9 unusual tips to learn everything and excel at anything


Learn with the best

A real learning should go through training and coaching. You cannot rely every day on yourself.
You need accountability and immediate feedback.
You can learn a lot by yourself nowadays. But if you don’t get the point of view of a third party, you’re not availing yourself of your learning to its fullest. Be it a coach, on online class, a workshop, or even a student, you need others to grow.
You need to put yourself on the map and take risks.
The best way to learn is to teach.
– Frank Oppenheimer 

GET a growth mindset

There are two approaches to learning, according to Dr. Carol Dweck.
  • Fixed mindset, where you are helpless as regards to your growth and are either born with talents or not.
  • Growth mindset, where you consider that learning is an incremental process to mastery.
When you have a growth mindset, failure cannot destroy you. It doesn’t put on the line your being but your current set of skills, which are prone to evolve.
Does it mean you’ll never be disappointed ever again? LOL
It doesn’t mean missing your goals won’t disappoint you. But instead of crushing you, defeat teaches you.
How to make sure you have a growth mindset?
Focus on the process rather than the outcome. You have to put yourself in situations of risk of failure.
Does it hurt?
You bet. But growth comes at the expense of previous comfort and safety.
Lessons from pursuit of excellence are more valuable than trophies and glory.
– Josh Waitzkin

Expect the unexpected

Perfect conditions don’t exist.
You need to learn to find comfort in an uncooperative environment. Josh Waitzkin calls it the Soft Zone. Find internal peace, that doesn’t depend on external factors.
Conversely, being in The hard zone would be able to focus only in a perfect environment. Or something else totally unrelated to this topic.
Nothing lasts.
Don’t take anything for granted, don’t hold on to good emotions when things used to go your way. Everything is temporary. Always adjust, nothing is due to you.
The second mistake is not to let go of the first error. Don’t fall into the downward spiral and let you consume by past mistakes. The past is gone, learn from it and move on.
Clear your mind. Breath. Come back to the moment.

Know the rules; then break them

Study form to leave form. You have first to understand the Essence of formal training. Only
then will you be able to let go of its ritualized limitations. 
It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.
– Picasso 
When you reach a certain level, intuition takes over. It becomes art for art’s sake. There is no competition anymore; it’s you vs. you.

Learn to love to fail

Exert yourself, but not so hard that you melt down.
Keep on winning enough to keep confidence high. Keep your natural love for the game. Enjoyment is key to success and improvement towards your goals.
Michael Jordan is one of the record holders for the most missed shots.
It’s not perfection, but the willingness to put oneself on the line as a way of life, that leads to greatness.
You have to be willing to look bad on the road to immortality.

Break down skills into their simplest units

Deconstruct every skill in smaller skills. And master each little skills. It’s depth over breadth. Profound mastery of basic skill set leads you to world-class status. Train those building block skills until it accrues to you like a feeling or a habit. It leaves consciousness and becomes part of you.
In-depth learning involves two abilities of your brain:
  • ChunkingHandling a significant amount of info at once. The more you work at something, the more of a habit it will become. You start handling tasks unconsciously, leaving more “brain room” for other tasks. 
  • Carved neural pathways: Making connection quicker & quicker between massive chunks of knowledge. You connect the dots and form a new understanding of your practice.
Start small. And increase the range little by little.

Adversity is your friend

Difficulty is fundamental. The difference between the mediocre & the best is that the best is willing to take risks.
No excuse.
Even injuries shouldn’t stop you. They can even be a blessing:  If you can’t do anything physically, work at it mentally. Visualize. There is always something to do, whatever comes in your way.
Adversity breaks patterns and fosters your creative mind to work around the obstacles.
Now, find a way to create adversity for yourself. Don’t wait for an injury or catastrophe to happen. Change environment. Set new deadlines. Don’t be afraid. Getting out of your comfort zone will lead you to grow.

It’s a mind game

Most of your success in life is set in your head.
If you can win the mind game, you can win everything. Being cool in the presence of pain is what separates the greatest from the mediocre. You can do anything. But you have to convince your mind, and you have to push through when things get tough.
How so?
  1. By being present. Be mindful & present should become your second nature, like breathing. Once you’re into the moment, in the flow, you can excel.
  2. By recovering. The mind can heal when you train your body. There is a beautiful balance between your physical and mental shape. Practicing meditation and breathing exercise can already regenerate your focus.

set the stage for optimal performance

A trigger is what sets you up for entering in the state of flow. For this, you can work on developing a routine that will let you connect physiologically to a state of mind.
The more you’ll practice your routine, the shorter it will become. To a point where you can merely visualize it to get into the flow.
How to enter the flow state with your routine:
  1. Don’t get emotional about your weaknesses, and always come back to your method if you need to reset.
  2. Know that your weaknesses can become strengths and your nerves can sharpen your game.
  3. Fake it til you make it. Garry Kasparov used to pretend to be confident Garry Kasparov when feeling down in a game. That was his trigger. Guess what? It ended up making him confident.

Also published on Medium.

About the author

Gary Paris

Hey, I'm Gary Paris. Yeah, yeah, like the city. In Texas. I'm a French comedian doing a bunch of stuff in NYC. Like standup, writing, or even acting. Discover all my little secrets here and check me out on Instagram.

By Gary Paris

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