Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them—as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go—end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it.
Q: Why is targeted, mistake-focused practice so effective? A: Because the best way to build a good circuit is to fire it, attend to mistakes, then fire it again, over and over. Struggle is not an option: it's a biological requirement.
If you use your muscles a certain way—by trying hard to lift things you can barely lift—those muscles will respond by getting stronger. If you fire your skill circuits the right way—by trying hard to do things you can barely do, in deep practice—then your skill circuits will respond by getting faster and more fluent.
That's why daily practice matters, particularly as we get older. As
Note: Myelin is living tissue and will break down. That is why daily practice is necessary.