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.