Have you heard the 10,000 hour "rule" for gaining mastery? I am a bit skeptical of this suggestion because if I am repeating the same thing over and over I am likely to stagnate and actually decline in my skills. Because repetition is a powerful contributor to neuroplasticity we need to be conscious of what we are repeating. I recently discovered some pearls about repetition in the form of deliberate practice when reading Peak by Anders Ericsson.
The author outlines and describes three types of practice: usual, purposeful and deliberate. He has studied experts in various fields and finds that their way of practicing creates "highly specialized mental representations, which in turn make possible the incredible memory, pattern recognition, problem solving, and other sorts of advanced abilities needed to excel in their particular specialties".
Since mental representations of our work guide and inform our interactions with clients, it is an asset to have a broad, deep, and detailed mental representation of Trager. There is a circular process where a better mental representation contributes to better practice, which in turn develops skills, which leads back to a more refined mental representation.
Deliberate practice is the key. Ericsson outlines quite a few principles that set deliberate practice apart from usual practice. Some of these are
- individualized practice based on a lesson with a master to push you beyond your current skill level (think Trager tutorial or a master class)
- practicing a bit out of your comfort zone
- a very specific aspect on which to focus
- full attention
- feedback, with subsequent action taken with the feedback
- monitor results.
Do you incorporate deliberate practice in every session? Every personal Mentastics exploration? I'm curious to know what mental representation you hold for your work, and how you practice for self-development. We had a good discussion of this in the January 2024 Tragerology module.
Pop a few ideas in the comments below.