In this blog post I would like to write about a book that I haven’t as yet read.
The book is Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Ericsson is a researcher and a scholar who has devoted his career to answering the question – What’s the best way to get good at a skill?
I’ll be reading the book soon but from what I gather from blogs and reviews is that the book makes a case for mastering the fundamentals one at a time. The task of mastering the basics is made easier – in fact made possible – by having mental representations of each of the basic skills. So, for example, if you are learning martial arts you need to repeat the basics over and over, one at a time, until you have mastered them. And when you have gained the necessary expertise you develop a feel for the skill that you have learned. Then you can go ahead and add another slightly more advanced skill which will take you forward. Rinse and repeat until you have become a master.
This is a very dry and concise summary of what I have gathered from my online research. But the book is acclaimed as being truly ground breaking. I will quote from a blog post in the website – rationaldharma.com
This style of hyper-effective training is called deliberate practice, and it applies just as well to meditation as any other skill. Apart from saving you literally thousands of hours of time of ineffective practice, a good understanding of its principles will allow you to see real, fast, fun, and extremely encouraging progress in your practice.
This information is an extraordinary gift. A clear scientific understanding of how to build expertise has not been available for the whole of human history up until now. Those extraordinary musicians, Olympians, and other heroic experts who came before us were merely those vanishing minority who, by chance or good intuition, kept to the principles of deliberate practice. These principles are now well understood and available for our use. Real meditative expertise is within the grasp of everybody who understands and applies these principles, and this blog is intended to give you an applicable understanding of them.
As you may have guessed, the reason I why I researched the subject was that I have not progressed in my meditation practice.
I have been meditating – with some amount of sincerity at least – for the past so many years – but I haven’t made any progress. The above blog mentions that this is not uncommon and that many meditation masters themselves are unable to guide such students in a fruitful way. But the principles of Peak can be applied I should be able to master meditation now by making the necessary changes.
These principles are applicable to any skill – learning music, boxing, martial arts, taxidermy – anything at all. Parents, educators, trainers, coaches or anybody at all who is either wanting to learn or teach a difficult art or profession can apply the principles of this book with profit.
I’ll end this post with a quote from the blurb at Amazon.in
Anders Ericsson has made a career studying chess champions, violin virtuosos, star athletes, and memory mavens. Peak distils three decades of myth-shattering research into a powerful learning strategy that is fundamentally different from the way people traditionally think about acquiring new abilities. Whether you want to stand out at work, improve your athletic or musical performance, or help your child achieve academic goals, Ericsson’s revolutionary methods will show you how to improve at almost any skill that matters to you.
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