The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance - Deepstash

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The Art of Learning:  An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

by Josh Waitzkin


18.3K reads


“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.”

Excellence and Testing Your Limits

If you never fail, you aren’t aiming high enough. Without failure and pushing yourself to the limits, you’re unlikely to learn and grow rapidly.

If you want to be excellent, you need to maintain a high degree of curiosity and remain on the steep part of the learning curve. ...

  • If you want to be the best, you have to take risks others would avoid, always optimizing the learning potential of the moment and turning adversity to your advantage.
  • When aiming for the top, your path requires an engaged, searching mind. You have ...


“In my experience, successful people shoot for the stars, put their hearts on the line in every battle, and ultimately discover that the lessons learned from the pursuit of excellence mean much more than the immediate trophies and glory.”


“It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set.”

A Comparative Lens

We look at the world through a relative lens. You compare your success to your friends, not to the average. You compare your intelligence to your peers, not to other groups.

Looking at everything through a relative lens gives meaning to opposite ends of a spectrum.


“In the end, mastery involves discovering the most resonant information and integrating it so deeply and fully it disappears and allows us to fly free.”

Think about this: What emotional states fuel your performance?

Once you know this, learn to create those emotional states through triggers or routines that put you in a state of creative expression and inspiration. Or learn to be effective in different states you face.

Interval Training

Instead of always trying to be “on,” learn to take short rests to allow yourself to recharge. Your thinking is often clearer after a period of rest.

  • To learn how to ebb and flow quickly between being “on” and “off,” introduce interval training into your exercise r...

When nothing exciting is going on, we might get bored, distracted, and disconnected from the moment. So we look for new entertainment, surf channels, and flip through magazines.

When these societally induced tendencies translate into the learning process, they have a devas...


“The secret is that everything is always on the line. The more present we are at practice, the more present we will be in competition, in the boardroom, at the exam, the operating table, the big stage. If we have any hope of attaining excellence, let alone of showing w...

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