Whether it’s learning to type faster, building a stronger friendship, or excelling in catching a baseball, we all have skills that we want to master. For myself, one of the goals I want to achieve in the near future is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Another one is to learn a few other languages. Mastery is a life long journey.
In this article, I will share with you my success strategies for maintaining steady and continuous growth in a certain skill or an area in your life.
Making a public statement means to tell the world what you are going to do. If you want to be a triathlete, post it on your Facebook, tell your friends, write out a public statement! When you do this, it makes you accountable to these witnesses. Second, make a public challenge. This sets a public deadline that I can’t miss. I did this by entering in the Vancouver Marathon in May, and then proceeded to tell the world about it. This forces me to achieve my goal because now I’ve committed my reputation as an honest and trustworthy person. The feeling of having people ask me “how was the run” would be unbearable if decided not to show up for the marathon.
In your life, I suggest you to tell your friends your goals. Pay and put yourself in a race you can’t get out of. Give permission to people to laugh and make fun of you if you don’t complete your challenge. That’s the only way to move forward.
2. Keep Track of Statistics/Use Data
I just read an article about how many young people are leaving the province of British Columbia in Canada because they cannot pay off their personal debts. People are blaming their marriage breakdowns, wage cuts, and job losses. Though I agree with these problems, I knew there were more deep seeded issues. Looking at the graph that they posted, it shows that 37% of young people overextend their credit and suffer from “poor money management”.
I have to ask: how many of us keep track of our finances? Do we bother to look at our bank statements? Do we keep track of our monthly spending or income?
I got good at managing my money through TRACKING EVERYTHING. This means being aware of where money goes and comes from, and how I’m spending it. This awareness puts us in the right direction. Using data allows us to measure how well we are doing. By knowing how much I’m spending on food, necessity, entertainment, etc. I was able to cut budget on specific items or categories. Seeing a green positive on my money flow also inspired me to keep going on this right track.
Money management is one skill. You can use data to measure your effectiveness in almost all other skills, such as weight training, calorie cutting, etc.
3. 80/20 Pareto Principle/Minimum Effective Dose
I’m going to take a page out of Timothy Ferriss, the famous author of the 4 Hour Work Week and 4 Hour Body. He took the Pareto Principle to a whole new level with his skill acceleration techniques. The Pareto Principle simply states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In real life, that means 80% of the problems come from 20% of the people, or 80% of your income comes from 20% of the customers.
The minimum effective dose is essential for skill building. Spending too much time on perfecting a skill can lead to boredom, and often is extremely time consuming. The learning curve flattens out and you get less return, even if you spend the same time practicing. Take for example (This is from the Four Hour Body):
“To be perceived as fluent in conversational Spanish, for example, you need an active vocabulary of approximately 2,500 high-frequency words. This will allow you to comprehend more than 95% of all conversation. To get to 98% comprehensive would require at least five years of practice, instead of five months. Doing the math, 2,500 words is a mere 2.5% of the estimated 100,000 words in the Spanish language.”
4. Always Look for New Strategies
Learning, in itself, is a skill. If you always approach a girl the same way and get rejected, you don’t get better at meeting women by doing it over and over again. That’s called insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. However, if you evaluate what you did, change your strategy, and try again, that is how improvement happens.
To give a personal example: Lately, I’ve been training for a marathon. I tried the traditional training method, which is to run 10-20KM a day, but it was painful on my knees and wasn’t as effective as I thought. I reviewed my results, took up additional research, and found that marathon runners are now switching over to sprinting as a way of training. I then took action and will soon be looking back on the results.
5. Find Mentors who have Done it Before & Ask for Advice/Copy Them
If you don’t follow any of my tips today, follow this one. A mentor who has done it before will show you the way. They have encountered and overcame almost 90% of the problems you will face on your journey. They will also have figured out a system that cuts down on time wasted on trial and error. Sometimes you will have to look far and wide for them, but in the end, they’re worth everything.
If your mentor allows you, just copy exactly what they did, step by step. Following a proven innovative system will improve your chances of success significantly.