Why achieving excellence is so elusive -pt 2

So where do Habits of Mind fit into the picture of learnable intelligence and the acquisition of excellence? Well, the story fits together something like this: In order to achieve excellence you must believe that intelligence is not a fixed thing – that failure is not a measure of having reached your potential, but rather […]

Why achieving excellence is so elusive -pt 1

Over the past 30 years or more we’ve learnt a lot about successful people. Psychologist like Anders Ericcson and Carol Dweck have made a career out of studying high achievers and identifying their common characteristics. Authors like Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers), Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code) and Matthew Syed (Bounce) among others have popularized the notion of […]

What about Motivation?

Understanding intellectually that The Greatness Gap can be bridged by hard work and deliberate practice doesn’t always close the emotional gap!. There is still a lingering feeling that successful people might be different in other ways. And the most common difference raised is that successful people are more motivated than the rest of us. To call […]

The Peter Principle

The Peter Principle goes something like this: In any heirachy, an individual will rise to his or her own level of incompetence and then remain there. The idea is that when you perform well in a role you get promoted. This continues until you reach a level where you are no longer perform well so […]

The Greatness Gap

I could never be like that. They’ve got something I haven’t got… they’ve got talent. Sometimes it’s easy to look at successful people from a distance and say to ourselves that they are somehow different to the rest of us. They were born with something we simply don’t have. We can recognise it, admire it, […]

Goldilocks and Deliberate Practice

What does the story of Goldilocks have to do with deliberate practice and the Habits of Mind? Anders Erricson is a cognitive psychologist that has made his career out of studying the acquisition of excellence – successful people. Through his research he came to recognise that successful people engage in a very special form of practice, something […]

Ferraris, Minis & HOM

Edward de Bono has a wonderful analogy that I love to use when talking about intelligence. He likens a persons innate, inborn, intelligence to the type of car they dive. We are certainly all born different. That’s an undeniable fact of life. In de Bono’s analogy this difference is like the car we drive. Some […]

Defining Habits of Mind – A close look

It’s worth taking a close look at the definition of the Habits of Mind and teasing apart some of the key ideas. The Habits of Mind are defined as: Those dispositions that are skillfully and mindfully employed, by characteristically successful people, when confronted with problems, the solutions to which are not immediately apparent.  Let’s pull […]