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4 Steps Experts Take To Learn Faster Than You

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4 Steps Experts Take To Learn Faster Than You

Let’s learn how to play Bizaroo. The fictional game invented by me, five minutes agoHow would you start? Your first attempt would naturally be followed by immediate failure and maybe amused laughter from experienced onlookers.

We would then probably say, ”Wow! It’s hard”, followed by a healthy dose of self deprecation. From there we would seek some help, and it would definitely be useful. As long as you don’t have some serious mental handicap, most people would experience a lot of initial growth. Then eventually a plateau.

More than likely a plateau that lasts most of their lives. Quick basic skill acquisition and then long period of plateaus are the norm for most people learning anything. Plateaus are where dreams of mastery go to die. We either become complacent at our current level or just give up. This is the difference between novice level athletes/artists/musicians and exceptional ones.

 

Enter the 10,000 hour rule

Popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book, the notion that mastery requires at least 10,000 hours received a lot of notoriety and pushed Gladwell’s book to best seller status quickly. Although this idea was originally proposed by Florida State Psychology professor Anders Ericsson. Dr. Ericsson is a prominent researcher in the field of skill acquisition and mastery.

Ericsson’s research showed a massive gap in the difference between how ordinary people and experts practice. He concluded,” we know that superior performance does not automatically develop from extensive experience, general education, and domain-related knowledge.”

Instead he proposed there is a huge difference between automatic practice and focused practice, which he called DP (deliberate practice).

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser

How you practice is MORE IMPORTANT than how long you practice

Our brains are great at running on autopilot, most of the activities we perform flawlessly every day are extremely complicated cognitive tasks.

The problem is running on autopilot while trying to improve just doesn’t work. We might perform well but we aren’t improving. The main reason is simple. Neuroscience research shows that we simply aren’t encoding information as deeply when we’re running on auto pilot mode.

Luckily Dr. Ericsson has researched this extensively and he has broken deliberate practice down into 4 main areas, which we will look at today. I have incorporated these into my own life with huge improvements. If you use these principles you will destroy your own plateaus and improve much faster.

Here are the 4 steps to help you improve much faster:

 

Step 1: Create a well-defined goal

Yes goals. They are important. Here is an example of a bad goal: Get good at public speaking.

Now a good one. Speak at the next meeting for 1 minute without any pauses, umms, or awws while looking at everyone in the eyes and standing confidently.

The more specific your goal, the more focused your practice can beLaser sharp focus. Think of one SPECIFIC situation. Answer these questions and visualize yourself in that situation:

  • Where are you?
  • What are the people around you doing?
  • How will you react?
  • Feel your body as you imagine yourself going through each movement.

Research shows that just imagining yourself doing something activates all the same areas in the brain as ACTUALLY doing it. Let me rephrase, visualizing something and doing it look the same in MRI scans.

 

Muhamma-Ali

Step 2: Motivation to improve

Motivation is the juice in the engine. It’s the motor oil in your brain keeping all the parts moving and flowing. Experts have clearly defined goals but they are also highly motivated to succeed.

If you want lasting motivation you’ll need a story. A story is the narrative that ties all the ups and downs together to become one continuous landscape. Motivation should be like a journey somewhere through different landscapes.

Don’t focus on one beautiful tree or only an ugly bush, pan out and see all the scenery and know where you are going. Having this clarity is more important than working towards some hedonistic reward as your reward.

Define your story. Ask yourself; Where are you going in one year? Two years? Three years? How does achieving goal 1-10 fit into your overall story?

 

Step 3: Feedback loops

This may be the hardest part. Ericsson’s research showed that experts always had feedback. Either in the form of a mentor, coach or individual self-directed research where they examined others’ performance.

A mentor or a coach will be instrumental in having a second pair of more experienced eyes examine what you are doing. It is hard to objectively evaluate what you are doing by yourself Don’t have a coach? Ericsson’s research showed that many experts don’t either.

Instead he found many expert chess and tennis players spent hours watching videos of other competitors in an attempt to understand their moves and strategy.  If you can’t objectively evaluate yourself, the next best thing is evaluating others.

Learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Just watching others make mistakes can activate our “mirror neurons”. Mirror neurons are special sets of neurons that mirror the behaviour of others as though the observer was acting themselves.

 

Step 4: Repeat and refine

Focus on your specific goal and don’t get side tracked. This is where persistence comes in. Put in the work but be careful. Stay conscious every time you engage in the process. Don’t just do it automatically while thinking about your weekend plans or what you want to eat.

If you can’t focus now it’s not worth doing it now.Practice time isn’t made equal. Focused practice beats just doing it half heartedly. While you are engaging in practice constantly adjust what works and get rid of what doesn’t work.

“The harder you work the luckier you get.” – Gary Player

Putting it all together!

While none of these points are new, using them all together will be able to shift your skill acquisition from that of a normal person to an expert.

Focus on these four fundamentals to learn more efficiently and faster:

  • Create an extremely specific well defined goal-Specific over general goals. One thing at a time.
  • Stay Motivated-What is your story? Why are you engaging in this particular goal? What its value in the long term?
  • Get feedback-Either a coach or watch others perform the same action while observing and learning
  • Repeat and Refine-If you can’t focus now, it’s not worth doing now.

 

Be persistent. Laser focus, backed up by indomitable motivation refining what works and killing what doesn’t, this is Ericsson’s deliberate practice.

Whenever we encounter something truly awe-inspiring that we can barely comprehend how it was created we naturally wonder how someone could be so talented. But every time we receive the same answers, focused work and years of effort.

Apply these principles and be consistent and one day someone will be wondering how you became so good.

What are the kind of things you use to keep focus? What works best for you? Drop a comment below and let us know!

Sean Sergio is the founder of www.brainhacksblog.com, where he explores the science of successful living and psychology. He is an ex-psych PhD student turned high school teacher who is on a mission to reprogram his life and the status quo. Come join him at Brain Hacks Blog.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way

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A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy

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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds

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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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