The Secret to Being Excellent at Anything

I'm a radio pro.  It's like football but without the violence, although we have head-shots too.  Those morsels of advice that help us get better are often simple common sense.  The sort of wisdom where your reaction is, (slap to the forehead) "Geez I should've known that".  

And it takes balls to play the radio game.  It's all about personality and putting yourself on the line every day.  It matters not what you do, on air or off.  Every job in the business requires passion to achieve success.    

Here is an outstanding set of reminders on how to be great.  These tips appeared in the Harvard Business Review. 

Pursue what you love

Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance. 

Do the hardest work first

We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions. 

Practice intensely, without interruption 

Do it for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day. 

Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses

The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.

Take regular renewal breaks

Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs. 

Ritualize practice

Will and discipline are wildly overrated. Researchers have found that none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.