Some tips for improving your skills

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Offline najnin

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Some tips for improving your skills
« on: October 02, 2012, 04:08:05 PM »
Let's start with the basics:

1. We all possess talents
2. We're unsure how to develop those talents to their full potential.

For most of us, the problem revolves around one word: 'how'. How do we recognize talents in ouselves and in those near us? How do we nurture talent in its early stages? How do we gain the most progress in the least time? How do we choose between different strategies, teachers, and methods?


Tip # 1

If you were to visit a dozen talent hotbeds tomorrow, you would be struck by how much time the learners spend observing top performers. When we say 'observing', we aren't talking about passively watching. We are talking about staring - the kind of raw, unblinking, intensely absorbed gazes you see in hungry cats or newborn babies.

We each live with a 'windshield' of people in front of us; one of the keys to igniting your motivation is to fill your windshield with vivid images of your future self, and to stare at them everyday. Studies show that even a brief connection with a role model can vastly increase unconscious motivation. For example, being told that you share a birthday with a mathematician can improve the amount of effort you're willing to put into difficult math tasks by 62 percent.

Many talent hotbeds are fueled by the windshield phenomenon. In 1997, there were no South Korean golfers on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour. Today there are more than forty, winning one third of all events. What happened? One golfer succeeded (Se Ri Pak, who won two major tournaments in 1998), and, through her, hundreds of South Korean girls were ignited by a new vision of their future selves. As the South Korean golfer Christina Kim put it, "You say to yourself, 'If she can do it, why can't I?'"

Think of your windshield as an energy source for your brain. Use pictures (the walls of many talent hotbeds are cluttered with photos and posters of their stars) or better, video. One idea: bookmark a few Youtube videos, and watch them before you practice, or at night before you go to bed.



to be continued...

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 10:05:40 AM »
Tip # 2

Spend Fifteen Minutes a day Engraving the Skill on your Brain:


What's the best way to begin to learn a new skill? Is it by listening to a teacher's explanation? Reading an instructional book? Just leaping in and trying it out? Many hotbeds use an approach I call the engraving method. Basically, they watch the skill being performed, closely and with great intensity, overand over, until they build a high- definition mental blueprint.

A few years back, for the TV show 60 minutes, the tennis teacher and author Timothy Gallwey assembled a group of middle-aged people who'd never played tennis before. He gave them a brief test of ability, and then selected the woman who showed the least potential. Then, without uttering a word, Gallwey began to hit a forehand while the woman watched. He directed her attention to his feet, his grip, and the rhythm of the stroke. The woman watched intently, then began to emulate his moves. Within twenty minutes, she was hitting a shockingly decent forehand.

Another example of engraving, which involves the ears instead of the eyes, is the 'Suzuki Method' for learning music. Each day, separate from their lessons, Suzuki students listen to a menu of songs, beginning with "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and progressing by degrees to more complex tunes. Hearing the songs over and over (and over), engraves the songs in the student's brains. The "listening practice" builds a strong, detailed mental map, a series of points from which the success or failure of each following attempt can be measured.

The key to effective engraving is to create an intense connection: to watch and listen so closely that you can imagine the feeling of performing the skill. For physical skills, project yourself inside the performer's body. Become aware of the movement, the rhythm; try to feel the interior shape of the moves. For mental skills, simulate the skill by re-creating the expert's decision patterns.

Chess players achieve this by replaying classic games, move by move, public speaker do it by regiving great speeches complete with original inflections; musicians cover their favorite songs; some writers I know achieve this effect by retyping passages verbatim from great works.

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 05:49:57 PM »
Tip: 3 Absorb Right one!

We are often told that talented people acquire their skill by following their "natural instincts." This sounds nice, but in fact it is baloney. All improvement is about absorbing and applying new information, and the best source of information is top performers.

Absorbing has a long tradition in art, sports, and design, where it often goes by the name of "influence." The young Steve Jobs peak the idea for the computer mouse and drop-down menus from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. As Pablo Picasso put it, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal."

Look at every single performer better than you and see what they have got that you can use. Then make it your own.

Absorbing or following helps shed light on some mysterious patterns of talent -- for instance, why the younger members of musical families so often are also the most talented. The difference can be explained partly by the windshield phenomenon and partly by absorb. As they grow up, the younger kids have more access to good information. They have far more opportunity to watch their older siblings perform, to mimic, to see what works and what doesn't.

When you absorb, focus on specifics, not general impressions. Capture concrete facts: the curve of a surgeon's wrist, the exact length of time a comedian pauses before delivering the punch line.

Ask yourself:

* What, exactly, are the critical moves here?
* How do they perform those moves differently than I do?

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 06:31:21 PM »
Tip 4: Buy a notebook

A high percentage of top performers keeps some form of daily performance journal. Tennis champion Serena Williams and former World Series MVP Curt Schilling use notebooks; the rapper Eminem and the choreographer Twyla Tharp use shoeboxes, which they fill with ideas written on scrap paper. What matters is not the precise form. What matters is that you write stuff down and reflect on it. Results from today. Ideas for tomorrow. Goals for next week. A notebook works like a map: It creates clarity.

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 02:18:15 PM »
Tip 5: Be willing to be stupid

Feeling stupid is no fun. This is way to build new connections in brain, which means reaching, failing, and yes looking stupid. Being willing to be stupid -- in other words, being willing to risk the emotional pain of making mistakes -- is absolutely essential, because reaching, failing, and reaching again is the way your brain grows and forms new connections. When it comes to developing talent, remember, mistakes are not really mistakes, they are the guideposts you use to get better.

One way some places encourage "productive mistakes" is to establish rules that encourage people to make reaches that might otherwise feel strange and risky -- in effect, nudging them into the sweet spot at the edge of their ability. For example, students at the Meadowmount School of Music often practice according to an informal rule: If a passerby can recognize a song , it's being played too fast. The point of this super- exaggerated slowness (which produces songs that resemble those of humpback whales) is to reveal small mistakes that might have gone undetected, thus create more high-quality reaches.

Businesses do it too. Google offers "20-percent time": Engineers are given 20 percent of their work time to spend on private, non approved projects they are passionate about. and thus ones for which they are more likely to take risks. Numerous organizations have employees sign a "contract" affirming that they will take risks and make mistakes. Living Social, the Washington, D.C., e-commerce company, has a rule of thumb for employees: Once a week, you should make a decision at work that scares you.

Whatever the strategy, the goal is always the same: to encourage reaching, and to interpret mistakes so that they're not verdicts, but the information you use to navigate to the correct move.

Offline Shabnam Sakia

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 01:00:14 PM »
Informative post for improving our basic skills. Thanks for sharing.
Sakia Shabnam Kader
Senior Lecturer (Physics)
Department of General Educational Development

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 08:04:45 PM »
Thanks a lot Shakia to read these tips. Hopefully these tips help us to change our inner skills.

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 08:14:24 PM »
Tip 7 # Choose Spartan over Luxurious

We love comfort. We love state-of-the-art practice facilities, oak-paneled corner offices, spotless locker rooms, and fluffy towels. Which is a shame, because luxury is a motivational narcotic: It signals our unconscious minds to give less effort. It whispers, Relax, you've made it.

The talent hotbeds are not luxurious. In fact, they are so much the opposite that they are sometimes called chicken-wire Harvards. Top music camps- especially ones that can afford better-consist mainly of rundown cabins. The North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which produced Michael Phelps and four other Olympic medalists, could pass for an underfunded YMCA. The world's highest-performing schools- those in Finland and South Korea, which perennially score at the top of the Program for International Student Assessment rankings- feature austere classrooms that look as if they haven't changed since the 1950s.

The point of this tip is not moral; it's neural. Simple, humble spaces help focus attention on the deep-practice task at hand: reaching and repeating and struggling. When given the choice between luxurious and spartan, choose spartan. Your unconscious mind will thank you.

Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 06:21:19 PM »
Tip 8 Make Positive Reaches

There's a moment just before every rep when you are faced wit ha choice: You can either focus your attention on the target (what you want to do) or you can focus on the possible mistake (what you want to avoid). This tip is simple: Always focus on the positive move, not the negative one. Psychologists call this "positive framing", and provide plentiful theories of how framing affects our subconscious mind. The point is, it always works better to reach for what you want to accomplish, not away from what you want to avoid.


Offline najnin

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 06:34:31 PM »
Ti 9: Use the sandwich technique:

Deep practice is about finding and fixing mistakes, so the question naturally pop up: What's the best way to make sure you don't repeat mistakes? One way is to employ the sandwich technique. It goes like this:

1. Make the correct move
2. Make the incorrect move.
3. Make the correct move again.

The goal is to reinforce the correct move and to put a spotlight on the mistake, preventing it from slipping past undetected and becoming wired into your circuitry.


The little book of talent - Daniel Coyle

Offline sadia_haque

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Re: Some tips for improving your skills
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 12:12:33 PM »
Really some information like these make us more inspired...