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25 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

25 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

There are so many people who could make a full-time income from giving advice, but do not follow it or will not listen to advice from others. Not a wise move! When it comes to looking for practical advice on how to master anything, I personally look to the following people in my life: those with significant life experience who are happy to share what they learned and where they went wrong, successful people in general, and others who have mastered the particular skill or task I need to master. Of course, it is also wise to look beyond these examples and spend time in reflection, reading and self-education to keep the mind exercised and focused on self-development.

However, if I were to list around 25 pointers of practical advice for you, they would consist of the following as a minimum.

1. Find your life’s purpose.

You will feel drawn to certain people, and certain things will hold your interest longer than others and be more meaningful. It is always easier to succeed when you know what your life’s purpose is. Even if you think you don’t know, just be open to try new things and see what you can identify with the most.

2. Find a niche where you can dominate.

You are good at some things, bad at others, but there are some things you can excel at with little effort. Go, be brave and allow yourself to dream and try new things. See how you can make it better and add more value to your and everyone else’s life in doing so.

3. Love your subject at a very basic level.

Remember being at school and how some subjects dragged and were torture to sit through? Don’t go down this road because you have choices. You must at least love your subject or have a strong desire that this is something you are willing to spend time on. If you don’t like something, it will show!

4. Find the ideal apprenticeship.

Find someone who can teach you what you want to learn. Study and model them closely. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, express yourself and be open to their advice. The right mentor will shortcut the learning process, give you the push you need and help keep you task focused.

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5. Engage in deep observation.

Do not fill your entire day with “to do” lists. You also need time for reflection, observations and quiet time to take on board any new ideas, things learned and also to simply allow your mind to wander. You never know what this “down time” will uncover when the pressure is off.

6. Practice incessantly and experiment.

Practice does make perfect and sometimes short cuts will give little value so don’t give up. Think of the great masters and what they endured. Look at how their memory and legacy has lived on long after they are gone. Think of Thomas Edison and all he invented and how it positively impacted the world and still does today. Look to Henry Ford for examples of how he revolutionized the automotive industry.

7. Value learning over money.

Yes, “show me the money” is all some people can see, but if you are in it for the long haul then be prepared to learn everything there is to learn, not straight away but over time. The money will follow when you can apply what you learned.

8. Rely on trial and error more than anything.

Sometimes you just have to let go and simply experiment. So many inventions started off from things going wrong, so break the mould and create your own masterpiece. Even if you don’t know where you are going, just start somewhere, it will always lead to somewhere else. Look at George Crum and how he invented potato chips by trial and error after a diner complained the fries were too thick and he kept reducing down the thickness following complaint after complaint!

9. Absorb a master’s power (that is, get a mentor).

Absorb everything there is to learn from your mentor. How can you do things differently? Where is his or her weakness? Most likely it won’t be yours. The right mentor will empower and motivate you to greatness and not be ego driven. Take it all in and someday return the favor to another.

10. Choose someone who will intensely challenge you.

How will you know how far you have come if you do not meet and overcome challenges? Challenges are not setbacks. They are simply life’s ways of requesting you use the tools available to you to resolve them.

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11. Transform what you’ve learned from your master/mentor.

Not only must you learn, but you need to apply and carve out a niche for yourself using all the tools and resources you learned from your mentor, otherwise what real benefit will you have gained? Look at Leonardo Da Vinci and how he thrived under his mentor Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio. Even after he served his apprenticeship, they continued to work together!

12. Accept criticism.

If you cannot accept criticism, then your ego is getting in the way of your best judgment. Just ensure any criticism directed towards you is constructive and justified.

13. Craft your own persona.

You really don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone else now, do you? Are you not enough? Stand in your own personal power. It is always enough when you are giving your best and are at your best.

14. Don’t let impatience derail your plans.

When you have a great idea or are learning something new, it is easy to be impatient, but it takes time to master and perfect yourself so you will be a real asset. Don’t try to peak too soon because of impatience. The best things come to those who wait and pick the right time.

15. Shape your world around your strengths.

We all have natural strengths and others that can be developed. Use your strengths wisely to re-create life on your terms.

16. Know that practice is as important as innate skill.

Again, coming back to practice, sometimes even being willing to put in the time and effort and to apply the right mindset to practice is a skill that needs to be mastered. Review how you really feel about practicing!

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17. Be self-driven not ego driven.

It is so easy to spot egos out there. Be self-driven. It is far more worthy of praise, acknowledgement and service. Egos are phony. When you are successful, you will be able to demonstrate success through your actions and achievements and not from inflated bragging and boasting. Sure, be proud and confident and self-assured. This is self- not ego driven.

18. Give to others and you will get in return.

Even though you feel it is all about you, it isn’t really. To be successful you need to prove yourself, and show others how you can help or benefit them. Give your time, service, knowledge or whatever to others, and do so willingly. You will be amazed at the ways you will gain! It may not happen immediately but believe me every one good deed you send out comes back! Look at Mother Teresa, Ghandi and so many more who influenced millions globally!

19. Be curious.

Think of ways to make things different, better, shake things up a little. Be curious and set your mind free and don’t let failure hold you back. Success may be one short step away.

20. Write down your goals.

Sure, goals may change over time and that is fine, but write down the goals that just don’t seem to go away or change. It will serve to remind you of what is important for you to achieve.

21. Review and take stock of where you are.

Take time for a breather and review and take stock of where you are and how much you’ve achieved since the last review. It will also show up if you have gotten sidetracked!

22. Be selective with whom you share your dreams.

Some people will poke holes in your dreams. Remember they are your dreams and don’t deserve to have anyone trample over them. Be selective with whom you share this information. Who knows, it may be useful to them!

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23. Surround yourself with the right people.

The right people can be the thinkers, dreamers, creative or artistic types. Choose people who bring out what is best in you and are in alignment with your dreams.

24. Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.

Be willing to take risks, but try to take calculated risks that won’t be such that you lie awake at night worrying in case the worst happens. A certain amout of risk may be necessary and it will also help you work harder to ensure the risk is managed or minimized.

25. Give thanks.

I left this ’til last because it is the simplest thing to do, yet the one most easily forgotten. Even things that went wrong in your life have helped you get to where you are today and have taught you many life lessons. Give thanks for everything learned from failures, just as you need to give thanks for all the things that went right in your life. Give thanks to others for a service performed well. Give thanks for being alive and for being on the receiving end of so may blessings that shaped you positively and will continue to influence you positively.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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