Your ticket to greatness: Skill

June 11, 2017

What can you do?


This should be the defining question of your personal and professional life.


Why is this?  The answer is simple, and yet so many people get it wrong.  The answer is:  because this is how you are valued.


And how you are valued determines how you are rewarded.


Get this and you will have unlocked a great secret to life:  Life is not about being "knowledgable" about anything.  It is completely about being skilled.


You can read 100 books about any subject, and still be totally unskilled in that subject.


You can be that math expert, not having ever proved a theorem.  You can be that parent who has read all the parenting books out there, and still clueless with your own children.  You can consume 50 cooking books and watch the Food Network all day long, and not be able to produce a basic chocolate cake.


And on and on.


Take a quick survey of your life:  Where are you "knowledgeable" vs. where are you really skilled?


Most people, I believe, have 4 distinct areas of knowledge and skill, all at once:


"Indifferent" are all these areas where you simply don't care.  You know a bit about the subject in general, and that's it.  For me, as an example, I'm indifferent about basketball.  Don't care much about it, don't know much about it, have no skill, apart from having thrown a few balls at a basket.


"Enthusiast" are all these areas where you actually enjoy knowing about something, and may have read about it, watched videos about it, perhaps have taken courses.  However, you are not really skilled - they are entertainment for you and no more.  For me, for instance, I would put mountain climbing there.  Love it, love people who do it, love watching films about it, wish to do it "someday"... yet never get around to actually meet even an average hill and climb it.


Okay, now it gets interesting:


"Talented" are all those areas where you actually have some level of skill - naturally, even without much knowledge or even without much practice.  You are not great, just talented - i.e., there is "potential" there, as some might say.  Learn about it, practice, and you might be great.  For me, a place where I'm talented is music, specifically playing the piano.  And I could fool you into thinking I'm any good.  Unless you are somewhat knowledgeable about music, in which case you'd conclude I'm talented (and no more).


Finally:  "Great".  Great are those areas where you have actually spent a lot of time - both consuming knowledge, as well as practicing - honing your craft.  For me one area is writing, or to be more specific - marketing type copywriting.  I really love it, and have become quite good at it.  Another one for me is business consulting.  Have spent many years at it, and can, in a matter of one hour, transform a business completely, via strategic thinking.  Talented at it, but more than that - extremely knowledgeable, and extremely well-practiced.


Be knowledgeable, be well practiced


These are the 2 keys.


No matter where you find yourself on the graph above, if you really want to become great, in the top right quadrant - it means being very knowledgeable and constantly practicing.


The practice shortcut


But how do you become knowledgeable?


Schools, universities, online trainings, etc., would have you believe that to become knowledgeable you have to consume content.


I'm afraid this is completely wrong.


In fact, consuming content can actually deprive you from becoming great.


Without diving too deep into this, here's why:  First, it will give you the false feeling that you are actually progressing.  You are not.  Watching a video or reading a book does not mean you have skill.  It only means you've understood a concept... well, to some degree.


Second, consuming content is addictive, and in fact very easy to do, since it is passive.  What typically happens, is that practicing becomes an unwanted chore, whereas practice is where progress is really made.


Once you realize that practice is a shortcut to knowledge, you will be on the express path to being great.


Only practice.


Get as little new content as you need, and only when it's needed.  Then practice, until you reach a level where you have to have this additional piece of knowledge... then practice some more.


Not convinced?


Look at top athletes or top musicians.


How did they become great?


Well, they had a very simple plan, laid out by their coaches:  Practice.


Yes.  The music teacher looks at the talented student and says:  "Okay, start".  5% explaining, 95% practice.


So for those of us who like formulas, here it is:  5% content, 95% practice.


Your next step


I have some great news for you.


Skill Blaster is all about making you great.


It is therefore all about practice, and all about spending your time in the right place - namely, 95% of it practicing.


Your knowledge will increase automatically when you practice - it will be inevitable.


The first tool I will be releasing very soon is called "Practice DB" - a practice database.


In it, you will find a growing repository of solved practice problems.


You are meant to try and solve these problems (in the area you are studying).


And if you are stuck, or do not understand a problem, just go to the solution - as you read it, behold:  you are gaining new knowledge.  And at exactly the right amount - that needed for you to solve the next practice problem.


This sounds very simple, because it is.


Most places make learning complex and inefficient.  This shouldn't be so, once you realize you do not need to be immersed in content.


Instead, you need to take very small steps, that together create a huge leap for you.


Enjoy and let me know your thoughts and experiences!


Amir Hardoof

Founder of Skill Blaster and Practice DB

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