We can enhance the quality of our lives by enhancing our skills. Developing a skill is only a matter of practice and we can build practice into our lives through our daily habits. We start by breaking down the macro skill into its micro parts and we practice these micro parts every day.
We start with 30 days and we pick one micro skill that we know we will be able to accomplish every single day for those 30 days. Then, when the 30 days are over, we move forward and expand upon this foundational practice habit we have formed. As we continue on to our next 30 days, we not only get better at the skills we are pursuing, but we also engrain the habit of practice into our mind, body and soul.
As the habit of practice gets engrained into our entire being more and more each day, we become more and more compelled to practice our given endeavors and before we know it, there is so much momentum pushing us towards our goals that we become the very skills we are pursuing.
If we do this for long enough, we become masters of these skills and then we go into the teaching phase of learning, which helps us to learn our given skills on yet an even deeper level. The possibilities are endless, we can continue to get better and better and have fun the entire time we follow this process.
I struggle with assertiveness and advocating for myself at times in different areas of my life and this struggle is really just a reflection of my lack of skill. There are many reasons for the lack of skills but whats important to recognize is that assertiveness is a skill. With practice, this skill can be learned. Communication itself is made up of micro skills that form our macro communication style and effectiveness as a whole. We can build all sorts of micro communication skills, one by one, and become great communicators after a while.
The same goes for a career change, even a drastic one. You could be a doctor today and completely transition yourself into a new career path of music just by picking up the guitar and putting it down every single day for 30 days, and then expanding upon that habit. The next set of 30, you could pick it up and do 1-2-3-4 finger fret and pick exercises. From there, you could learn the G chord. The next 30, the C chord. The next 30, the D chord. Now you can spend another 30 learning 1 whole simple song. From there you have now built up the habit of practicing guitar for over 150+ days and can expand on it even more, by learning the rest of the chords, then scales, then music theory, etc.
Before you know it, you are craving practice of 1-2 hours a day (or even more) and are willing to give up other focus areas in your life such as watching Netflix or reading magazines. You are getting better and better each day and you haven’t even been playing for a year yet. This continues on for some time and 3-4 years later you can go into teaching guitar or playing open mic nights, or join a band.
Obviously, a career change like this could have substantial financial hindrances, but even those can be handled with skills. We live in a day and age where there are less and less barriers to entry for business opportunities and just about anyone can make money from their skill sets.
In our Doctor to Musician example above, who is to say that they could not work really hard and start posting content on YouTube showcasing their guitar skills, providing free unique lessons, then branching out into Skype 1 on 1 lessons, developing a whole personality around how they play and teach guitar, etc.
After a while, maybe they can build an entire website around their music and teaching guitar in new and innovative ways. If someone was truly diligent in an effort like this, building up the foundational habits, theoretically, they could make a nice living doing something like this or perhaps there are other creative monetization tactics they would think of.
The same concept goes for learning history, learning another language, writing a book, learning to code, martial arts, leadership skills, eating healthy, going vegan/vegetarian, reading 50 books a year, spiritual pursuits, cooking, photography/film making, learning to dance, sing, skydive, ski/snowboard, design clothes, start a business, the list goes on.
Keep it simple and start small, develop the micro skills first and the macro skills will come together naturally later on.
Trust the process.
The real trouble is choosing what you want to focus on, but just go after things you like doing to simplify that decision.
If you want to be a documentary film maker for instance, record 5 minutes of footage every single day for 30 days, the next 30, learn how to mix and edit some of them together and add sound. Next 30, focus on one topic, record 10 minutes of footage per day, the next 30, edit them together. The possibilities are endless when you look at life in this new light of expanding our habits.
If all of this is at your fingertips, why aren’t you practicing towards your dreams right now?
– Mark Twain
Say that every day for 30 days and see what happens.
In a future topic I will talk about how we can use the Expanded Habits concept to tackle fear as well.