The Five General Steps for Acquiring a Skill

1. Observe the skill to be learned as a whole.

- Assess its prerequisites and learning curve

- Verify the perfect end result that the skill aims to accomplish

- Determine the sequence of steps done when performing the skill

Ex. the skill of good writing

Fundamentals: Spelling, grammar, vocabulary

Perfect end result: well-written stories, poems, essays

Steps: Learn basic spelling and grammar, read good literature, expand vocabulary, write 4 hours a day, edit you work after a short interval of time

2. Segregate the skill into steps and diligently train in each one.

- Determine a reasonable amount of time for each training session. Make each training sessions short and intense.

- Plan a system for training, allotting the time and energy to each step

- Perform your regimen and stick to it.

- Repeat the sessions until a habit is formed

- Remember to focus your attention and energy with each training session so as to embed your skill into your conscious and unconscious mind.

- Remember not to overtax yourself, as a tired brain is less efficient in learning.

Ex. Read four hours a day, write fours hours a day

3. Connect the steps into a seamless whole

- Put your steps together and aim to create the skill’s perfect end result

- Continue practicing diligently until the skill is second nature

Ex. Write your first novel

4. Obtain expert feedback

- Show your work to someone else, as practitioners often have a blind spot for their work’s weaknesses.

- Value the opinions from people who understand and practice your skill above those who do not.

Ex. Allow an editor to look at and clean up your writing after you finish it.

5. Re-assess your results and your regimen, and make adjustments to your training where necessary.

- Kaizen: Learning a skill is a continuous process; there is always a better way to do things.

- Use your skill continuously. As with any muscle, a skill unused wastes away.