Directed Practice, Flow, and Continuous Improvement

(4th Post on GRIT)

These concepts have been covered in prior healthy memory blog post, but they are being reiterated here as Dr. Duckworth regards them as central to GRIT

Directed practice comes from the research of Ericsson who has documented that it is not just the amount of practice that is done, but more importantly the nature of that practice.  Experts become experts by focusing their practice on their weaknesses.  Dr. Duckworth provides interesting descriptions of the directed practice employed by successful swimmers.  They focus on minute aspects of the task such as the shaping of their hands and fingers.  Virtually no  part of the body that influences the passage of the body through water is neglected.

Flow refers to the state an expert is in during peak performance.  Flow was identified by Mihaly Csikszenmihali.  In the flow state everything runs smoothly and one looses a sense of time.  One can regard flow as something that can be achieved in certain types of performance after many hours of directed practice

Finally, there is “Kaizen” which is Japanese for resisting the plateau of arrested development.  It’s literal translation is “continuous improvement,” sometimes referred to as continuous process improvement.  Dr. Duckworth writes “After interviewing dozens and dozens of grit pardons, I can tell you that they all exude Kaizen.  There are no exceptions.”

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