Eliminate barriers to practice.
There are many things that can get in the way of practice, which makes it much more difficult to acquire any skill.
Relying on willpower to consistently overcome these barriers is a losing strategy. We only have so much willpower at our disposal each day, and it’s best to use that willpower wisely. The best way to invest willpower in support of skill acquisition is to use it to remove these soft barriers to practice. By rearranging your environment to make it as easy as possible to start practicing, you’ll acquire the skill in far less time.
Make dedicated time for practice. The time you spend acquiring a new skill must come from somewhere.
If you rely on finding time to do something, it will never be done. If you want to find time, you must make time.
You have 24 hours to invest each day: 1,440 minutes, no more or less. You will never have more time. If you sleep approximately 8 hours a day, you have 16 hours at your disposal. Some of those hours will be used to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Others will be used for work. Whatever you have left over is the time you have for skill acquisition. If you want to improve your skills as quickly as possible, the larger the dedicated blocks of time you can set aside, the better. The best approach to making time for skill acquisition is to identify low-value uses of time, then choose to eliminate them. As an experiment, I recommend keeping a simple log of how you spend your time for a few days. All you need is a notebook. The results of this time log will surprise you: if you make a few tough choices to cut low-value uses of time, you’ll have much more time for skill acquisition. The more time you have to devote each day, the less total time it will take to acquire new skills. I recommend making time for at least ninety minutes of practice each day by cutting low-value activities as much as possible.
I also recommend precommitting to completing at least twenty hours of practice. Once you start, you must keep practicing until you hit the twenty-hour mark. If you get stuck, keep pushing: you can’t stop until you reach your target performance level or invest twenty hours. If you’re not willing to invest at least twenty hours up front, choose another skill to acquire.
Mastery by Robert Greene
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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