3 Ways Experts Achieve Success by Anders Ericsson
We spoke with Dr. Anders Ericsson, the world’s leading “expert on experts.” An internationally renowned researcher and psychologist in the area of expertise, Ericsson studies experts across a variety of fields to learn what they do differently that enables them to succeed. Here are his tips for how to achieve success like an expert.
1. Forget talent – it’s all about how you practice
“There aren't any individual differences that make somebody more likely to succeed. I think it's inappropriate to tell people that they have been born with this talent and you either have it or you don't. If you're not improving, it's not because you lack talent – it’s because you're not practicing the right way. Comparing the very best people with people who are less accomplished, the things that we found to be different are also things that we know can be changed by training.”
2. Learn how others have turned their limits into assets
“If you want to be a center in the NBA and you're five-foot-six, we don't know of any historical examples of anybody being successful at that position with that height. But on the other hand, if you want to be successful in gymnastics, we don't know of a lot of people who are very tall who've been successful. In fact, the best gymnasts are much shorter than the average person.
“Look for areas where you can find at least one individual who's been able to make this transformation previously and then actually try to learn from what that individual did. If you could find some matching individuals of the same age and other attributes, then having examples of people who've been able to do it cuts out unreasonable things.”
3. Evaluate your performance
“The experts are aware of all sorts of options and they're considering all sorts of things that less skilled individuals are really not able to extract and worry about. They take on this role of basically being their own coach. They seem to be able to do a lot of this evaluation of their own performance. When you get really good, in some ways you're better than the coaches that are teaching you.”
Anders Ericsson’s latest book, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, co-authored with science writer Robert Pool, offers readers a pathway to expertise through strategies designed to help cultivate habits of deliberate practice.