Principles of Deliberate Practice

There's a Forbes article reprinted at CNN relating to what makes people great. The difference is - surprisingly enough - something known as deliberate practice. This means that anyone, regardless of natural talent, can become great at anything with the sufficient amount of deliberate practice. According to the article, deliberate practice is defined as the following:

It's activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

For example: Simply hitting a bucket of balls is not deliberate practice, which is why most golfers don't get better. Hitting an eight-iron 300 times with a goal of leaving the ball within 20 feet of the pin 80 percent of the time, continually observing results and making appropriate adjustments, and doing that for hours every day - that's deliberate practice.

Consistency is crucial. As Ericsson notes, "Elite performers in many diverse domains have been found to practice, on the average, roughly the same amount every day, including weekends.

Of course, toward the end the article touches on something else that differentiates the great from the rest - motivation to do that deliberate practice. That nonquantifiable quality is why greatness is so rare, and is what escapes some of us who can't emerge from our bar ruts.
But the article was still helpful. In particular, I thought it was quite applicable to bar exam takers and retakers. The main key to passing the exam appears to be exactly that: deliberate practice. Maybe some of you can apply its lessons to finally passing the bar.

The article can be found here:

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