How To Get Better At The Things You Care About

Working hard but not improving? You’re not alone. Eduardo Briceño reveals a simple way to think about getting better at the things you do, whether that’s work, parenting or creative hobbies. And he shares some useful techniques so you can keep learning and always feel like you’re moving forward.

How To Get Better At The Things You Care About

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Get Better at the Things You Care About

Mindset Works co-founder and CEO Eduardo Briceno recalls a time when he realized he wasn’t getting much better at the things he cared most about — “whether it was being a husband or a friend or a professional” — even though he was spending a lot of time working hard at each of them. Through research and extensive conversations with friends and colleagues, he discovered that this stagnation is pretty common. During a recent TED Talk, he stated, “What I’ve learned is that the most effective people and teams in any domain . . . go through life deliberately alternating between two zones: the learning zone and the performance zone.” The learning zone is when your goal is to improve, while the performance zone is when your goal is to do something as best as you can. Briceno believes that both zones should be a part of our lives.

“The performance zone maximizes our immediate performance, while the learning zone maximizes our growth and our future performance,” he stated. The main reason why so many people do not improve despite so much hard work is that they tend to spend nearly all of their time in the performance zone. In the learning zone, one must do what Dr. Anders Ericsson calls “deliberate practice,” which involves breaking down abilities into component skills and focusing on what sub-skill you’re working to improve. One major reason people spend so much time in the performance zone is that our environments are often (and unnecessarily) high stakes. In the organizations that Briceno consults with, too often he sees leaders trying to create flawless execution cultures to encourage the best work. But trying to eliminate mistakes altogether often leads staffers to stay within what they know and not attempt new things. When the organization subsequently struggles to innovate and improve, it falls behind.

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