Issue 118

Grassroots with passion • 9

But don’t analyse till you’re paralysed! Just do it! That’s the key! What pulls the earlier ideas together is the ‘Power of Habit.’ Instil within us the mindset to grab any opportunity to practise. TRUST YOUR GUT ‘BLINK’ relates to how we have innate intuition to decide certain outcomes on-the-spot promptly. It means, at times, we don’t have to think much.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT First, the Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance highlights how ‘Practice makes perfect’. But it’s the kind of practice that matters! Second, ‘BLINK: The Power of Thinking without Thinking’ by Malcolm Gladwell taught me that our ability to gauge what is really important in a very narrow time period can be quite effective! Here’s an example from ‘BLINK’ : An USfiredepartmentcommanderwas interviewed about an experience he had. A fire had broken out in the kitchen of a house with a basement. The commander and his men charged into the house. As they tried to douse the flames, the fire didn’t die. The commander realised instantly that something was wrong. He immediately shouted for his men to evacuate. And as they did, the floor they had been standing on collapsed! The commander thought his decision was due to some extra sensory perception (ESP) he possessed but in retrospect, he evaluated that the fire was hot,

Have you ever felt that instant inspiration when faced with a speaking situation?

I’ve experienced thoughts popping up from within during conversations and often it’s better to let that take over and just speak, as opposed to consciously filtering what I want to say. WHY IS IT BETTER? The answer is within this quote from ‘BLINK’ . “We’re not helpless in the face of our first impressions. Thoughts may bubble up from the unconscious – from behind a locked door inside of our brain – but just because something is outside of our awareness, doesn’t mean it’s outside of our control”. In conclusion, from the HANDBOOK I quote: “Becoming an expert in almost anything requires literally years of work. People will do this only if they have some initial success, enjoy the work, and are supported by the social climate. Expert Performance is not solely a cognitive affair”. Withthat, ifwehaveasupport systemoracommunity of practice behind whatever expertise we pursue, we’re definitely on the right track to setting the correct conditions and getting enough practice to become adept practitioners of impromptu speaking. And if you can strike a conversation with just about anyone, you’ll be able to develop better relationships with those who matter.

even when doused with water. More so, it was quiet – making him realise that the flames were coming from the basement, hence leading him to his life- saving decision. HOW CAN WE APPLY WHAT I LEARNED? Ten years of deliberate practice as suggested in the HANDBOOK is daunting – 10 long years before achieving an unguaranteed level of proficiency! However, it’s a start! It strengthened my resolve to participate in speaking on any available platform for practice. Deliberate reflection on my speeches and gathering feedback would further enhance my practice to lead to expertise. This links to the findings in the HANDBOOK when even ‘BLINK’ admits that “being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after a long, rigorous period of education and experience.” There is no shortcut to becoming an expert – in anything . But we may never develop expert performance if we don’t know how to go about it. Deliberate practice is the solution.

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