Advertising
Advertising

2 Techniques You Can Use To Master Any Skill

2 Techniques You Can Use To Master Any Skill

If there is something you want to become good at, there is a method you can use to efficiently master that skill. I want you, for the moment, to forget there ever was such a thing as talent. Most of the things that people perceive as talent were just uniquely developed skills early in childhood. 

Read on to learn the two very powerful methods for you to be able to acquire a skill FAST.

Creating Grooves In The Brain. 

The thing about habits (whether it’s a behavioral habit or a habit of thinking) is that, as it is constantly repeated, it actually creates grooves in the brain. These neuro-connections become physical manifestations on the brain.

Advertising

It’s important that you begin to control your habits by becoming the driver of your own bus. Are you driving your bus or is someone else driving it?

The more that you are happy, the more you are training your mind to be positive and happy. If you always look for the negative in things, your mind will become very efficient at it. To create a specific habit, consistently do it and think it and eventually it will become automatic.

You know when you’re mastering this habit when you no longer have to pay it any attention, you do it automatically and rather than getting yourself to do it, you are now compelled to do it.

Advertising

It takes a rocket headed to the moon 80 percent of its fuel to leave the earth’s gravitational pull and it only uses 20 percent of its fuel to take it to the moon and back! When you’re creating a new habit (whether it’s eating differently, getting yourself to work out, stop smoking, etc), it will take a lot of energy in the beginning, but soon enough it will become automatic and compelling.

This concept of habit creation through consistency is a critical understanding when learning a skill.

Technique 1: Plan, Do, Review. 

Plan, do, review, is the same notion as “Ready, Fire, Aim.” Most people are “getting ready to get ready.” They’re essentially saying, “Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim….” and they never fire. They never take action.

Advertising

The critical part of mastering any skill is by mastering through adjusting. Back to the rocket metaphor, a rocket headed to the moon is off course 90 percent of the time! It’s those little jets that keeps it on course. Those little jets are the valuable corrections needed on your road to mastery. It cannot be done if the rocket hasn’t left the earth’s gravitational pull.

  1. Step 1: Make a plan. Okay, now I know what I have to do.
  2. Step 2: I do it. All I’ve got to worry about is the next step. Once I get there, then I’ll worry about the next step after that.
  3. Step 3: What did I learn?
  4. Step 4: Repeat. Adjust your plans accordingly from the data you’ve gotten from Step 2.

Technique 2: The 8th Wonder Of The World. 

Albert Einstein called “Compound Interest” the 8th wonder of the world. Once you’ve taken action on the road to mastering a specific skill, compound interest makes it so your learning from those actions do not add up, they compound each other.

In other words, your competency does not grow by addition, rather they grow exponentially. If you ate a donut everyday for a week, you won’t tell the difference. If you read 10 pages of a good book a day, you won’t tell the difference. Compound interest makes it so the results on your sixth month of consistently doing something will dwarf the results you’ve had for the past 5 months combined!

Advertising

How exciting is that?

More by this author

Still from Thank You For Smoking 2 Easy Steps to Start Becoming Good at Communicating 2 Techniques You Can Use To Master Any Skill 2 things you must do to become more productive now Two Things You Must Do To Become More Productive Now

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next