Good reads to get you through the end of the semester

The semester is less than a month from ending, which means a great portion of students will be graduating.

In most cases, the horror of graduating is finding work. Well, I recently read two books that I think every student looking to move into a profession upon graduating should take a look at “Mastery” by Robert Greene and “Talent is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin.

Practice, practice and practice — more practice. The key principle in both books is to find the craft you are most passionate about and have the most innate skills in and apply deliberate practice — the uncomfortable practice after the first practice — especially working on all your weaknesses.

Deliberate practice is highly structured with the emphasis on one specific activity to achieve desirable results. This kind of practice is different from work and repetition of a task. Effort without the need for instant gratification is the premise. It will not be enjoyable; breaking through comfort zones never is.

In Colvin’s book, he makes reference to Tiger Woods swinging a golf club as an infant and Michael Jordan taking thousands of shots after practice. To many, it’s clear to see how talented these individuals are, but none of us were present when the work was put in. It’s easier to analyze the final product than it is to be around for the journey.

Consider the words from K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist and scientific researcher out of Florida State University.

“People believe that because expert performance is qualitatively different from normal performance, the expert performer must be endowed with characteristics qualitatively different from those of normal adults,” Ericsson said. “This view has discouraged scientists from systematically examining expert performers and accounting for their performance in terms of the laws and principles of general psychology.”

The point is to decide what it is you want, then work for it. It will not come easy and it won’t be instant, but it will be worth it.