Thursday, December 1, 2016

How To Become Better At ...

Over the years, friends and co-workers have consulted with me to discuss how to become better at a variety of things.  We have discussed everything from becoming better at math and playing card games to developing products and leading teams.

We have shared with one another our own stories of self-improvement successes and our observations of extremely successful people.

Blog To Action - How To Become Better Infographic
Blog To Action "How To Become Better" Infographic

In most cases, I believe that the individuals that are the most successful at becoming better at something consistently repeat 3 basic steps: They Decide, They Learn, and They Do.

How To Become Better At ... :

1. Decide

First, fill in the blank.  Decide what you will be better at doing or being.  It may be something completely new to you or it may be an incremental improvement to an already growing area of expertise for yourself.

It may be something you choose out of necessity or something based upon your personal desires.  In some cases, the decision may actually be made for you by a parent, teacher, or employer.

Whatever the situation, I believe that the individuals that are most successful at becoming better at something do so with conscious intent.  They set specific goals for themselves to improve.

2. Learn

After determining what you will be better at doing or being, learn more about it.  You may learn from a mentor, teacher, or employer who is already an expert in your area of interest.

You may need to receive specific training, complete certain scholastic courses, or acquire specific degrees or certification.  You may also be self taught and get the knowledge you require by reading books or getting information available online.

Some level of learning will be required to effectively become better at doing or being what you want.  Even if you are learning by trial and error you will learn what not to do to improve.

3. Do

Get out there and do it!  Whatever you call it: practice, trial by fire, or faking it until making are more likely to improve by doing.

Performing physical activities may lead to building muscle memory that makes improvement easier.  Repeated cognitive activities may lead to the "hardwiring" of your brain to perform certain tasks more readily.

Yes, it may not be easy to just start applying what you've learned to improve.  To do so will likely require resource (i.e., time, money, or other people) and opportunity like a new work assignment, job, or other project depending upon your area of interest.

If you successfully improve and reach your goal at this point, great!  Success may also lead to increased confidence resulting in additional self-improvements.

If you fail to improve or stumble doing so, try to learn from the experience.  You may learn that you don't have the necessary knowledge, skills, or capabilities at this point.  You may identify additional improvement areas to focus on.  You may also collect feedback to share with your mentor, teacher, or employer so that he or she may better guide or instruct you.

Consistently repeat these three steps to greatly increase your chances of success at becoming better at what you set out to do.  It seems to be the pattern followed by many extremely successful people.  At a minimum you will likely become more practiced and better and making personal decisions, learning, and subsequently doing.

Whatever you choose to do don't forget that time is precious.  If you want to become better at something, why wait?  Take positive action now towards setting and meeting your self-improvement goals.

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