Knowing how to be excellent at anything sounds too good to be true, but author Tony Schwartz has provided us with six ways to do just that. Through his work with many organisations, he has found that people can build a particular skill in the same way we would a muscle: ‘push past your comfort zone, and then rest’.
Schwartz draws on research by high performance expert Anders Ericsson who firmly believes that it is practice that makes perfect, not our inherited genes or natural talents. In a blog for the Harvard Business Review Schwartz says:
If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, along with frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures… The reward is that being really good at something you’ve earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.
Schwarz then mentions that ‘practice is not only the most important ingredient but also the most difficult and the least intrinsically enjoyable.’ I knew there was a catch somewhere.
This approach seems to favour the Nurture rather than Nature side of the debate. However, the drive and desire to reach the top has to come from somewhere and I believe that having inherited this gene, at least, will aid you in your quest immensely. Is there any hope for those of us with an inherent procrastination gene I wonder?