Being an expert at something really pays off. Just how good are top performers compared to everybody else? 

Research shows in high complexity jobs like professional and sales roles, the top 10 percent produce 80 percent more than average and 700 percent more than the bottom 10 percent. 

But as I'm sure you're aware, becoming the best ain't easy. As Bobby Knight once said, "Everybody has the will to win; few people have the will to prepare to win."
但你们也一定清楚,想要做到最好并不容易,就像Bobby Knight (著名篮球教练)所说:“每个都渴望成功,但只有少数人会为此做出准备。”

And one of the reasons why it's hard to become great is because a lot of what you've been told about how to learn, study, or train is wrong, wrong, and dead wrong.

So it's time to learn how to get better at gettin' better. Whether you want to be a great public speaker, study for exams, or improve your free throws, we're going to learn what methods research and experts recommend for becoming an expert at anything.


I'm going to ask you one question. And this question will probably predict just how good you'll end up being at whatever it is you're passionate about.

How long are you going to be doing this?

Yeah, doing something for a long time probably correlates with being decent at it but that's not the point.

Committing in advance to being in it for the long haul made all the difference. Even when practicing the same amount, those who made a long-term commitment did 400 percent better than the short-termers.

From The Talent Code:With the same amount of practice, the long-term-commitment group outperformed the short-term-commitment group by 400 percent.

The long-term-commitment group, with a mere twenty minutes of weekly practice, progressed faster than the short-termers who practiced for an hour and a half.

When long-term commitment combined with high levels of practice, skills skyrocketed.

2. Find a Mentor

Luke had Yoda. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi. I'm sure Kung Fu Panda had somebody but I never saw that movie.

You get the picture.

When I spoke to Anders Ericsson, the professor who did the research behind the "10,000 hour rule" he said mentors were vital. But you knew that already.
曾为“一万个小时理论”作调研的Aders Ericsson, 说有个导师对于成功是非常重要的,这个你们肯定都知道。

So what does the research show about mentors that most people get wrong? Merely finding someone to help you that is already an expert doesn't cut it.

When I spoke to Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts, he said your mentor needs to care about you.

Here's Shane: In great mentorship relationships the mentor doesn't just care about the thing that you're learning, they care about how your life goes. They are with you for the long haul. They are willing to say, "No," and to tell you what you're doing is wrong.

Those kinds of relationships yield outsized results in terms of future salaries and happiness.

3. Start with what's important

David Epstein put it simply: "The hallmark of expertise is figuring out what information is important."
David Epstein说得很简明:“看一个人是否专业,就要看他是不是知道哪些信息重要。”

There are many components to any skill but practicing them all doesn't produce the same results.

When I spoke to Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek he said: Do an 80-20 analysis and ask yourself, "Which 20 percent of these things I need to learn will get me 80 percent of the results that I want?"
畅销书《The 4-Hour Workweek》的作者Tim认为:你应该做个二八原则分析,问问你自己:“学哪20%的部分可以获得80%的知识?”

When Tim was learning chess from champion Josh Waitzkin (whose life was the basis for the film Searching for Bobby Fischer) they did things the opposite from how most chess instruction works.
他曾师从Josh Waitzkin(基本是电影“王者之旅”的现实版)学习国际象棋,而他们的训练方式和主流做法完全相反。

They didn't start with the beginning of a chess game. They jumped straight to key moves that are applicable to the majority of interactions on the board. This allowed Tim to hang with top players after only a few days of practice.
不同于先打基本功,而是在棋谱上学习足以招架大部分进攻的招式。短短几天Tim 就可以和高手对弈了。

4. "Train like you fight"

When I spoke to Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kenny he told me, "Train like you fight."
当我和特种部队上尉Mike Kenny 取经时,他说秘诀是“把每一次训练都当成实战”。

You want your practice to be as similar to the real thing as possible. And research backs Mike up. Not only will you be better prepared, but you learn much better when the context you practice in matches the context you will eventually perform in.

How strong is this effect? Insanely strong.

5. Use "desirable difficulty"

Reviewing material is one of the most popular forms of learning. Guess what? It's also one of the least effective.

Researchers call this "the fluency illusion." Just because it's easy to remember right now doesn't mean it will stay that way.

"Desirable difficulty" means that the harder you work trying to retrieve something from memory, the better you learn.

Don't merely reread stuff. Practice like a medical student and quiz yourself with flashcards. You're not going to learn much passively. Research show re-reading material four times was not nearly as effective as reading it once and writing a summary.

You need to struggle. Whether it's memorizing information or practicing a sport or skill, you want your practice to be challenging.

When I spoke to Dan Coyle, bestselling author of The Talent Code, he said: We learn when we're in our discomfort zone. When you're struggling, that's when you're getting smarter.
就像《一万个小时天才》的作者Dan Colye所说,在我们舒适区以外,我们最能学到东西。就是俗话说的“吃一堑,长一智”。

The more time you spend there, the faster you learn. It's better to spend a very, very high quality ten minutes, or even 10 seconds, than it is to spend a mediocre hour.

6. Get fast, negative feedback

One of the 3 key components to "10,000 hours of deliberate practice" is feedback. Without it you don't know if you're improving or what you need to work on next. [/en

[en]And don't just listen to me because I read the nerdy research. The most un-nerdy people in the world are on the same page. When I spoke to Navy SEAL platoon commander James Waters, he said feedback is critical.

而且,也不要光听我这个书虫在这说,事实上,那些最不书虫的人也懂的这个道理。比如海军海豹突击队指挥官James Water 就认为反馈至关重要。

After every mission, SEALs do a review of what happened to get feedback. Do they all just congratulate each other? No, they spend 90 percent of their time on the negative: what they can do better next time.

And there's another vital source of feedback: yourself. Always take some time to reflect on how you're doing.

7. Study less. Test more.

Get your nose out of that book. Avoid the classroom. Whatever it is you want to be the best at, be doing it.

Here's Dan Coyle: Our brains evolved to learn by doing things, not by hearing about them.
Dan Colye (《一万个小时天才理论》作者) 认为,进化使我们大脑习惯通过练习来学习,而不是靠听。

This is one of the reasons that, for a lot of skills, it's much better to spend about two thirds of your time testing yourself on it rather than absorbing it.

There's a rule of two thirds. If you want to, say, memorize a passage, it's better to spend 30 percent of your time reading it, and the other 70 percent of your time testing yourself on that knowledge.

8. Naps are steroids for your brain

If you're not getting enough sleep, you're not learning as well as you could be. In fact, research shows there is a correlation between student grades and average amount of sleep.

Via NurtureShock: Teens who received As averaged about 15 more minutes sleep than the B students, who in turn averaged 15 more minutes than the C's, and so on.
NurtureShock 如是说:青少年学习成绩平均得A的学生比平均成绩得B的学生多睡15分钟,平均成绩B的比平均成绩得C的平均多睡15分钟,以此类推。

Wahlstrom's data was an almost perfect replication of results from an earlier study of over 3,000 Rhode Island high schoolers by Brown's Carskadon. Certainly, these are averages, but the consistency of the two studies stands out.
Wahlstrom所的出的数据结论与之前由Brown 选取罗得岛高中3000人所得出的结论如出一辙。诚然,这只是平均值,但两个研究的结果如此一致,说明问题真的如此。

Every 15 minutes counts. Too busy to get eight hours? I hear you. Naps to the rescue!


So you do all eight things and practice your tush off and now you're The Master. Know what else you are?


When you're good at something and you do it often, the result isn't just promotions or more wins on the tennis court, you also smile more often.

People who deliberately exercise their "signature strengths" — talents that set them apart from others — on a daily basis became significantly happier for months. It's not lonely at the top. It's happy.