While feeding my body a healthy breakfast in the morning is important, so is feeding a healthy breakfast to my mind. I do so by reading. No, not by reading news on who got mugged on a street or shot in a gang fight, but by reading positive articles and news that nurture the mind and soul.
Not too long a ago, a friend of mine posted a link to an article on “tiny habits”. Intrigued by it, I read it and thought it’d be fun to try it (will write about it soon).
This morning as I was going through my twitter feed, I came across an article from HBR, titled – How to Master a New Skill. If you know me, you know I am always up for trying new things, be it in my personal or professional life; I love to learn new things be it a sport or some form of art like painting or singing… okay not singing, that I shall confine to the walls of my bathroom, haha… While the article focuses on mastering new skills to advance your career, you can apply the principles to any aspect of life where you need to or desire to learn a new skill.
Before I point you to the article, here are some things I have learned by trial and error and simply by my own experiences gained either from fear at some point or courage at another. Having said that, I am still learning and growing and it always helps to approach things from a different perspective every so often
According to me the top 3 pointers for most of us to remember are:
# 1 – When wanting to master a new skill is “patience“. It is important to remember that everything takes time, especially when one is trying to acquire a new skill. So be patient with yourself, give yourself time and encouragement
# 2 – Do not fear failure, well, you can fear it, but do not give up because of the fear of failure. It is okay to fail. Unfortunately, failure in our society has a very negative image. But that is not true.
#3 – Dream big, but make practical small-step goals with clearly defined objectives AND rewards. This way, not only are you taking it step by to step to your ultimate goal, but you’re also celebrating success along the way, which has been proven to feed into the human psyche for guaranteed success. The human brain works on a cue-reward mechanism. We all do, even without knowing it. It’s like getting the dog to do tricks or listen to you by simply walking towards the jar full of doggie treats.
Best of all – By simply picking up new skills, you’re keeping your brain sharp and constantly engaged and studies have shown that by keeping the brain working and learning new things, you’re keeping Alzheimer’s disease at bay. So here’s another reason… get out there and learn something new today! and yes you can master it too… just remember these tips
Okay, going to the article now, the points (in blue) that struck me the most were:
Halvorson agrees: “Many people implicitly believe that if you have to work hard at something, it means you lack ability. This is rubbish.” Instead, recognize that learning a new skill takes extreme commitment.
Know How You Learn Best – you know what works for you. Do not take an approach simply because it works for someone else. When we were kids, my sister and I had very different ways of absorbing study material. While she liked to write things down, I liked to read it aloud. We both always did well. My brother, he was, well one Mr. Smarty-pants, he always told my mum that the more basketball he played at school with friends, the more it helped him in his studies. Of course my mum wasn’t going to buy that… But my brother, oh he is smart!! too smart I think. He said that playing basketball with his friends after school, fostered a healthy discussion on what was taught in school, exchanging ideas while keeping it fun…etc… he made it sound as if it was all about study and not about play…..yet again I find myself digressing… anyway, you get the point
Reflect Along The Way – Recently at work, I had to attend a training on Process Management and the model that training was based on had a “Reflection/Introspection” box at the end of the flow diagram that fed back into the think tank. For individuals and small teams, the reflection/introspection happened on a weekly basis when they met. For the project, it happened on a monthly, bi-weekly basis. The idea here is that as you reflect along the way, you improve, you become more efficient and maybe even see things with a fresh new perspective.
That’s all for now. Have a great day!
Here’s the article – How to Master a New Skill