The gift that keeps on giving [skills and habits]

Not all goals are created equal. Some are simple tasks or trivial to the point that you just go ahead with them without much problem or consequence. But there are those others which we appreciate most. We feel so strongly because once completed they will be producing positives for the rest of our lives.

Of course, we are talking about those which result in new skills and good habits.

Today we’ll look at some useful tips and interesting stories to cover this topic.

The “eighth wonder” of the world

Well, it’s not the “GoalBuddy” even though it might very well be the ninth wonder…

According to Einstein, this eighth wonder is the compound interest. Well, newly acquired skills and habits have the same quality.

Once achieved this type of an objective will continue giving back to us just like money deposited in a savings account. When a new skill turns into a routine it will compound its positive effect over a long period of time.

Improving yourself in something that is important to you may not be the most exciting endeavor of yours, but it’s certainly a good idea. And if this new ability would help you in the next several decades – this is one smart thing you should do.

Do you need a system then?

Not necessarily.

Some things you learn in the usual way. Like driving a car – you take some driving lessons and with time you get better and better.

But there are those other cases when you have long-standing dreams. If you think you do not have the time or abilities than it’s a good idea to consider a more systematic approach.

In this, a goal-setting system would be extremely helpful in finding out why you want it, as well as to set short-term objectives and then push towards them with perseverance with the help of your Buddy.

How to be successful on autopilot

We will never get tired of pointing out the power of small consecutive steps and their cumulative effect over time. When we regularly take actions in the same direction we end up doing it automatically. That’s how a habit happens.

The first condition is to figure out how to do something better, and then persevere in it until it becomes a second nature. The results will be remarkable.

When you are greatly impressed by the success of someone ask yourself this one question – what is this thing that made the difference in terms of scale and applied effort.

How skills emerge and develop

There are 2 possibilities: either spontaneously or through our conscious effort.

The Rubik’s Cube is a good illustration of how one can do it the easy or the hard way.

There are plenty of tutorial videos on the Internet that can show you the best algorithm. You will get it minutes. But if you try to come up with it on your own then it might take weeks and even months.

(There’s a third way which Niki’s kids figured out. They simply peeled off the color stickers and then re-arranged them.)

This overarching truth could be used in any aspect of life when it’s often like the Rubic’s Cube. You can take advantage of some well-established methods of learning or you can try to re-invent everything from scratch. But then don’t ask why the latter is so much harder.

Examples

Let’s go over some of these now.

But first, think of what is this thing that you will need not just now but in the future.

Niki and the ten-finger typing

Niki’s first business was in his senior year of high school when he with a couple of classmates opened one of the first computer services in Sofia.

Just imagine this. It’s a small room in the service area of the dormitories where Niki sits in front of the green monitor of a PC typing student’s thesis. And he does that with his two index fingers…

He quickly realized he wouldn’t be able to be very productive. So, he took the time to master the ten-finger typing system.

“I have always wondered why people are reluctant to learn how to type especially when it is an essential part of their job.”

A checklist to see if it applies to you

We strongly advise you to learn typing with all your fingers if:

  • You work on a computer.
  • There is much creativity involved in your work and in that case you don’t want to be constantly distracted by the need to search for the right key.
  • If you calculate how much time you will save by being able to use all of your fingers.

Ivan and AutoCAD

Ivan has often witnessed how some experts don’t know well the software they use daily. And he is always very happy to watch their total transformation when they go through training and then become much more productive. Instead of 8 hours, they would cover the same amount of work in just 2.

“It’s foolish not to maintain your professional level. You might be very good in your area of expertise but if you don’t know well the software it will quickly become an issue. The reverse case is as bad – you are highly proficient with the software but as a professional, you are far from being 100%.”

The ability to manage your money

You should start practicing how to save as soon as possible… Since, we are sure the opposite one, i.e. how to spend, you already mastered.

Everyone needs to know how to manage their personal finances, to invest instead of just spending it. There is a lot of you can find in the many available books, courses, seminars, etc.

Here is one more point for today.

The ability to learn

If you’re anything like Niki and have his love for learning then half of the job is done.

In any case, to become better, faster, more productive requires that you learn how to… learn.

There are hundreds of good methodologies for almost anything you can think of. For example, one is how to start learning a foreign language. Many years ago it was a matter of simply writing down many times of the new word. Nowadays, the Spaced Repetition System postulates rules that make it greatly easier to remember new information.

The message we want to communicate is that you can become better. There are many learning systems to employ towards pretty much anything you need to improve in. What you have to do is first to set up a goal, to give it a try and then get into it for real.

Habits

We previously talked a lot about how to execute goals for building habits. These are among the most potent ones precisely because once you build them up, you no longer need to make the effort. You will be able to perform daily and automatically. And that will be quite impressive in the eyes of everybody.

If exercising 3 times a week stays a constant part of your routine and then, sooner or later, it will become your second nature. Just look at Ivan, who all of his life was staying away from any physical effort and now you can hardly stop him from going to the gym.

Meditating daily will bring many positives to you. Niki can vouch for that since he has been doing it for more than 800 consecutive days.

What is it that they don’t teach us in school?

Perhaps it is the most important ability, i.e. how to fulfill dreams.

And that’s too bad because it’s pretty easy in fact. It won’t be too hard if you are aware of the 4 keys and our favorite goals, i.e. the ones for skills and habits.

Tell us in a comments section below about the skills you acquired a long time ago and are still helping you across the board all your life. But don’t forget to explain how you managed to do so. That will be of great interest to the rest of our readers.

Thanks and see you soon!

 

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