Deliberate Practice

Ah yes January, when everyone including myself, rushes back to the gym to start off what will undoubtedly trail off sooner or later. Still I don’t think it is pointless to try. In most cases it is an experiment to see if you can hack it or not. Last Jan I had been listening to so much information about the benefits of fasting that I took the opportunity to give it a prolonged fast a whirl, and a year later I’m delighted I did. I repeated the experience this year with another 4 day fast (102 hours all in).

So what am I going to try out this year, well I’ve started off with doing some exercise every day. I believe it was called the streak or chain method where if you put up a clearly visible calendar and put an X on it each day you perform the tasks. The idea is that you will see a chain build up over time and the weight of breaking the chain fights the weight of not wanting to do it. I guess you do need to care about the chain too. It sounds a lot like gamification, make you care about a meta-level feature of the tasks like a check-in or points for playing.

I’m less structured on my learning at this point, as I’ve mentioned I’m still working out my objectives for this year, but it will include deliberate practice. In the Cal Newport book So Good They Can’t Ignore You he mentioned the initial definition of expert was those who’d intentionally/deliberately worked on a skill. This differentiated them from those who just were either good at something or said they were – experts.

I know that this year I will be leveraging deliberate practice to both learn new things and deepen my knowledge of others. I’m just not 100% sure which things yet.

I do expect I’ll spend a fair bit of time on the LeetCode I feel I missed out on these by not doing CS undergrad, I’m working to backfill my knowledge. I’m also multitasking by doing it in C# which will likely be an objective for this year. I do slightly resent that PowerShell is not as respected a language as it should be, so rather than getting recognition for my depth of knowledge in PowerShell I must pivot to a recognised language such as Java or C# because those are taught to CS grads.

Interestingly, and aligned with my love of certification, Microsoft have an exam for C#. I will most likely focus on passing this exam this year to prove my worth as a “programmer”. We’ll see if it makes the list, it could be pushed out by a focus on Python, but honestly that isn’t a better language than PowerShell IMO. I can see the difference between Python/PowerShell and Java/C# but I don’t know what Python gets so much more respect than PowerShell (I know it’s easy to hate on Microsoft). To bring this back to the point of this topic of the post, I so also recognise that writing this blog is deliberate practice of writing. This is inline with the 5 hour rule practiced and promoted by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, there is so much written about it a quick search will undoubtedly get you something recently written, but here’s one or two to start you off if you’ve missed this.

There is obviously much more to the how these men live their lives than these 5 hours but they are important hours. I do recommend Cal Newports books he dives into the area well. I am working on implementing the ideas from that book into my own life. I’ve dropped news app from my phone and I’m consciously trying to undo the years of programming toward digital distraction, in the hope of freeing my mind for deeper more meaningful work. I’ve more to say in this idea but this post is long enough.

Thanks for reading, Conor

Written on January 4, 2019
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