How To Get Better At Anything

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You might have heard of the widely touted theory, that approximately ten thousand hours of deliberate practice makes you a master of a craft. That’s a huge milestone even to set for someone starting something with zero expertise.

Writing and reading was never my forte. As a kid growing up, I’ve always been captivated by writers whose words could seem to wrap myself into another dimension. The flow of words and how it was written seemed like an art form by itself.

If you’d told me that I would be writing articles in this blog a year ago, I would have never believed it. I did not have any exceptional talent or skill in writing. And the reason why I learnt to write was to better process my thoughts into words. A skill which might come in handy for school or even work in the future. The last I remembered it took me pretty long to churn out a hundred words which might never make it into the final article.

So how do you get better at something? Well for starters, remove the goal of ten thousand hours. That’s a long time, approximately four hundred and sixteen full days. Instead, focus on getting better every day. I call this the one per cent rule.

Instead of monitoring your progress every ten, hundred or thousand hours, focus on today. You have to improve by one per cent every day in whatever you are trying to get better in. Say I would like to improve my writing skills, I would have to get a little better today compared to yesterday and so on. If I am learning a new language, I have to learn one new word today compared to yesterday.

The thing is, over a longer time horizon, the effects of compounding kicks in. And one per cent today would be equivalent to an exponential increase of one hundred and thirty-four per cent in a month, and over three thousand per cent over a year!

So the next time you want to get better at anything, remember the one per cent rule. You don’t have to set a crazy high milestone but to practice and be a little better today than you were yesterday.

Additionally, I’m curious as to what are you working to improve on? Feel free to share them with me!

 

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