Archives for February, 2012
We just got back from a trip to Barcelona, one of the foodie meccas of Europe, and I was very glad that I had just finished reading The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. Otherwise, we might have been overwhelmed by the riotous quantity of eating options. We could have spent all day agonizing over the restaurant choices and trying to decide which one was "the best." Instead, we did what Schwartz recommends: we limited our options. Each day, we perused the menus of two or three eateries, and we selected one of them. We wound up having wonderful, memorable meals. Truly, in Barcelona it's difficult to dine badly. And we felt satisfied and happy about our choices...happier than if we had invested hours researching and deliberating. One big problem with having too much choice is that the human brain hates the feeling of loss, more that it enjoys the experience of gain.
Whether it's learning to play the piano, to ace algebra, or to be a better friend, parent, or partner, the path to mastery is the same: PRACTICE And not just any kind of practice; what's required is rigorous, highly-focused drill that targets precisely those skills in which one is most deficient. This is called deliberate practice, and it's the stuff that changes brains for the better.