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These simple habits enable you to truly master a skill, according to the Swede behind the 10,000-hour rule

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K Anders Ericsson is the world-famous Swedish professor whose research inspired Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule, outlined in the bestelling book Outliers. The rule described the hours of deliberate practice it takes to become world-class at any given skill.

Ericsson is currently in Sweden, promoting his new book Peak: The art of mastering almost any skill (co-written with Robert Pool), which not only refutes the 10,000-hour rule, but goes beyond to describe the arduous process of deliberate practice – a term Ericsson coined – that leads to mastery of a skill; be it playing the violin, folding origami’s or skydiving.

Once you have come some way towards mastering a skill, the key to momentum, according to Ericsson, is to create the winning habits that enable efficient practice sessions with full focus.

“There are remarkably few people who have truly understood this, and have developed these habits,” he says to Business Insider Nordic.

Planning ahead and getting enough rest is the key to successful practice sessions

After having studied hundreds of exceptionally skilled musicians, athletes and other high-performers, Ericsson claims the most successful ones have made sure they get enough rest, and structure their life so as to minimize temptation and any uncertainties in scheduling.

“Then you will not have to think about what will happen during the day, which makes it easier to focus on the task at hand: ‘what do I want to achieve during my practice hours?”

“Many average students have not developed a structure around their practice, and instead they just hope that the skills will somehow stick,” says Ericsson.

Beginners also make the mistake to try to make too much progress to fast.

“The successful musicians I have met have started out by first doing short, 15-20 minute sessions. Starting small is important, in order to gradually build up concentration.”

Using mornings for practice, when concentration is at its best, is another key element.

“They can get out the maximum concentration by practicing two to three hours immediately after they wake up.”

Read More: nordic.businessinsider.com