Learn like a World Champion
Like described one of our previous blog post’s describes, unlimited learning is the way to feel good about yourself. So, learning is what we’ll do! However, learning can be quite the challenge. Lucky enough for us #careerlions, we don’t have to figure it all out on our own. Josh Waitzkin reveals the inner workings of his methods in The Art of Learning.
Why this book?
Josh Waitzkin is an eight-time Nation Chess Champion in his youth. Nowadays, he’s a martial arts champion who holds several World Champion titles in Tai Chi. It’s safe to say Waitzkin has found a way to be a world class performer in very different type of fields. In his book, he divides the methods into three main components: The foundation, My second art and Bringing it all together. Today, I am sharing my favourite methods from each of these components!
The foundation – Changing voice
Learning and working on a skill results in feeling better about yourself. Or at least, that’s what we’re aiming for. However, before we reach that level of comfort with our skill, a lot of hard work needs to be done. Waitzkin’s method on changing voice basically says that one needs to be introspective in order to perform well, but also needs to positively encouraging about oneself. Whenever I am working on something, I tend to get impatient and talk negatively to myself. Not only does that make the experience less enjoyable, it is definitely not helping my performance whatsoever. Therefore, I am working on improving self-talk by thinking of more encouraging words.
My second art – Making smaller circles
The process of learning can be overwhelming. An obstacle in today’s world is the information overload we’re dealing with. More and more information is available and the constant supply of stimulus is a huge distraction. To deal with this Waitzkin proposes a method for making smaller circles. This learning principle is defined as follows: To plunge into the detailed mystery of the micro in order to understand what makes the macro tick. In other words, focus on smaller exercises and parts of the process in order to keep focussed.
Bringing it all together – Building your trigger
Previously, Ashley described in this blog post that one is happier when working in the zone. The principle of building your trigger is based on building a ritual that makes one get into a focused and relaxed state of concentration. As for myself, I feel I am most in the zone after having a good morning ritual. I love starting the day with a cup of French pressed coffee, some meditation and a bit of karaoke when I am getting ready. The song that actually triggers me to get ready for some deep work is N*E*R*D’s Lapdance or Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack. These songs have been working for me since 2005, but I just learned after reading The Art of Learning that this is my personal trigger.
As a wise man once told: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. And since that wise man is Mahatma Gandhi, it’s a good advice to follow. What are your best practices when it comes to learning? Drop your recommendations in the comments section below.