Though today, I am reminded of another appreciation I have, and that’s for Calm’s “Daily Calm” feature. At the end of each 10-minute “Daily Calm” meditation, there’s an inspiring and thought-provoking story that the narrator, Tamara, includes at the end. Here is today’s story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if life went exactly as we wish.

If everyone did exactly as we wanted, and there was no traffic or loud construction, and the weather was always perfect. Unfortunately, rare is the day when we experience zero conflict. So in order to find peace, it’s important to become *flexible* to our circumstances.

I’ll share a brief story that speaks to this effort.

Early one morning, an intrepid traveler walked down a long and dusty road. Before long, he came upon a shepherd tending to his flock. The traveler asked, “What kind of weather are we going to have today?” The shepherd answered, “The kind of weather I like.” The traveler asked, “But how do you know it will be the kind of weather you like?” The shepherd answered,” Having found out sir that I cannot always get what I like, I have learned to always like what I get. So I am quite sure we will have the kind of weather I like.”

The shepherd shows to be open and flexible to what life gives him. By accepting what he couldn’t change, he practiced nonresistance. It was as though his personal mantra is “Right now, it’s like this.”

So the next time life throws you a curve ball and you wake up to noisy construction, or it rains on the day you’ve planned an outdoor bash. Try calling on that phrase, “Right now, it’s like this.” Do your best to bring a spirit of nonresistance to the situations you can’t change and challenge yourself to accept what is.

In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longboat, “The best thing you can do when it rains is let it rain.”

Announcing, a new way to help America grow and scale

Today is the first day in a long journey toward helping bring more opportunity to Americans.

That’s why I’m excited to announce a new side-project of mine – Tech Job Training for Americans.

The goal of Tech Job Training for Americans:

The mission is to support people who are looking to break into the world of tech, so that we together, can transform the way America grows.

I’ll be developing actionable strategies and guides for people to follow to help them learn where their next big opportunity lies. There will be cultivated lists of free educational resources, raw guidance on ways to break into the industry, and more direction on how to get and keep a tech job.


Why am I doing this?

Over the past two months, I’ve had some personal transformations. I’ve left a tech company that I worked at for 6.5 years and loved in search of something more. A bigger challenge with a steep learning curve, and hopefully, a way to give back too. My fiance and I also traveled around the US for ~50 days, and we ended our trip with our wedding in New Hampshire.

Throughout all of my travels and for the past many months, one thing continued to ring true – America needs our next “kaizen.” If you’re not familiar with the term kaizen, it’s Japanese and it means “change for better.” Don’t get me wrong, American is excellent (hey, we’re still here and not in Australia – right?), but based on the travels around the entire United States, we saw way too many cities and towns that were once thriving and now barely surviving. We saw too many strip malls with broken windows, battered doors, and a general lack of vibrancy. Seeing this firsthand was a giant and jarring juxtaposition to my comfortable situation in Boston that was growing and thriving.

I want to help us create change. Consider this, over the past few decades China has gone from a manufacturing economy to a services economy. Until 2015, China was the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with growth rates averaging 10% over 30 years.they had year over year growth of 10% Their middle class has grown tremendously and continues to do so. This might be why you see so many people purchasing real estate in your area, and their streets have twice as many cranes as my hometown of Boston.

How did China gain their edge?  Their hard work ethic and ability to adapt to the changing world economy around them.

It’s time for us to do the same.

This is why I’m developing Tech Job Training for Americans. In my free time, I’ll be adding content which will provide education, direction, jobs, networking, and more. If you’re interested in helping – feel free to reach out via either “Contact Us” form on this site or that one. Or if you know someone who could benefit, send them to the website – or better yet – a link to the market research survey I’ve started.

Why tech training?

Technology drives innovation which helps companies grow, enabling people to grow too.

Right now (10/10/17), American wages are growing, unemployment is decreasing, jobs are being created, and the stock market is higher than it’s ever been.

However, if you dig into other economic metrics, they tell a different story; not everyone is benefiting from this economic growth.

What else is going on?

  • The median household income in 2016 was$53,130. Less than half of what the tech wages were that year. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, EMSI, and CompTIA; estimates for 2016
  • The average household income for the poorest fifth of households decreased by $571 over the decade that ended last year, adjusting for inflation.
  • Racial disparities also have increased. The bureau reported that the median income for African-American households has fallen by 1.6 percent since 1999. The adjusted numbers provided by the Economic Policy Institute pegged the drop at 7.5 percent. Source: US Census Bureau
  • Double-digit percentages of people are still living in poverty. 12.7% in 2016 – mainly stagnant, and higher than from 2007. Source: US Census Bureau
  • Mortality rates are climbing for middle-aged white Americans with no more than a high school education.
  • High-paying tech jobs are saturating major cities, leaving lop-sided cities. These uneven economies result in only people who can afford to live there work in tech and are beginning to lack diversity of people, work, or thought.

I’m not the only one talking about this. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was recently featured on Jim Kramer’s Mad Money and discussed the need for improved job training – and how it needs to be in technology.

According to Time magazine, Doctors and scientists have used technology to tackle problems that once seemed insurmountable. As well as the fact that technology can help save the planet, or destroy it.

Technology companies have disrupted too many industries to count including the tax cabs (uber/lyft), real estate (redfin), automobile (tesla), financial planning (mint/acorns), etc.

It’s time for us to educate our nation, develop new regulation,  and build new and powerful job training programs – which is the sole purpose of this website – to truly make America great again.