Friday, January 20, 2017

Why you don't have to be in La La Land to believe you can fulfil your potential


If you haven't seen La La Land yet, then go see it! You will be  transported into another world.  Two hours later you will leave the cinema with a smile on your face and  a spring in your step.

La La Land  can also act as a prompt for reflecting on the relative importance of achievement versus love, but let's leave that discussion for another time -  no spoilers here!

So today I want to talk about the real life achievement of Ryan Gosling in learning to play the piano like a virtuoso in just 3 months. This is how good he got ...



How did Gosling achieve such a level of performance in just over 3 months?  Here's the story.




There are 3 lessons we can all take from Ryan Gosling

1) You can achieve more than you think.
You might think that to learn to play the piano like that you have to start at the age of 3 or have musical parents. Gosling shows that this is just not true. You may or may not want to play the piano well. The point is, whatever you want, don't assume that it's too late.

2) You have to put in the practice
A positive attitude is a good start, however you can't just think your way to success. Gosling put in 3 to 4 hours every day for 3 to 4 months. To achieve what is important to you, you will have to put some time and effort in too. Anders Ericsson is famous for the 10000 hours of  "deliberate practice" rule.


 On average, it has been found one  needs ten thousand hours of  deliberate practice to become an expert.This usually takes 10 years. Clearly Ryan Gosling found a shortcut!
 (By my calculation if he did 4 hours practice for 100 days, thats just 400 hours. But that's still a lot of practice, and if Gosling had wanted to learn how to play all pieces well, not just the pieces in the film, he would need to keep practicing.)

Former table tennis Matthew Syed  and author of Bounce: The Myth of Practice and the Power of Practice speaks of the need for "purposeful practice". It's not just the hours you put in, its what you do with the hours.



3) You have to learn the right skills

In any sphere, there are certain skills you need to learn to achieve greatness or even competence. If you struggle with something, maybe it's not about you,, its just that you need to learn the right skills.

Betty Edwards  runs a course for adults where she can turn anyone into a competent artist after just five days. How does she do this? By breaking down the steps into manageable and learnable chunks.


If you put these three things together they will help you develop a growth mindset

Developing a growth mindset can help with passing  exams, sporting success  and many other benefits.

In my book Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology  I explain numerous tools to help you achieve your potential, including  developing a growth mindset as well step by step planning and overcoming emotional obstacles to success using CBT. These can help you towards achieving a long-cherished ambition as well as being happy and more successful.

Much as I enjoyed writing the book, it's even more satisfying to work face to face, coaching people and helping them to fulfill their dreams. A  few weekly meetings to kick start your creative process followed by regular monthly meetings to track progress and maintain motivation can make a huge  positive difference.

Why not make 2017 the year you achieve your own potential? I'd love to help you.


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