Powerful Mental Techniques to Learn Skills — Faster
These are the mental methods allowing you to more quickly reach skill mastery. Each is worth learning separately. Together, reduce time wasted and money lost in the practice phase of the skill building process.
There are five mastery practices:
It has long been known that mental practice will enhance the ability to perform physically (Bray 1948). Mental rehearsal has long been used in sports psychology. This is the case for motor skills and is likely to be true with pure mental skills such as listening. In combination, they offer a valuable set of options to enhance skills in general.
These are the mental methods allowing you to more quickly reach skill mastery when learning other application skills. Each of them are useful in the applications beside skill development. The five practices are:
The importance of meditation as a Mastery Practice cannot be overestimated. It is one of the best tools we know to be able to change the internal "software" running in the mind. It is relatively easy to learn -- most induction practices take around 30 minutes -- but people spend an entire lifetime mastering how to use this special state of mind.
It's been the observation of many, that people don't learn anything – well not very much — from experience. Those who master reflection won't make the same mistake twice, and you can even learn from other people's mistakes. It serves as a tool for insight on what to do or change.
If you ask the average person if they talk to themselves, they would probably respond with, "Are you nuts?" But here's the thing. Your self-talk serves as the basis for your mental programming. Your positive or negative sets the stage for how you going to act in the future and in the present. Controlling thought serves as the foundation for all great success.
The great entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists will tell you that all great works start first in one's imagination. It's one of the major practical tools needed to master skills. If you can't visualize what you want, it's unlikely that you will get it. Mental imagery is a mental muscle waiting to be exercised.
Mindfulness as a developmental process has been around for at least 2500 years. It has long been an integral part of Buddhist practices, practices that are now appearing more often in the West (Jayaram, 2008). In fact, Western psychology has taken a great deal of interest in mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention to deal with problems such as stress (Kabat-Zinn, 2007).
Bray, C. W. (1948). Psychology and Military Proficiency. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.
Kabat-Zinn, John (2007). Mindfulness Stress Reduction And Healing. Google Tech Lecture, March 8.
Jayaram V, (2008). Right Mindfulness, Hindu Web Site
It Works. Mental rehearsal has long be a used in sports psychology.
It's The Only Way To Build Mental Skills. This is the case for motor skills and is likely to be true with pure mental skills such as listening.
It Reduces Practice Time. Mastery Practices take you from novice to mastery in less time — they function like catalysts.
It Compliments Physical Practice. The brain does not distinguish between mental and physical practice.
Separately, these are useful. Together, they're down right powerful.
You can't be world class unless you know — really know — how to use the mind to practice. It's as simple, and as complex, as that.
Most university degrees are way too much theory and not enough practice. Learning skills are better done with coaching outside the classroom.
General coaching skills are valuable. They can be even more valuable if one knows how to use the mastery practices.
You have to learn what the competition (other managers) don't know to stand out.
The best companies identify their high potentials. And one-way to get on that list is to keep learning. It makes you adaptable and more promotable.
Sure, in an 80-hour work week there is not much time available. But that doesn't mean one should give up on learning something new.