Motivational Speaking

14 - Motivational Speaker

Giving credit to our youngsters can boost their confidence as much as criticism can bring them down. You’ve got to be very careful on how you talk to them and what you say, because they feel things more acutely.

Skill building is a confidence acquiring process. Once they earn it, they got it. And once the sparkle ignites it stays lit as long as motivation is.

Short and simple advice, encouragement, setting up a challenge, questioning if one’s ready to do the job, to induce, provoke or add fuel to, or comparing achievements are all strong verbal cues and signals that can boost our mind.

Praise is, probably, the most common verbal motivational cue. We all know how it works and how good it feels to receive compliments. It’s easy, simple and ready to use:

  1. Intelligence praise: “You must be smart at this!”
  2. Effort praise: “You must have worked really hard!”

Both work differently. Moreover, just one really works on the long run.

Intelligence praise is dangerous and must be avoided. When you praise someone for their intelligence you are motivating people to be smart, tricky, artful, to take a shortcut, to take the easier question, to look good and to sustain that artificial image of intelligence.

The name of the game, in this case, could be: “Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.”

Effort praise is a lot different in results. When put to test, an effort praised person often digs in and gets involved with the task at hands. This person will try solutions and test strategies. He will manifest interest, curiosity and willpower. The challenge itself will be a powerful stimuli to perform, practice, and achieve their goals.

Think about it this way: Intelligence praise feeds the fear of challenge, difficulty and novelty. Effort praise amplifies willpower, intensifies curiosity and magnifies problem-solving capabilities.

But praise should only be given when it is earned. Constant praise is counter productive. Also false, easy or empty praise has the opposite effect.

Motivational speaking is not equivalent to cheerful celebration of accomplishments. High motivation language usually does not ignites people. What does work in a motivational context is to materialize, on the ground level, affirming the struggle, the work you put in the hours, the sweat, blood and tears that leads to results.

So far we’ve seen that Inspiration is a burst of energy, an outward source that can influence us into action. Motivation, on the other hand, comes from within, working as a pushing force towards a goal.

The way we may contribute to keep or increase a students motivation relies on a choice of words. A wise choice of words, I would say. Effort praise, surgical encouragement, stinging and challenging, in the right amount, can propel the path to greatness.

What about you? Are you in the right track towards great achievements?

For more on the subject check “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle

Motivation – The Fuel That Keep Us Busy

13 - Motivation

Persistence is the amount of time a person is willing to work to find the solution to a problem. It is variable considering each one’s motivation.

Motivation equals disrupting a present comfort in search of a future achievable goal or benefit. It represents an action now in order to harvest the wanted results latter. It is wishing a result and committing towards an action that will bring better outcomes.

One day you’ll be wishing you had started sooner. Today is the day. Better get busy!

While Inspiration sets up the trigger, igniting a person to perform, Motivation has the power to focus our energy and attention toward a goal.

The environment that surrounds us can cause huge impact on our actions and motivations. Our effort is more easily shut down when we move on a pleasant and resourceful environment. There’s little, if any, work that has to be done. On the contrary, people tend to act now whenever the environmental signals imply an immediate action.

Motivational triggers are everywhere, and they don’t necessarily come as positive primal cues. The loss of a parent at an early age might act as a signal that carries a motivational trigger. It works as an igniter by saying “you are not safe.” And this lack of safety can outpour a massive energy of stimulation.

Likewise, an older aspiring singer songwriter might feel the pressure to catch up the time lost in his teens and propel him into a new career in music by working harder. A poor kid living in the suburbs might see in football or basketball the opportunity to prevail in life and help his family.

Adversity nurtures a person’s development of personality in a robust way to overcome the many obstacles and frustrations standing in the path of achievement.

If primal cues triggers the outpourings of energy which are necessary to deep practice, then talent comes as the obvious consequence:

  1. Talent requires deep practice.
  2. Deep practice requires vast amounts of energy.
  3. Primal cues trigger huge outpourings of energy.

Other primal cues can be found in belonging, scarcity and exclusivity.

The sense of belonging draws people together by stimulating identity and groups. There’s a desire to connect us to higher achieving people. The search for our tribe or a second family brings us energy to pursue the group’s performance and values. The sense of acceptance by the group motivates us to excel. Likewise, the expectation of being part of something greater than the individual sparkles some kind of elitism or superiority that makes us thankful and proud of ourselves. “Now I’m part of the team, the orchestra or the book club.”

Scarcity is another powerful fuel. The trigger of knowing that there is only one opportunity to attend an event, or to prove one’s worth, or to take a sales promotion can determine the difference between inaction and a one time only – “All In Bet” – performance.

Exclusivity brings the feeling that a certain action, job or goal is not at reach of everybody and deploys a sense of uniqueness in our beings. The feeling of being special, irreplaceable or useful pushes us forward. The challenge to show our knowledge or skills ignites the deep practice mode that makes us thrive.

Finally, is there any stronger motivation than wining a lottery? Add a bit of anticipation, let the drums roll, announce the winner’s name and do expect a burst of enthusiasm, excitement and euphoria. “You have been chosen!”

Now that you are feeling lucky, what has been your stronger and life changing motivation?

For more on the subject check “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle

Inspiration – The Spark Igniter

12 - passion

Deep practice requires energy, passion and commitment. So, how can we fuel our motivation, inspiration and creativity to continuously practice and perform on the edge of our abilities? How are motivation, enthusiasm and energy created and sustained?

Where is the frontier between passion and obsession? Where is the source of our desires? Self-Determination Theory will come in handy.

The first source of talent blooming is found in the breakthrough of one successful individual. That individual becomes an example, a role model, someone we can look up to and admire. It also breaks the frontier between what is impossible and what becomes achievable. “If he can do it, why can’t I?”

Outside stimuli to our progress matter. We respond to both inner and outer signals that can be moulded into our new stepping-stone. This awakening is what makes us define and grow our identity: “This is what I want to do; this is what I want to become.”

Passion, therefore, comes first from the outside, igniting our inspiration to perform and inflaming the deepest core of our inner beings.

Musical progression is a random variable that we can’t seem to understand. Why can we recognize fast learners that progress quickly amongst others that are slower in achievement?

Gary McPherson at the “Melbourne Conservatorium of Music”, the Australian “Victorian College of Arts” faculty sister, had studied the question and the answer has nothing to do with IQ, nor oral sensitivity, nor sensory motor skills, nor math skills, nor sense of rhythm, nor income level…

The one single factor that can determine a student’s rate of progress is the answer to a simple question: “How long do you think you will play your new instrument?”

The level of commitment a student is willing to take even BEFORE the beginning of his studies determines the faster or slower pace of his progress. The short-term commitment student will progress slower; the long-term commitment student will progress faster… even when both practice the same amount of time!

This is where Inspiration sets its relevance: long-term commitment to a skill combined with high levels of deep practice grows talent and mastery. And the perception of self is key to unveil future progress. The thought “I am a musician” brings certainty, coherence and focus. It builds a self-image as a performer.

Accordingly, inspiration and progress is not a result of aptitude, genes or innate skills. It’s a result of a powerful outward idea that ignites inwardly and empowers people with a clear image of an ideal future self. “I want to do that. I want to be like them.”

What about you, what does inspire you? What makes you act and move forward?

For more on the subject check “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle

The Keys To Mastery

11 - Concentration

Attentive repetition is the most effective way to build skill. The execution of the action is absolutely imperative and irreplaceable to build and maintain the expert level of proficiency.

So, daily practice matters. A lot! But how much repetition is desirable, needed and productive?

More isn’t always better. Practicing 4 hours a day is not necessarily better than practicing 2 hours a day. It all depends on the Deep Practice state of mind we’re in. If you’re not in the zone, just take a break and return later.

Anders Ericson’s research on the 10.000 hours of practice calculated an ideal amount of time one needs to pursue. He concluded estimating 3 to 5 hours a day. Other researches are not far from these numbers and the top trainers, coaches and mentors seem to consciously or unconsciously move inside these parameters.

There is no absolute truth regarding the amount of daily practice hours. For that matter, quality prevails over quantity. The method of Deep Practice is king. Engage in a focused state of mind while practicing: Mindful practice instead of mindless repetition.

Subsequently, the most important key to Mastery is learning how to practice. How can we raise practice productivity?

Strategy is core to productivity increase. Fooling around with a tune is not an option. As a top athlete in sports that always knows where he is in the field, a musicians first step consists in tuning his instrument, then in tuning his ear.

In order to avoid mistakes one has to feel them immediately. At all times, in all areas of skill, there is only one thing to be practicing: Concentration.

Concentration is a feeling, so you need to practice that feeling. Learn to feel it. Have you experienced a feeling of reaching, falling short and reaching again? What about a feeling of focus, intensity, attention, connection, build up, wholeness, alert, edge, or awake?

Practicing is like a divine dissatisfaction. It is a productive and uncomfortable spot located just beyond our current abilities. It’s a path that makes you stop looking outside for solutions to start reaching within.

Remember: To get access the key to Mastery it’s helpful to be willing and enthusiastic about being bad.

For more on the subject check “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle

What Is Deep Practice – Part II

10 - Chunking

A 2nd degree of Deep Practicing implies breaking the task into the smallest possible chunks. The former idea of Chunking is now taken into extremes.

While working on a piece of music, the deep practitioner will divide each musical bar and study it as a new and autonomous identity, randomizing the execution of the various bars which the piece is composed.

Each fragment can also be altered in to new rhythmic variations. The goal here is to enable the student to link the notes of unrelated series.

The 3rd degree of Deep Practicing comes in the form of slowing down the executions tempo of the task at hands.

For the aspiring virtuoso guitarist this one easily rings the bell. There is a consensus in the community everyone seems to regard: If you want to play faster bring the metronome down to the slowest possible tempo.

The glacial pace of execution is known to be extremely difficult to maintain, but the fact is that it brings perfection to the execution by putting aside shallower forms of practice.

Moreover, going slow allows you to attend more closely to errors, creating a higher degree of precision. This is what makes myelin grow: precision.

So, remember: It’s not how fast you can do it, it’s how slow you can do it correctly.

On the other hand, going slow helps the practitioner to develop a working perception of the skills internal blueprints: the shape and the rhythm of the interlocking skills circuits.

Observing, judging and strategizing one’s performance represents a crucial aspect in the skill acquiring process. Self-coaching (aka: “Self Regulation”) is a specific kind of learning and it can reveal the level of playing of each performer. Experts practice far more strategically. Failure is not a result of luck or something to blame on themselves. Experts built a strategy to practice and performer and when something fails they have tools to fix it.

Do mind that practice does not lead exclusively to skill acquisition. Practice goes beyond skill. Through practice, the experts develop detailed tools that allow them to control and adapt their performance, fix problems and respond to new situations.

To sum up, Deep Practice implies the following:

  1. The observation and imitation of the Masters and Expert Performers by grasping the object of study as a whole.
  2. The organization of the previous information into chunks that empower the practitioner with the ability to divide, autonomize and randomize its execution and, therefore, stimulate his own creativity.
  3. The development of a self-coaching consciousness (by slowing down the execution’s tempo) and the ability to correct errors, build precision and strategize performance to create a better response to different kinds of situations.

For more on the subject check “The Talent Code”, by Daniel Coyle