In the talent hotbeds I visited, the chunking takes place in three dimensions. First, the participants look at the task as a whole – as one big chunk, the mega circuit. Second, they divide it into its smallest possible chunks. Third, they play with time, slowing the action down then speeding it up, to learn the inner architecture.
Why do break-through performances sometimes ignite talent booms, and sometimes not?
The answer is that talent hotbeds possess more than a single primal cue. They contain complex collections of signals – people, images, and ideas – that keep ignition going for the weeks, months, and years that skill-growing requires.
Struggle is not optional – it’s neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit sub optimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit. You must also keep firing that circuit – i.e., practicing – in order to keep myelin functioning properly.
“What made (John) Wooden a great coach wasn’t praise, wasn’t denunciation, and certainly wasn’t pep talks. His skill resided in the Gatling-gun rattle of targeted information he fired at his players. This, not that. Here, not there.“