The most important factor in gaining a new skill

I’ve read lots of books devoted to skill acquisition.  There’s some useful info, backed by impressive data revealing habits, practices, and routines of world-class performers.

One of the most important commonalities is that most world-class performers had a coach/teacher who made the activity fun early on.

Interest precedes talent development, and even if Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours theory is correct, most of us won’t devote the second hour to something that doesn’t seem fun.

Exposing children (or adults for that matter) to someone who can make an activity interesting or fun may be the most important first step.  That goes for tennis, violin, or coding.

If we were wise…

I believe that the ultimate goal of wisdom is to have the same clarity you’ll have on your deathbed, but long before that so you can still act on it.

From that perspective, it seems absurd that we would ever:
– Feel bad for not fitting in with certain groups
– Believe that others are hyper-aware of our minor flaws, like your unmatched shoelaces or tiny scar
– Thoughtlessly allow other people’s beliefs, opinions or fears to become our own
– Connect with, date, or befriend toxic people out of obligation or fear of the alternative
– Blame others for our circumstances
– Judge others for anything other than their character
– EVER take the most important people in our lives for granted

What are your standards?

The exact life you have right now is a reflection of your standards, or, put simply, exactly what you are willing to TOLERATE.  This includes your finances, how you’re treated by others, your relationships, etc.

The common approach to personal growth is to exert more effort.  Try harder.  Tenacity and grit are useful, but upgrading your environment works better and faster.

If your home, social or work life feel antithetical to your goals, they probably are.  Your standards reflect your reality.  Want to change the quality of your life?  Three words: raise your standards.

An alternative to NY resolutions

I stopped making specific resolutions, and started doing an 80/20 analysis of my year instead. There is a much more sophisticated version of this, but here is the practice from 10,000 feet:

  1. Evaluate the last 12 months on your calendar thru the lens of: the 20% of people and activities that produced 80% of your positive / negative emotions
  2. Commit to scheduling activities and appointments with people that bring you the positive 20%.  This involves planning and paying for trips, planning meetings, get-togethers, and events now – or as early as possible.
  3. Create a NOT-to-do list which includes people and activities you’ll avoid, as they represent the negative side of the list.