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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 March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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