There’s a simple strategy for improving at anything you want — a secret that most people don’t really know about.
Consider this inescapable fact: Just because you are actively doing something, doesn’t mean that you are actually achieving anything.You know what I mean: You read several pages of a novel or a report you are supposed to be absorbing and then look up and realize that you haven’t really remembered any of it. Your eyes were actively scanning the pages, but your mind was on vacation somewhere — you weren’t paying attention.
So, here’s the secret that high performers in a range of fields, from sports to sciences have mastered in their drive to improve:
Practice does not make perfect.
Practice makes permanent.
Perfect practice makes perfect.
If you really want to improve your writing or research or anything, you have to practice perfectly — that is, deliberately, with attention and intention. Attention involves keeping your mind on what you’re doing while you’re doing it — actively learning. And intention is having a definite purpose that will give meaning and energy to all your efforts.
So, whether you want to improve your plotting or your dialogue or your mastery of word play, make it a point to practice perfectly—with attention and intention, and you’ll start seeing results. Write on!
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