The factor that seems to explain the most about great performance is what researchers call deliberate
practice. It is hard and it hurts. It is not, however, what most of us do on the job every day, which explains why experience doesn’t always lead to better performance.
Three things don’t appear to drive great performance. They are experience, speciﬁc inborn abilities, and general abilities such as intelligence and memory.
The top players also got more sleep and practiced when they were fairly fresh. I
One needs to work on skills and abilities that are just out of reach (learning zone) rather than those that are already mastered (comfort zone) or those that are too hard (panic zone).
Deliberate practice requires focus and concentration, which makes it mentally taxing and not likely to be a lot of fun. A ﬁnding across disciplines is that four or ﬁve hours a day seems to be the upper limit.
You also need to learn how to make ﬁner discriminations. Build up your knowledge-base, and your ability to
remember chunks of information that is vital to what you do. Knowledge is power. As you develop a deep knowledge base, your brain’s structure will actually change to accommodate this effort.