Quora

How Can You Become the Best at What You Do?

You absolutely must be out of your comfort zone to adapt to a new level and to achieve greatness.


What are some practical ways to become the best in the world at what you do? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

To be the best, you need to completely flip our culture’s relationship to practice and performance. Practice has to be the center of your universe. More importantly, you’ve got to practice outside your current capacity. It hard to pull this off consistently. You can’t phone it in. That’s not how you improve.

It’s not easy. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s not about being easy. It’s not about enjoyment. As I put it bluntly in my new book, There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game, it’s not about having a good time. It’s about greatness.

And you absolutely must be out of your comfort zone to adapt to the new level and to achieve greatness.

I’m not going to lie. Some days you’re going to go backwards. The only thing that matters is that you stay outside your comfort zone and you keep challenging homeostasis. You keep committing. It’s where your greatness lives.

Everyone else thinks the big game is the big game, but it never is. You do not get paid as an athlete for the game; you don’t get paid as a writer for the story. You get paid for the practice, for the rehearsal, for the training that led you to that performance.

Daniel Coyle, who wrote The Talent Code, studied several hotbeds of talent around the world -- tennis clubs, swim centers, classical music schools -- and he found that the most successful people have a completely different relationship to practice. For them, practice is the big game.

For most of the world, performance is 90% of their time, and the practice backing it up is about 10% of their time. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to flip that. You’ve got to make rehearsal, practice, training the center of your universe.

If you want to become the best in the world, you are going to spend 90% of your time preparing for your performance, and only 10% performing.

Struggle is a biological necessity to us. You should attempt to fail more than everybody else, because that means you’re trying harder than anyone else. And eventually you get so good at it that you’re the best. And that’s no accident. That’s because of practice.

So forget about the big game. Get out there and practice. And make sure your practicing outside of your comfort zone. That’s what the best do differently.

This question originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

* Motivation: How do I get motivated daily?

* Life Advice: What skills are most needed to overcome challenges in life?

* Human Behavior: How can you be the best when you see other people are miles ahead in competition?

Photo Credit: Kristina Ratobilska/Getty Images