The James Altucher Show

Ep. 162 - Anders Ericsson: 7 Secrets of Mastery

April 12, 201663 min
You have no idea. None of us did. Until now.Everything I've done for the past two years is unfolding before me.I interviewed Dr. K Anders Ericsson. You know his work. He discovered the 10,000 hour rule.The rule that says if you do 10,000 hours of "dedicated practice" you can master a field. But what we’ve been lead to believe is false. And it's finally being corrected. Today. 
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise uses thirty years of research to reveal what we never knew before, including:What you're truly capable of, how you can achieve it, and where to start. I started this podcast two years ago. And I just realized what it’s actually about. 
Everyone I interviewed has one thing in common: peak performance. They excelled in their field. They’re the smarter person in the room. They mastered their craft.
Here’s 7 things I learned about how to become a PEAK performer:
A) Train to do things that you can't do   Laszlo Polgar raised three prodigies. But the prodigy is a myth. He had three daughters. The Polgar sisters. They were world class chess players. Two became world champions. It's almost unbelievable. But they actually weren't born with talent. Talent is a dangerous myth with the power to decrease motivation. The Polgar sisters trained. "That's pretty compelling in retrospect," Anders says. Don't let the myth of talent trap you. 
Become compelling instead.
B) There is no can't
"People have been convinced that as an adult you're pretty much fixed,” Anders says, “that there's a limit on what you can do." They're wrong. 
Whenever you start something you start at zero. 
Because you can't do it... yet.
C) Predict today. Just today
I don't want to know my future. Predictions are dreams that become worries. How do you change your life? I don't know. But I'll tell you what works for me. Do things you love. Everyday. And practice.Improve 1 percent a day. Practicing something you love takes away the pain. And time passes. Your future slips in. And you're there with new skills. New opportunities. And a new future. No predictions. Just presence. 
D) Follow your motivating source
Writing helps me sort things out. And allows me to help people. Maybe you. I hope.That's my motivating source.I asked Anders, "How would you guide someone to find their area?" 
He says look at the joy. There's a fountain inside. You have one. And if you follow it, you'll always have something that flows. You can use it to reach new levels, Anders says, "but that is ultimately not the reward itself.""For example, if you're a musician and able to play in front of an audience, and actually feel how that audience is moved by your music, those are your driving forces.” 
They're "key to reaching exceptional levels," he says.
E) Get a teacher…
F) …the right teacherAll the greats had great teachers. 
"You need a specialized teacher with accumulated knowledge,” Anders says.
First you learn the basics. Then practice. Get feedback. And advance.
Socrates, The Polgar Sisters, Michelangelo. They all reached mastery. And made unique contributions. 
But you don’t need a teacher to do that. To make a difference. 
G) Learn by doingYou can't really be capable of anything until you do it.So you have to try. Anders says, "Willingness to fail is at the heart."Find joy in the process.
I was in one of Anders studies. It was on chess masters.
I’m proud of that. But there is one downside to mastery. 
You can’t master it all.
Resources and Links:
Read Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Dr. K Anders Ericsson

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