Tag Archives: Deep Work

going deep

going deep

The aforementioned book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport was correctly assumed to be an update in a modernized high-tech world (maybe I should call it an upgrade, or version 2.45, of my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind …” ).

Newport’s effort is not aimed at teenagers or athletes or incoming college freshmen; it’s specially targeted at performance in an information economy.

I bought it as fuel for my own deep dive into authorship. I already understood what it had to say; I had to see what he said, what he added, and how I could apply it to my world.

Source of featured graphic: http://strongproject.com/blog/how-cal-newports-deep-work-concept-will-influence-office-design/ 
music: EST Symphony
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi5n_mibc9s&list=PLhTM0_t0hv0rlfxG2DO5-15TNnk6ZXFoA

 

I’m 75 pages into the book, and I paused to give you a taste of this gem so I won’t give away the the deeper gemstones in it or the conclusion. You can use the link above to find a version that works for you. You can also use it as an impetus to diving back into my e-book, which I’ve considered updating and upgrading.  We know a whole lot more about the human brain now than when I started it (or finished it) or finally got around to getting into shape so it could be shared.

I had to chuckle with delight as the first two pages are focused on the architecture of deep work; Newport talks about Jung’s Bollingen Tower and other examples of how people configured their space and their tools for their own deep work. I am about to enter the second year here in this little bungalow on the edge of a small river and a forest, close to the roadways and locations necessary to the rest of life.  My workspace has three locations (one primary with two desks and three tools, and three secondary seats, each wide side chairs and tables). Oh, and blank paper, lots of pens and two computers. The main one is on the lower floor in my office corner; the second is in an open space kitchen/living area with laptop or out on the deck overlooking the garden or even on the patio in the garden.

Let me now race through some excerpts from the book so you can decide whether it has application in your world and your life. I’d like my son to get into this book; he dropped away from athletic pursuit (save on the golf course… he came in third in his club championship last year), and into his professional career, now two decades old.  He built the flagship for a regional golf equipment retail chain and drove its sales through the roof, then left for the wholesale side of the game. He’s now a regional sales manager for a golf apparel company in a company in which his people are currently ranked 1, 2 and 3 in their salesman of the year contest.

Deep work, says Newport on page 3, are “the professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes cognitive capabilities to their limit in a hard-to-replicate manner, thereby creating new value and improved skill. “We now know from decades of research in both psychology and neuroscience that the state of mental strain that accompanies deep work is necessary for improvement in cognitively demanding fields.”

I’ve seen it at work on those times when my daughter would retire into her internal mental space and emerge to perform at levels that won her national ranking despite her apparently small size; the coach from one major recruiting school got back in her car and drove off when she saw my child from a distance of ten feet and then read about her selection as the All-Region Player of the Year four years later. The coach from a California powerhouse university whose performance consultant was a nationally-recognized expert in peak performance asked her counterpart from the Northeast snowbound school who that little girl was who’d hit the two 3-run home runs and just exactly where on earth did she come from?

Cal Newport isn’t focused on fastpitch softball, though; he is focused on the world of software, networking, social media and digital communications when he talks about missing out on massive opportunity when he says to his readers that “you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things”, that “to succeed, you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing” and that that output will be valuable in a world where someone with a better product that can be found easily and which is now being readied for the marketplace. Deep work is both scarce and valuable and is a key currency in a world that can also easily produce a lot of something else to distract you. Who is having your lunch today?

Newport talks of “fierce concentration”, minimizing in your daily life and space that which is shallow and increasing, with greater intensity, those times of uninterrupted and carefully-directed concentration.

If you want to thrive, you have to learn how to master hard things, and you have to produce, in terms of both quality and speed, at an elite level. You have to master the foundational skills — think of my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind …” as your elementary school.

On pages 33-36, Newport again mentions the new field of performance psychology and mentions K. Anders Ericsson (whom I first heard about during a presentation by Leonard Zaichkowsky, Ph.D.: see the attached pdf  Becoming a Champion in Sport and Life), who says in Deep Work on page 34,

“… the differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.”

The concept of deliberate practice is addressed in the sections on mindfulness in my e-book and especially within the books written by Ellen Langer.

The core components of deliberate practice are defined as follows:

  1. your attention is focused tightly on a specific skill you’re trying to improve (or an objective you’re trying to achieve) or an idea you’re trying to master; and

  2. you receive feedback so you can correct your approach and keep your attention exactly where it’s needed or will be most productive.

The first is central to Newport’s book.  I regard the second as also of vital importance; it’s simply “the other side of the coin”.  Feedback comes from competition, or at least scrimmage and free play, and perhaps from simulation and/or dialogue.

The footnote on page 34 describes how Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea of deliberate practice in his book Outliers which generated attempts to poke holes in Ericcson’s theory, answered by Ericcson in his article “Why Expert Performance is Special and Cannot Be Extrapolated from Studies of Performance in the General Population: A Response to Criticisms” [ http://www.progressfocused.com/2013/12/anders-ericsson-responds-to-criticisms.html ].

Focused attention requires deliberate practice.

“Let your mind becomes a lens, thanks to the converging rays of attention; let your soul be all intent on whatever it is that is established in your mind as a dominant, wholly absorbing idea”, said Antonin-Dalmace Sertillanges, a Dominican friar and professor of moral philosophy in “The Intellectual Life” .

The new “science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you develop more myelin around the relevant neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit [ of neurons ] to fire more effortlessly and effectively. To be great at something is to be well myelinated…. The repetitive use of a specific circuit triggers cells called oligodendrocytes to begin wrapping layers of myelin around the neurons in the circuit, effectively cementing the skill.”

“.. the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work. If you’re not comfortable going deep for extended periods of time, it’ll be difficult to get your performance to the peak levels of quality and quantity increasingly necessary to thrive professionally. Unless your talent and skills already dwarf those of your competition, the deep workers among them will outproduce you.”

What type of work that you do requires you to go deep?

Buy the book.  Get busy. The world needs your best work.

 

something wrong something right

something wrong something right

“… The idea that we informed people, who can see behind the curtain of the power elite, as well as all peace-loving people who feel intuitively that there simply is something wrong in the world, can recognize each other, talk, exchange ideas and encourage each other, seems very uplifting and joyful. To me it is thus not simply a matter of “flying a flag”, but to be able to better interconnect also in real life…. 

I launch something.

Neighbor Gabriel has put me the idea.

White.

The white flag is swung in wars, and who waves the white flag, sais: I have laid down my arms. I want peace and I am ready for a dialogue.

The vision:

All the world is full of white flags.

The idea:

I was at a Monday meeting at the Brandenburg Gate [note by Chaukeedaar: In Berlin and 50 other german cities there were public meetings for peace every monday night for the last couple of weeks, mainly initiated by people from the truth movement and alternative media, see one of the great speeches of Ken Jebsen]. It was full of people there who want to change things. The people stood there and waited for things to come. When Ken Jebsen put his concise words, they clapped enthusiastically.

That’s good, that’s okay. And it is not enough .

The same people go home and feel alone with their concerns…..

Imagine. In Munich, cars are driving with white flags. In Washington, white cloths are hanging in the windows. When shopping you will see a fellow-man with a white bracelet.

Everywhere is white. White contains it all. It needs no explanation. I know: This guy flags. She shows white. I can talk to him about anything even remotely related to the world situation, to politics, to monetary problems, to corruption.

And, more importantly, I can talk to him about everything that has to do with a joyful, healthy, creative life.

Please imagine that vividly. Through the means of a simple symbol a massive concentration of forces can be achieved.

Pass on this idea with your own inner fire.

I will poke other bloggers with it…..”

https://chaukeedaar.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/i-raise-a-white-flag-for-peace/ 

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music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwe34WzSuqk 

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In the house of joy

by Jon Rappoport

April 23, 2017

In the house of joy, winter fades away not only because of hope, or dreams, or the determination to follow a new path, but because for a hundred thousand years people have been, through gesture and word, transmitting to one another the idea that joy exists.

No matter what the present moment suggests—any present moment—that idea has been passed from hand to hand and mind to mind.

The odds don’t matter, the “score” doesn’t matter, the conditions don’t matter; the idea lives.

If this doesn’t say something about the human race, nothing does.

Problems, mistakes, tragedies…and still the idea is never eliminated.

There is more than the transmission—there is the invention. Joy is invented and reinvented time and time again—as if it were a secret that must be maintained. And so it is.

As children, we found it every spring. The winter was devastating. It wiped out all life. It froze life. How could anything come back? Impossible. But, just as now, outside my window, spring always made a return, unstoppable—sometimes it came back in the space of a few days, and we couldn’t see it happening until it had happened. Spring waited until you and everyone else weren’t looking, and then it broke through. Spring knows how to play a game.

For some reason, trees don’t seem to care about newspapers or television news. They’re on their own timetable. They set their own pace. How many branches on all the trees in the world are there? They all know what to do and when. They don’t have to wonder or plan or consider. It’s time for leaves, for green. Now.

Here they come.

When we feel joy as we’re in the middle of green, we could conceal it and bury it and go off in a dozen directions, but we never do. Not entirely. We stand on a road or a street or a field and when we meet another person, we make some gesture with our hands or we say a few words and we both look out and see the trees and we know.

We’re in the house of joy. We’re there. It’s not hard to understand.

We’re in a kind of game, and we have a new chance of winning. In this game, no one is ordered or destined to lose.

Isn’t it strange?

In these moments, we don’t have to have an ironclad plan. All we have to do is stand and look.

Tickets weren’t printed. There isn’t a box office.

And then, yes, there are the hopes and dreams and the determination to take a new path, but for this short space of time, we’re looking at the house of joy.

https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/in-the-house-of-joy/ 

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This is what my backyard sounds like. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euEwKtP5CG4 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD7dXfdDPfg 

Published on Feb 10, 2017

Deep Work by Cal Newport (animated book summary) – How to work deeply

Get the book here:

US: http://amzn.to/2mrYBpQ

EU: http://amzn.to/2lbok5t

Deep work: as described by Cal himself, deep work is professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. 

One to two hours a day, five days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, can produce a lot of valuable output.

As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill of going deep, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

There is a way to incorporate deep work and escape the constant distraction. Here are a few strategies you can use:

  1. The easiest way to start deep work sessions is to transform them in to a regular habit. Set a time and a quiet location used for your deep tasks each day.

2. Allow yourself to be lazy. Regularly resting your brain improves the quality of deep work. So when you work, work hard. But when you’re done, be done.

3. Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside of these times. Write it down on a notepad and record the next time you’re allowed to go online.

For a novice, somewhere around 1 hour a day of intense concentration seems to be the limit, while for experts this number can expand to as many as four hours. 

The video was left on autoplay for more related videos

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqzqoOLehik 

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How not to give a TED Talk

CBC.ca

April 23rd @ 10 PM

As the TED Talks once again bring ‘thought leaders’ to Vancouver, the head of TED deconstructs the best and worst of public speaking in the viral video age.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/how-not-to-give-a-ted-talk-1.4064181 

The link has five of the most-frequently viewed TED talks.