“We need to constantly look for opportunities to stretch... - Deepstash

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How to Master a New Skill

“We need to constantly look for opportunities to stretch ourselves in ways that may not always feel comfortable at first. Continual improvement is necessary to get ahead.”

Joseph Weintraub

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Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress
Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress

Try to identify things you avoided due to fear of failure and situations where your perfectionism wasn’t worth it or moments where you did well despite being uncertain.

Your objective here is to learn where perfectionism has a positive impact and where it does not.

Get an outside perspective on your perfectionist tendencies

Talk honestly and openly to someone about your tendencies and how you’re working on getting better.

Ask them to tell you when you are being too fussy about something so you can think about it.

Interrupting the cycle of rumination
  • Take note of when you’re ruminating and what triggers it until you can see your patterns and find ways to counteract them.
  • Don't trust your first reaction when ruminating. Most of the time, it colors negatively your read of the situation.
  • Seek a diversion to break the rumination cycle.
  • Think positively: remembering your successes and times you tried new things helps you to not be avoidant of tasks you can’t do perfectly.
Habits or Skills

Decide whether what you're trying to improve is mostly a habit or mostly a skill: if your main problem is with doing something you already know how to do, but doing it consistently, that’s probably a habit. If your main problem is not knowing how to do something well enough, that’s probably a skill.

Improving a habit

This process has 3 main parts: 

  • Define the habit you want to form clearly and consistently;
  • Condition it until it is relatively easy to maintain. 
  • Maintain the habit by monitoring it. If you slip, push to reassert the habit quickly.
Improving skills

The best strategy for getting better at skills is deliberate practice. A good way to work on this is to divide it into 3: 

  • Practice the skill. 
  • Get timely feedback on how well you’re performing.
  • Focus on your weak points with selective drills and constrained practice.
Developing our strengths

Although we usually see our weaknesses as more changeable than our strengths, research shows that we should not focus on improving our weak parts, but to develop our strengths.

Identifying strengths

Try to see your strengths in relation to what energizes you. Something is a strength if: 

  • it makes you feel successful
  • you're drawn to it
  • it fully engages you
  • after doing that activity, you feel energized and fulfilled.
Ask the people around you

It's difficult for us to see our own strengths, but people around us (friends, coworkers, family members, mentors) will most likely see them clearly.

The goal is to identify things that you wouldn't have thought of on your own—or to find patterns.