Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

A successful man is one who can
lay a firm foundation with the
bricks others have thrown at him.

David McClure Brinkley

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talent is Overrated?

That's what Geoff Colvin says. Read more here.

The idea of "deliberate practice" seems to mirror what we're supposed to be doing with our swimmers.

Can you see how Colvin's eight (8) characteristics of deliberate practice tie in with the way outstanding swimming programs teach and train their athletes?

An Understanding of Deliberate Practice
A summarization of Colvin’s eight characteristics of deliberate practice follow below. Readers will find a more in-depth explanation as well as a number of examples in Colvin’s original article.

“Deliberate practice is designed specifically to improve performance with the key word being ‘designed.’ The essence of deliberate practice is continually stretching an individual just beyond his or her current abilities. By contrast, deliberate practice requires that one identify certain sharply defined elements of performance that need to be improved, and then work intently on them. The great performers isolate remarkably specific aspects of what they do and focus on just those things until they’re improved; then it’s on to the next aspect.”

“Deliberate practice can be repeated. High repetition is the most important difference between deliberate practice of a task and performing the task for real, when it counts. One is the choice of a properly demanding activity just beyond our current abilities. The other is the amount of repetition.”

“Feedback on results is continuously available.” Though this is obvious, it is “not nearly as simple as it might seem, especially when results require interpretation. In many important situations, a teacher, coach, or mentor is vital for providing crucial feedback.”

“It’s highly demanding mentally. Deliberate practice is above all an effort of focus and concentration. That is what makes it ‘deliberate.’ Continually seeking exactly those elements of performance that are unsatisfactory and then trying one’s hardest to make them better places enormous strains on anyone’s mental abilities. The work is so great that it seems no one can sustain it for very long.”

“It’s hard. This follows inescapably from the other characteristics of deliberate practice, which could be described as a recipe for not having fun. Doing things we know how to do well is enjoyable, and that’s exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands. Instead of doing what we’re good at, we insistently seek out what we’re not good at.”

There is a definitive ‘before the work’ component. “Self-regulation begins with setting goals – not big, life-directing goals, but more immediate goals for what you’re going to be doing today. In the research, the poorest performers don’t set goals at all; they just slog through their work. Mediocre performers set goals that are general and are often focused on simply achieving a good outcome. The best performers set goals that are not about the outcome but rather about the process of reaching the outcome.”

There is a ‘during the work’ phase. “The most important self-regulatory skill that top performers in every field use during their work is self-observation. Even in purely mental work, the best performers observe themselves closely. They are able to monitor what is happening in their own minds and ask how it’s going. Researchers call this metacognition – knowledge about your own knowledge, thinking about your own thinking. Top performers do this much more systematically than others do; it’s an established part of their routine.”

There is an ‘after the work’ component as well. “Practice activities are worthless without useful feedback about the results. These must be self-evaluations” and “the best performers judge themselves against a standard that’s relevant for what they’re trying to achieve. Sometimes they compare their performance with their own personal best; sometimes they compare it with the performance of competitors they’re facing or expect to face; sometimes they compare it with the best known performance by anyone in the field.”

Quote of the Day

Deeds, not stones, are the true
monuments of the great.

John Lothrop Motley

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.

General Douglas MacArthur

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Quote of the Day

I have seen that it is not man who is impotent
in the struggle against evil, but the power of
evil that is impotent in the struggle against man.

Vasily Semyonovich Grossman

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Not the power to remember, but its
very opposite, the power to forget, is a
necessary condition for our existence.

Sholem Asch

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

Obviously crime pays, or there'd be no crime.

George Gordon Battle Liddy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

Abuse a man unjustly, and you
will make friends for him.

Edgar Watson "E.W." Howe

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quote of the Day

About the time we think we can make
ends meet, somebody moves the ends.

Herbert Clark Hoover

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

Advertising may be described as the science
of arresting the human intelligence
long enough to get money from it.

Stephen Butler Leacock

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger
men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your
powers. Pray for powers equal to your
tasks. Then the doing of your work
shall be no miracle, but you
shall be the miracle.

Phillips Brooks

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

No matter what side of the argument you
are on, you always find people on your
side that you wish were on the other.

Jascha Heifetz

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

The attempt to combine wisdom and power
has only rarely been successful and
then only for a short while.

Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote of the Day

The performance of our National Team athletes
and their attempt to do the ultimate -
win a gold medal at the Olympic Games -
is more important than money.

Mark Schubert

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

Flattery is like cologne water,
to be smelt of, not swallowed.

Henry Wheeler Shaw, a.k.a. Josh Billings

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

To understand a new idea,
break an old habit.

Nathan Eugene Pinchback "Jean" Toomer

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

Nothing is worse than active ignorance.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quote of the Day (thanks JB)

State is the name of the coldest of all monsters.
Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth:
"I, the state, am the people."

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

In order that people may be happy in their
work, these three things are needed:
They must be fit for it. They must
not do too much of it. And they
must have a sense of success in it.

John Ruskin

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

Duty is the most sublime word in
our language. Do your duty in all
things. You cannot do more.
You should never wish to do less.

General Robert Edward Lee

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quote of the Day

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong
men believe in cause and effect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 08, 2010

Quote of the Day

I have no particular affinity with any number -
other than one, of course.

Jenson Alexander Lyons Button

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Quote of the Day

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity
is the bone shared with the dog, when
you are just as hungry as the dog.

John "Jack" London

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Quote of the Day

It is difficult to produce a television documentary
that is both incisive and probing when every
twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve
dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.

Rodman Edward "Rod" Serling

Friday, November 05, 2010

Quote of the Day

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide
the conditions in which they can learn.

Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Quote of the Day

The more freedom we enjoy, the greater
the responsibility we bear, toward
others as well as ourselves.

Óscar Rafael de Jesús Arias Sánchez

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Quote of the Day

Most people have seen worse things in private
than they pretend to be shocked at in public.

Edgar Watson "E.W." Howe

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Quote of the Day

In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we
become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia
until ultimately we become enslaved by it.

Robert Anson Heinlein

Monday, November 01, 2010

Quote of the Day

The secret of a good life is to have the
right loyalties and hold them in
the right scale of values.

Norman Mattoon Thomas