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Learn Better - Basics of skill acquisition


Ever since I've been introduced to meta-learning by Tim Ferris, I became totally obsessed.

To r ecap the last 7 years : I've learned how to play multiple instruments , sing and the basics of music theory. I've Competed in many different sport, read (listened to ) hundreds of books and learned 3 languages. I've lived in 16 countries in the last 5 and crafted multiple revenues of unconventional income in the last Year.

I hated school and learning. I 've had dozens of low paying, meaningless jobs. They did contribute to this journey but being broke, homeless with a lack of better perspectives in a foreign country wasn't always fun (neither was it as bad as it sounds ) .

Working in restaurants and being an underpaid musician in London forced me to change my approach to learning new skills and practising my craft.

After 30 Years of failures in my education and career, I have finally started to generate an income most of which I still reinvest in my education in the hope for a better and more sustainable future.

" To be creative means to combine many different elements which often seem disconnected from each other "

Here are the 10 basic rules to get You started.

1. Set a hard rule - create a habit

Set a hard rule. The easier the better .

Want to practise playing an instrument? Set a 1 minute practice every single day. As a general rule : 10-15 minute session a day is much more more benefitial than a single 2h session per week. (which on the other hand may happen or not). Keep on taking those 1 min chances as often as possible .

Settings a hard rule is crucial to building a habit of acquiring a new skill.

- 1 minute?

The act of deliberatly sitting down and practising is the key. It’s most likely that some of those 1-minute sessions will end up being much longer, it's all about developing the habit at first .

2. Deliberate practice.

When you practice, do just that. (multitasking is a long-gone busted myth, we just skip from task to task) Do not talk to people, do not use your phone, don’t do anything else aside from that which you just set out to do.

3. Monitor your progress.

" You can't improve , what You can't measure ."

Record yourself whilst practising , rewatch right after the session or (and) before going to sleep. Your brain is good at Picking up the faulty patterns and reigniting the neural connections which you try to develop.

Having a trainer or any kind of supervision can immensely improve your progress. ( If you consider the price of having a professional trainer in something that is crucial in your life , You're just not there yet)

Trying to loose weight , but You're unwilling to weight the food ? Good luck.

Premium results require premium effort. I've been measuring my kcals for years to a level where i dont need to do it as much as a novice , yet i still do it. I write a food journal with a help of an app called cronometer , tracking my micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals . It takes me less than a minute nowadays .

4. Change the environment

Learning new skill is the most energy taxing task for our brains.

With varying the environment in which you practice, You are creating a signal in which your brain responds : - " it’s something important , I'd better write down that neural path so I won’t have to spend so much energy the next time we’re doing it . " Creating new neural connections (learning) is the most energy consuming process for our brains , so keep that in mind .

Want to learn Englih ? why not pretending to be a stranger in your native country ?

J.K Rrowling was often changing her place for writing.

5. Challenge Yourself

The key is to choose something which is just outside of your current scope, but it Doesn’t make it so hard that you resign, and not too easy that you get bored. Pick up a new skill which may seem nonrelated to Your Goal. There's always a space to borrow and learn.

6. Randomize.

Other than changing the environment, You should be changing your routines.

Swap the exercises , Start from the middle or the end. Add a variety of circumstances,

e.g sit in front of the other wall , look into the other direction , wear different clothes etc.

A classic story in the field of sports : Michel Phelps workouts in the dark Pool . Those mytical practices led him to winning one of the gold medals at the Olympics , during which his goggles broke down.

7. Don’t give up

As cliche as it sounds , it's the truth .

Progress is not linear.

If You like the activity, continue.

Just because something is hard at the beginning doesn’t mean you will suck later on as well. Progress is not linear. I've seen people putting on muscle after years of failure. Running 10k faster than me after years of being left behind. They pursued I did not, therefore they caught up and then overpassed me. Progress is not linear. People like to belive in talent , 90% of time it's just an excuse for being lazy.


If the skill is the one you truly wish to want to improve You will most likely compete at some point, the sooner the better.

Find Yourself in a competitive enviroment be it work or a race.

Compete against the best, monitor only your own progress.

This should keep you content and still force you to pursue the goal .

9.Time-restricted practice (Pomodoro technique)

Personally I don’t use a Pomodoro technique per se. I vary the block times quite a lot. I've noticed that if I swap tasks in blocks of 10-25-60 minutes I learn exponentially more effective. A typical cycle may look like that :

- ( Main Goal ) learning to play the new song on a Piano (60min) (first thing in the morning)

- (side goals ) Japanese (20 min)

- (resting) stretching 30 min

- (routine - maintaining a habit ) singing 30-60 min

- back to the piano which I may focus on doing a few shorter sessions

- (leisure ) writing or reading

It's important to implement the moments of idleness throughout the day ( at least for me)

If I feel like I'm not getting things done I will stop after one cycle and focus on stretching and resting to prepare for the next day. Tommorow's another one .

The key is to set the boundaries between practising and performing. This is Crucial in activities such as music and sports. Performing is much more taxing on Your brain and body. Separate the two as far from each other as possible.

10. Get into the learning culture.

This is the sentence that got stuck with me recently.

IT is the " learning culture "... whilst talking to one of my clients this phrase hit a note.

Surround Yourself with like-minded people terms of learning and self-developing. This can exponentially boost your willingness to learn, understand why you do it, whilst knowing that there is a lot of people just like you, willing to learn and improve. Diversity of those people is another thign to focus on .

10 extremly smart people with same ideas , usually come up with just fewer solutions.

A diverse group of 10 people will most likely result in a bigger pool of anwsers.

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