Much of DELIBERATE PRACTICE involves developing ever more efficient MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS that you can use in whatever activity you are practicing. A MENTAL REPRESENTATION is a mental structure that corresponds to a collection of information, or anything else that the brain is thinking about. A simple example is a visual image. MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS are very “domain specific,” that is, they apply only to the skill for which they were developed. What they do is that they make it possible to process large amounts of information quickly. What sets expert performers apart from everyone else is the quality of the MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS. These representations allow them to make faster, more accurate decisions and respond more quickly and effectively in a given situation. This explains the difference in performance between novices and experts. Expert’s years of practice have changed the neural circuitry in their brains to produce highly specialized MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS. The best way to develop a MENTAL REPRESENTATION of MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS is to spend time getting to know them. The key benefit of MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS lies in how they help us deal with information: understanding and interpreting it, holding it in memory, organizing it, analyzing it, and making decisions with it. The more you study a subject, the more detailed your MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS of it become, and the better you get at assimilating new information. An example of how MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS can be used in planning: surgeons will often visualize an entire surgery before making the first incision. The main purpose of DELIBERATE PRACTICE is to develop effective MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS which in turn helps us learn a skill which then leads us to learn. This is “knowledge transforming.” One uses their MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS to provide their own feedback so that they know how close they are to getting the piece right and what they need to do differently to improve. The relationship between skill and MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS is a vicious circle: the more skilled you become, the better your MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS are, and the better your MENTAL REPRESENTATIONS are, the more effectively you can practice to hone your skill. By putting all of these different elements into an overall mental map one can see the trees for the forest. By using the mental map one knows exactly where one is by identifying the various landmarks. This DELIBERATE PRACTICE will allow you to do more than you could before.
Ron Winnegrad has been a Perfumer and teacher for 46 years. As a perfumer, Ron has been able to express the world he sees through a rainbow of olfactive and emotive visions. As a teacher, Ron has helped others to see fragrance through his own multi sensorial lens.