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sermon: Highly Skilled Overcomers

Deliberate Practice and Deep Work

Given 26-Mar-13; Sermon #1149A; 79 minutes

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Richard Ritenbaugh, recapping the essentials of Cal Newport's book, So Good They Can't Ignore You, affirms that following our passions can be dangerous career counsel unless we put the concept in context. Following our passions only applies if we invest the career capital to perfect our craft, honing our skills so that other people desire to pay for what we have to offer. If we increase our skills, we will advance. We must apply this advice to our Christian lives; people should notice us as we live our lives, following the sterling example of our Elder Brother Jesus Christ. The second half of Newport 's book consists of two helpful habits that will bring us success. The first habit is deliberate practice, defined by Anders Erickson as an activity or activities designed by a teacher to improve an individual's performance, stretching an individual beyond his limit, applying a version of the 10,000 hour rule (highlighted in the book The Outliers), practicing a skill intensively week after week, month after month for ten years, trying deliberately to do it better each time. Skilled chess players carefully study the moves of players better than they are. To become exceptional at anything, whether it be chess, bluegrass music, or race car driving, one must put in many hours. The second habit consists of deep work, pushing some specific skill to a level beyond that which we currently possess. As we do this, practicing every aspect incrementally until we reach perfection, we receive a sense of euphoria and accomplishment, even though the process initially seems agonizing or arduous. It is important that we apply these two habit-patterns to our spiritual lives, working with the same intensity as one would remove rust from a pipe, or paint with a brush. As God made our forefathers take the longer route to the Promised Land, both for their protection and to test them, God works with us to correct us and perfect us. We must be willing to peel off layers of old-man-bad-habits with the same intensity one would cut off

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