Three assumptions misguide our practice in all facets of our personal and professional lives.

1. Practice makes perfect. No, practice makes permanent. Practice can be wasteful and unproductive unless you practice fewer, more important skills better and more deeply.

2. Practice with purpose. No, practice with concrete, measurable objectives. Make each objective achievable, just beyond your current capabilities.

3. Practice to improve your weaknesses. No, practice your “bright spots” or the skills you already do well. Practice is often most effective for taking your good skills to masterful levels of performance.

You’ll find these and other helpful guides to the art and science of practice in “Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better,” by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi.

The book offers useful, sometimes counterintuitive, but always well-tested guidance on how to precisely engineer our practice to transform our talents.

The book teaches us, as its subtitle says, how to “get better and getting better.”

As you practice your talents, remember to isolate single skills at which you’re already good, then set incremental objectives to achieve mastery.

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