Main »

Deliberate Performance

...uplinks, including horizontal links to competitors or antipatterns


Advice: Look for ways to incorporate rationality practice into the things that you are already doing.

Rationality practice doesn’t always involve setting aside time to work on something. It can also involve going into tricky conversations with a different frame of mind, or trying out a new approach when writing a tough email, or quickly taking the outside view when confronted with a sudden problem at work. In particular, if you find that you’re too busy to do useful rationality practice, try thinking of “rationality” as any and all more effective approaches to the things that you’re already doing (instead of as an additional thing to add to the pile).

Researchers who study skill acquisition makes a distinction between “deliberate practice” and “deliberate performance” as two ways of developing skills. A violinist who is engaging in deliberate practice is setting aside time solely for improving their violin-playing skill, while being strategic about how to best improve their skills (e.g. playing a difficult measure several times in a row).

A violinist who is engaging in deliberate performance, on the other hand, is playing for an audience, but doing so in a way that is designed to improve their skills and not just to put on a good show. They're going to be mindful and attentive, rather than simply going through the motions—they'll be thinking and evaluating and watching themselves with any attention they have to spare.

It can be hard to find time to set aside to deliberately practice a CFAR rationality technique. Fortunately, performance opportunities for CFAR techniques are happening all throughout the day. Life is full of opportunities to embody the art of rationality, and attempt to make quick, subtle improvements to the way you’re thinking and acting. For example, if you need to write a program for your job, you could do deliberate performance by trying 10 seconds of pre-hindsight before you even begin.

Three ways to make deliberate performance a part of your everyday routine:

In addition to fitting more readily into your schedule, this approach of using bits of rationality technique during performance can help you see immediate benefits from the technique (which, in turn, will help your inner dashboard update on their actual usefulness).