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25 Pieces of Practical Advice You Should Take to Master Anything

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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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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