LPT: If you’re feeling frustrated because of a new skill that simply requires a lot of practice (instruments, sports, etc),...


I’ve tried (and failed) to get better at reading/playing piano music. I’d get frustrated because I couldn’t even do the littlest of things to help my reading (I was literally at the stage of reading the most basic rendition of Happy Birthday and getting mad when I couldn’t do it). When I instead took away all my expectations and decided that “I’m going to practice reading music such as happy birthday for 10 hours by the end of the month, and see where I end up,” I ended up improving dramatically because I focused on the fact that I needed 10 hours of practice (which would net me SOME progress, even if small), rather than focusing on playing it perfectly and giving up before I even had a small amount of progress.

It’s pretty impossible to do something perfectly the first time, and even more impossible to continue trying after you’ve failed when your brain is telling you that you *should* be doing it perfectly the first time. Having an app such as [Mastery](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ro.mb.mastery&hl=en) for Android (I’m sure there are similar ones for iPhone) really helps gamify the experience, and it’s very satisfying to watch the bars move as you progress!!

TLDR: At the early stages of skills, you need experience, not perfection. Focus on time put in and make your goal to have a certain amount of time put in by the end of a month, week, etc.



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8 Comments

  • This made me think of a blog I read recently.

    Link –
    https://blog.codinghorror.com/quantity-always-trumps-quality/

    The relevant part for the lazy –

    The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

    Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

  • This is an awesome idea! I need to find some suitable iOS apps now but thank you!

  • I think I could apply the pomodoro technique with this

  • Thank you dud, may the gods shine upon you!
    Exactly what I needed.

  • how does tracking the time spend for getting no results not demotivating?

  • Time based goals are more effective, but they are also very unappealing.

    No one gets excited about spending their hundredth hour practicing, there is no dopagenic loop there. I am not saying I have the answers, but there needs to be tangible results for people to be satisfied that they are making progress.

  • Ah, I will try this with learning Spanish, I have been trying off and on for years but I get frustrated with how slow I am at learning it.

  • so you spend 100 hours on that and still failed while everyone else did it in 10 minutes say easy. now you have a solid proof on how you wasted 100 hours.

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