Repetition is the Mother of Skill

 but Discipline is your Daddy

We all want to get better at something. At least we say we do.  The question is are we doing what is necessary to not only actually get better at a particular task but sustain said level of proficiency?

In his book The Talent Code (a great read BTW), Daniel Coyle describes what he calls Deep Practice; a way of attentive practicing through Mastery through Myelin.  It involves first looking at the task at a whole then dividing it into its smallest possible chunks (components) and practice and memorize these separately. Then, link them together in progressively larger groupings.  

The final progression is to play with time and pace; slowing the action down and then speeding it up. Slowing down helps you to attend more closely to errors, creating a higher degree of precision.  Detecting mistakes is essential for making progress. This error-focused element of deep practice makes it a struggle, a process of stretching which is likely to be slightly dissatisfying or frustrating but which leads to growth.

Similar is Anders Ericsson’s body of work which has demonstrated through research that building top expertise is more than a matter of raw talent a matter of long and repeated deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is an effortful activity designed to improve individual target performance and it consists of the following four elements: 1) It’s designed specifically to improve performance, 2) It is repeated a lot, 3) Feedback on results is continuously available, 4) It’s highly demanding mentally, and not necessarily particularly enjoyable because it means you are focusing on improving areas in your performance that are not satisfactory.  

Researchers estimate that a minimum of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is required to gain meaningful expertise in any single skill; made famous by Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule. That’s 5 years using a 40 hour work week!!

An interesting thing about deliberate practice is that its effect is cumulative; much like traveling on a path.  The more times you travel the more worn it gets, the further you travel the longer your path becomes.  Starting anything at an early age leads to an advantage over someone who started later. 


Til next time!

-Coach Aaron

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Those things we can’t physically see or touch but know are present and often what sets successful people apart from everyone else.  They are traits that generally can’t be taught but are learned through action and/or observing the actions of others.

Studies show that while technical skill is incredibly important, employers tend to hire based on the presence of intangible traits:

1. Reliability-can you be counted upon in all ways, from showing up to work on time to upholding company regulations to simply doing what they say they will do.

2. Flexibility-are you flexible?  can you easily adapt to ever-changing circumstances? This includes the ability to do multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment, often on the spur of the moment.

3. Motivation-how pro-active are you? do you just complete assigned tasks associated or do you go above and do it better? The status quo is not accepted.

4. Communication-Every organization suffers from a lack of communication at one time or another. That’s what makes people with a penchant for effective communication so valuable.

5. Trustworthiness-people who exhibit reliability over an extended period of time are eventually viewed as being trustworthy.

6. Sense of humor-people with a sense of humor generally are able to meet challenges and overcome obstacles more easily. It also allows them to bounce back more quickly from setbacks and maintain high levels of productivity in the face of adversity.

7. Leadership-This is the “brass ring,” so to speak, in terms of intangible traits; inspire and motivate others to greater levels of achievement.

The tough part is none of these traits can be purchased or gained by simply reading a book or taking a college class…hence intangible.  You have to put yourself in situations and environments that force and test these skills repeatedly.  It’s just like perfecting a kick or an armbar…PRACTICE and REPITITION.

Til next time!

-Coach Aaron

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“It is one of life’s greatest joys to wake up in the morning…every morning, With a clear sense of why that day matters, why every day matters. This is what it means to find your WHY. This is the start of an inspiring journey… your inspiring journey.”     
— Simon Sinek
The author of Start With Why, Simon Sinek rose in fame after his 2009 Ted Talk went viral garnering over 35 million views to date.  The crux of Sinek’s mantra is that

 most companies don’t identify why they are in business.  They know what they do or sell and how to do it but don’t clearly convey the essential drive behind the business.  As a result customers don’t relate or identify with the business in return.
Extend this concept to our own lives and we are forced to really take stock in what gives us purpose.  Why do we do the things we do?  Is it purely for money?  Maslaw begs to differ as his hierarchy of needs places monetary benefit well at the bottom.  In his book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks identifies we each have two zones: one of excellence and one of genius.  
Our zone of excellence involves activities we are very good at and perform extremely well but leave us wholly unfullfilled; we do it but it’s a grind and need something (money) to motivate us.  Vice our zone of genius where we feel completely liberated with what we are doing; time flies by and we experience satisfication agnostic of any outcome, needing nothing in return.
Those that know their WHY generally find themselves in their zone of genius more often.  Don’t know your WHY?  Try asking yourself these four questions
1. What makes you come alive?
2. What are your innate strengths?
3. Where do you add the greatest value?
4. How will you measure your life?
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As parents we sometimes can’t see what is happening beneath the surface of our children.  The person we see isn’t necessarily the person they see in the mirror. Low  self – esteem, or lack of confidence,  is a thinking in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent.
It is estimated 7 out of 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.   A girl’s self-esteem has shown to be more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.   Among high school students, it is estimated nearly half of the girls and upwards of 20% of boys are attempting to lose weight.  Sadly, about 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.
Where and when such a mindset began is tough to determine.  More importantly, solutions do exist.  One of the top wishes among all teen girls is for their parents to communicate better with them; frequent and more open conversations…I know I know, good luck there…but it’s worth the try.
People, especially kids, are a product of their environment.  Engaging with people who are positive and encouraging is a great way to boost confidence.  Openly recognizing your children for doing well in school or tackling a tough project let’s them know their efforts aren’t going unnoticed.  Ask them for help or for their opinion; this helps make your child feel needed and a part of the family’s decision process.
For more ways to help boost someone’s confidence check out Andy Eklund’s page.
Til next time!
-Coach Aaron
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Are You Stressed?

Are You Stressed?

We’ve all been there…or are there right now. Work, family, life piles up, never enough time in the day, too much on your plate. There’s nothing worse than stress getting the better of you. The endless list of things to do always seems to leave your own needs last and evokes a war zone between your mind and body.

Migraines, bitten fingernails, insomnia, weight gain, weight loss….you name it, many of our personal issues are indeed stress related.

Sadly, stress doesn’t affect only adults. Ours kids experience stress as well. Signs may include, lack of appetite, not wanting to go to school, lack of interest in things they used to like, or even just frustration with homework.

We know we shouldn’t allow stress to become a regular occurrence in our daily life but it happens to the best of us. So what to do? First, take a deep breath. You’re alive! That alone is cause to be thankful and happy! Hug your kids, remind them you love them and you are there for them no matter what.

Next, go do something. Anything. Take a break and do something active. Get the blood flowing and muscles moving. Biologically speaking, by releasing your “feel-good” endorphins, physical activity works to ease your stress load. Almost any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever, but it’s activities like yoga and martial arts that encourage the mind and body to work together tend to be the most effective.

BJJ, muay thai, martial arts, Omaha, Lincoln, Aaron Cerrone,Til next time,


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