Navigation : Original Essay : Amateur : Expert : Habitue : Addict

An expert is a person who develops an automatic response—sometimes referred to as muscle memory or pattern recognition—that requires a high degree of self-control. Tennis professionals, chess champs, topnotch computer engineers, and highly-trained surgeons exhibit these kinds of automatic behaviors. Becoming an expert requires diligent practice over long periods of time, constantly pushing the body and mind to react instantly in precisely the same way each time. Strict goals and objectives lead to the acquisition of the skill needed to perform at an expert level.

Methods that work to create an expert behavior change include:

  • Deliberate practice – example: A musician that focuses on a particularly difficult segment of music, repeatedly playing it until it’s perfect before moving on to learn the next section.
  • Coaching – example: Gymnastics coaches who watch and help improve the gymnast’s form during her routine.
  • Focusing on failures – example: The professional golfer understanding the incorrect hitch in his swing, and focusing on correcting it.
  • Grit and persistence – example: A computer engineer learning to recognize common programing patterns through years of practice.
  • Competition – example:  A chess player who studies competitors’ past games in order to perfect his strategy for an upcoming competition.

What methods are good for:

  • Creating automatic responses during physically or mentally intense sessions.
  • Building a high degree of skill through pattern recognition and “muscle memory”.
  • Improvement of a skill one already possesses at an amateur level.

What doesn’t work:

Proponents:

NOTE: I’m experimenting with crowd sourcing more methods for behavior change. Please add other effective techniques below: