Deliberate Practice

Anders Ericsson, the psychology professor quoted above, coined the term deliberate practice (DP) to describe this special type of work. In a nice overview he posted on his web site, he summarizes DP as:

[A]ctivities designed, typically by a teacher, for the sole purpose of effectively improving specific aspects of an individual’s performance.

Geoff Colvin, an editor at Fortune Magazine who wrote an entire book about this idea, surveyed the research literature, andexpanded the DP definition to include the following six traits (which I’ve condensed slightly from his original eight):

  1. It’s designed to improve performance. “The essence of deliberate practice is continually stretching an individual just beyond his or her current abilities. That may sound obvious, but most of us don’t do it in the activities we think of as practice.”
  2. It’s repeated a lot. “High repetition is the most important difference between deliberate practice of a task and performing the task for real, when it counts.”
  3. Feedback on results is continuously available. “You may think that your rehearsal of a job interview was flawless, but your opinion isn’t what counts.”
  4. It’s highly demanding mentally. “Deliberate practice is above all an effort of focus and concentration. That is what makes it ‘deliberate,’ as distinct from the mindless playing of scales or hitting of tennis balls that most people engage in.”
  5. It’s hard. “Doing things we know how to do well is enjoyable, and that’s exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands.”
  6. It requires (good) goals. “The best performers set goals that are not about the outcome but rather about the process of reaching the outcome.”

If you’re in a field that has clear rules and objective measures of success — like playing chess, golf, or the violin — you can’t escape thousands of hours of DP if you want to be a star. But what if you’re in a field without these clear structures, such as knowledge work, writing, or growing a student club?

It’s here that things start to get interesting…

Deliberate Practice for the Rest of Us

Colvin, being a business reporter, points out that this sophisticated understanding of performance is lacking in the workplace.

“At most companies,” he argues, “the fundamentals of fostering great performance are mainly unrecognized or ignored.”

He then adds the obvious corollary: “Of course that means the opportunities for achieving advantage by adopting the principles of great performance are huge.

It’s this advantage that intrigues me.  To become a grandmaster requires 5000 hours of DP. But to become a highly sought-after CRM database whiz, or to run a money-making blog, or to grow a campus organization into national recognition, would probably require much, much less.

Why? Because when it comes to DP in these latter field, your competition is sorely lacking.

Unless you’re a professional athlete or musician, your peers are likely spending zero hours on DP. Instead, they’re putting in their time, trying to accomplish the tasks handed to them in a competent and efficient fashion. Perhaps if they’re ambitious, they’ll try to come in earlier and leave later in a bid to outwork their peers.


Lessons in Software Delivery: Need/Clients are pre-rec

I worked hard on a side project to create a portal for recruitment. It automated a lot of stuff that HR used to do manually.

People liked it, but insecure HR felt threatened as it replaced them in many ways…

The project was supported by the MD, so they went along, but when he left, they stopped using the system and now it’s dead.

Don’t know how to feel about it, coz i was involved for the coding…but still it hurt that all that code is now dead, and worst of all, we thought we were making their (HR’s) job easy, but it turns out, all they care about is their job security….


  1. You know the best work for you when you feel that you would rather do this and fail than not do it at all
  2. To Be a Writer, you need to be Arrogant  in thinking that what you have to  say is so important that its worth people spending time listening to it
  3. As a person, its your responsibility to make the eyes of people listening to you shine…

Computer Science

  1. Building Reliable systems from unreliable parts is Engineering

Matrix Card

Plan Cost 350/month

International Incomming Free

.027 SPD (Singapore Dollar) for Outgoing Local

1.2 SPD (Singapore Dollar) for Outgoing International

Combo: Rs 3000…1000 local 1000 india call.. 500 mb 3g data

Rs 150..Free call to another SIM from Matrix only

Manage Music Collection Online

I manage my movies and shows using IMDB and Evernote, and its worked out brilliantly…..But managing music is something that i’ve always struggled with ….

First I started with downloading everything locally and managing it with iTunes and such…

Then i realized that i have some excellent music videos too that i want to my collection, but sadly most extensions are not supported by iTunes…

Also, i want the collection to be accessible everywhere including mobile, so it cannot be downloaded stuff…

During a long period i also believed that listening to music more than once was a waste of time, until i realised that music is best felt when listened to again….

Hence i turned to online free options like Grooveshark and Saavn and Gaana and such options, but while the 1st is for eng music, last 2 are for hindi….and the collection is not comprehensive…and there is nothing worse than having listened to a song and then not finding it in your music manager….

Also, i cannot bear the idea of using 2 different apps for eng and hindi music….

I also realised that at times i want to watch the music video, and not just listen to the song….which is not offered by any of the above..

So then the only option left with exhaustive collection and music video offering is YouTube…

So then i started using it in simple way, having 1 playlist for eng music and another for hindi….

But immediately i found the following issues that are a deal breaker:

1. You cannot search for videos in a playlist, so i won’t be able to find if the song i want to add is already present, hence creating duplicates

2. Youtube keeps changing the max size of playlist….earlier it was 200, now thought i tried adding 1500 songs from watched history to a new playlist and was able to…

3. There is no way to sort music, filter etc. anything by artist or song or anything for that matter….

still trying my best to get stuff working with youtube


YouTube Playlist Manager |

This one is Crap…


Youtube Export |

This one is Gold….i was easily able to download all data about my playlist with 1500 videos and opened it with excel for better view…

For now i can use this to search for stuff….

Moving on, i found with some great tools. Checked out a few, but its all crappy…

Also thought of adding every video to evernote as well so as to be able to search and filter easily…not sure how much of a pain it’ll be, but seems like a good idea….


I’ve found that though there is no way to search for my paylists or for a video in playlist view, youtube search is generic and so if i say “Tarun Khemani <song>” it is easily able to search for the playlist where i have that song, and if at times its not, it’ll definitely be able to do it if i say: “Tarun Khemani <playlist> <song>”…

So the way i have decided to do this for now is to create a new playlist for every hindi movie and for english, i’ll create a playlist for every artist….

For english it’ll be easy as vevo is there for most artists..but for hindi its not like that…

in either case i’ve subscribed in my feedly to all channels that i’d like to follow and will use that to discover new stuff

OK SO HERE IS WHERE YOU SEARCH PLAYLISTS: (youtube creater’s studio)


Following the above recommendation to create a new playlist for every movie, i have over 300 playlists now and so to add a new song to library, 1st i need to figure out if that movie is a Playlist, and if yes, is that song already there in the playlist. Follow:

1. Click on Add To in the video page

2. This opens a widget with all playlists in the Dom

3 . Simply Search for the movie using Ctrl + F (Shift F3 for last)

4. If the playlist is there it’ll show up in search results

5. If it does, then go to and view the playlist to see if it has that song

6. If not, go back to the song page and add it ..



1. Watch All Videos and then go to and select all and add to any playlist

2. Mark Videos as liked and then go to and add to any playlist


Find the official channel of artist (vevo), go to videos tab and sort by View Count


Best way is to subscribe in a feed reader like feedly, so that u can keep track of any new videos

Jokes I’ve Come Up With

1. There’s no use visiting Pakistan, now that Al Qaida is setting up its centres in India – Context

2. Ek baar commit karke to main apne aap ki bhi nahi sunta – Context

3. Happiness after love has died is like Bloopers after a show has ended…you know they’re not real, but so was the show…..

4. Happiness after love has died is like Bloopers after a show has ended…you know that the life has ended…but you’re willing to do anything to believe that there are a few breaths left….

How God punishes Atheists

I’ve always been on the fence with my belief in God…struggling both with the concept and the definition…and right now, I’m an atheist.

The problem is that there is no escaping God in India…every place you visit has temples as main attractions and even at home, my family does aarti daily and offers food to the deities…

In such circumstance it is quite easy for an atheist to offend God…and boy does he have to suffer for this offence (read sin)…

For instance, last year I visited Rishikesh, and being an Atheist, I admired the architecture and surroundings while my family was busy offering respects to the Deities…then, when we got back after a 4 day trip, our house was broken into and all valuables stolen…

My Atheist God fearing mind immediately saw this burglary as a consequence of my offence to the Gods, even though I was only ignoring Him.

Then life moved on until today when my sis forgot to turn out the lamp, lit before the deities, before leaving, so I did it by blowing on it…and within 5 min, I slipped on the road hurting my knee and ankle…

Again, it immediately struck me that this was a consequence of my blowing out the lamp with my mouth, as it’s considered as disrespectful to God…

I did try to calculate the mathematical probability of this happening with the rain and slipper favouring the scale, but even to my scientific mind, the Cause and Effect argument was much more elegant than any mathematical equation…

If only God could let me be…

P.S.: Moments after publishing this, the author was struck by lightning…