Deliberate practice

Unfortunately, I’m not very gifted with the talent of being attentive. I often wish I could be better at it. I can improve in my personal life, by being attentive on asking how a certain event was, or bringing home a present on a specific occasion. Or at work, where for example it’s appreciated when you wish a colleague good luck on the day of a big presentation.

I almost always think about doing these things, but somehow never at the right time. On the day of the colleagues big presentation, I’m caught up in stuff and forget. But I remind myself again when the presentation is long done.

Deliberate practice is a simple concept that helps you overcome these issues. I first got introduced to the theme during a Leadership course at my current company Dentsu Aegis Network. And I heard it again today during an episode of the Freakonomics podcast on why we choke.

It’s as simple as when you want to instill certain behaviours you’re not used to, you need to practice those deliberately. So I got the recommendation to remind myself to certain moments that I found important to be attentive. Now on the day of  a colleagues big presentation, I put a reminder in my calendar to wish him or her good luck the moment I think of it. Job done.

You may think it’s not that genuine to do it this way, but no one knows. I even experienced that being open and transparant about practicing deliberate practice is even greatly appreciated. People realize you put effort into being attentive to things that matter to them.

It’s a small effort, a small gesture but with great impact. And by deliberately putting those things in my calendar, I notice I slowly get better at it. I even notice that reminding myself and deliberately practicing becomes less and less needed.