Jan 272013

more learning acceleration

14 More Ways To Accelerate Your Learning And Progress

Hopefully, the first seven ways to accelerate your learning and progress were helpful.  Here are fourteen more to help you build and maintain momentum in pursuit of your dreams and objectives.

1.     Conquer performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety can stop you dead in your tracks.  If the anxiety is extreme, you may not be able to perform at all.  There are techniques for overcoming performance anxiety.  Figure out what works for you and use it religiously.  Seriously, relax!  You’re good.  You just need to believe in yourself and not worry what others think!  It’s easier said than done; I know.

2.     Push beyond.

Any weight lifter will tell you that they’ve achieved their most impressive gains when they’ve been willing to push beyond the point they thought they could handle.  That is, the point of pain, effort, belief, willpower, etc.  When you’re doing “easy repetitions,” whether in weightlifting, another sport, or most any endeavor, you are not making progress.  The progress is made at the margin, where you’re willing to push beyond the norm.

3.     Forget the critics.

Don’t worry about what the critics have to say.  If you want, you can take whatever is useful to you from their commentary.  If not, then ignore them altogether.  Their mission is not to make you successful; rather, it’s to tear you down, so you can be miserable like them.  Don’t buy into that game.  If you ever need inspiration in this regard, turn to one of my favorite quotes of all time, from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Citizenship in a Republic, a speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (23 April 1910).

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt

4.     Choose tougher opponents.

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and take on tougher opponents.  Regardless of your endeavor, if you want to stay in the shallow end and play the weaker opponents, you may have fun and boost your ego, but you will never get better.  The way to get better is to choose tougher opponents and be willing to lose sometimes (or a lot in the beginning).  Then, learn from your mistakes and keep upping your game.  If you’re never (or rarely) losing, you’re not pushing yourself enough by playing against tough competition.

5.     Set goals correctly.

Not everyone believes in goal setting.  In my experience and observation, goal setting can work well, particularly if goals are set correctlyThis involves ensuring that the goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.  If you are going through the work of setting goals, do yourself a favor and don’t make them so general that they’re not meaningful.  Also, make sure you have a big enough “why” (why are you going after these goals?), so that when you run into challenges, you’ll be able to summon the energy and perseverance to press on.

6.     Make sure you’re committed.

If you’re not committed to achieving your goals and dreams, no one else is going to be committed for you!  The responsibility rests on your shoulders.  You must take the bull by the horns and make it happen.  Ask yourself the question:  Am I interested or committed?  If you find that you’re just interested, that’s acceptable for entertainment purposes, but not for serious goals.  In order to take on a big goal or task, you must be committed, or the likelihood you will make it happen decreases significantly.

7.     Be bold.

As the Latin proverb goes, “Fortune favors the bold”.  When you are trying to achieve something, especially something extraordinary or “great,” you do yourself no favors by being timid.  Be bold.  Be willing to stand out from the crowd.  This may be completely out of character for some, especially the introverts among us, but trust me, you’ll be shocked by how much more you can get accomplished by being bold.  When you are bold, it works not just to convince others, but also yourself, of your conviction.

8.     Overcome perfectionism.

The more I live, the more I realize that perfectionism truly is the enemy of most accomplishment!  Perfectionism can cause us to do nothing.  Perfectionism can cause us to sweat unimportant details and not see the forest through the trees.  Perfectionism can cause us to beat ourselves up needlessly and get into a negative state of mind for no good reason.  I’ve struggled with perfectionism my whole life and it has been more apparent in certain areas of life than others.  It’s only when I’ve been able to give myself “a break” that I’ve been able to perform at my best in a variety of endeavors.  Performing well without the pressure of being “perfect” (virtually impossible in almost all endeavors) is much easier.  Give yourself a break and give it a try!

9.     Stop procrastinating.

Procrastination is caused, at least in part, by perfectionism.  We don’t get started because we don’t want to fail, with “failure” being defined as anything less than perfection.  With such unrealistic expectations, it’s no wonder that so many people procrastinate.  It is a source of frustration for many.  There are ways to overcome procrastination.  I suggest you study up on them and give yourself the knowledge and confidence to overcome your tendency to put things off, seemingly indefinitely sometimes.

10.  Overcome your fears.

Fears can immobilize us!  Fears, whether founded or not, can cause us to perform poorly in a whole host of situations.  It’s important to learn how to overcome your fears, so you can perform at your best as much as possible.  There are proven techniques for overcoming your fears, or at least lessening the impact of the “fear response” in key situations.  We all have fears, whether or not we’re willing to admit them.  If we want to accelerate our learning and our ability to make progress in our endeavors, we must understand how to conquer our fears.

11.  Understand the key requirements.

In order to accelerate your learning and progress, you must make an effort to understand the key requirements for success in your chosen endeavor!  There is almost never a good reason to reinvent the wheel.  In all likelihood, unless you’re doing something extremely cutting edge, there are other successful people in whose path you may follow.  Work with a coach, other subject matter expert, or mentor to first understand what you will need to have and do in order to be successful.  Only then can you take the most efficient route to success in your endeavor.

12.  Believe.

Strong belief can overcome shortcomings in many key areas.  No matter how difficult the road becomes, your job as an achiever is to continue to believe that you can be successful!  Such belief will give you energy where you thought you had none and it will allow you to tap the enormous reserve of willpower that we all have as human beings.  Without belief, little is possible.  With belief, almost anything is possible.

13.  Tap your will to succeed.

Find ways to tap your will to succeed.  We’re all different, so not all things that work for you may work for the next person.  But there are techniques you can find and develop on your own that will allow you to tap your willpower as needed.  In my experience, it’s helpful to have an inventory of inspirational people and stories in your mind, so that when the going gets tough, you’re able to call on those memories in order to get yourself to push on.  They can be memories from your past, or inspirational stories you’ve read or heard about.  I have used this technique to push far beyond where I thought I could go, both mentally and physically, in a number of very challenging situations.

14.  Plan, even if just a little.

Some of us have a tendency to “wing it” a bit more than we should.  I know that there was a time that I fell into that category.  It tends to come with the territory when you’re not suffering from a shortage of confidence – you believe that whatever challenge may arise, you’ll overcome it and attain your objectives.  With age and maturity, I have learned that even if you do just a little planning, often times the outcome far exceeds what you likely could have pulled off by “winging it”.  Don’t plan to the point of analysis paralysis, but put in some time to lay out the steps you expect will be necessary to achieve your objectives.  Don’t be surprised if you have to course-correct several times on the fly, but that’s OK!  As one of my mentors liked to say, “you should have a powerful plan that can change”.  Don’t be a slave to your plan, but let it provide you with at least a rough road map to where you’re trying to go.

I hope you will put these ideas to use and they will help you to accelerate your learning and progress in your endeavors!

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin



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Jan 252013

accelerate your learning

7 Ways To Accelerate Your Learning And Progress

If you are looking to accelerate your learning and progress more rapidly, here are seven ideas to help make it happen in any endeavor.

1.     Create a sense of urgency.

Without a sense of urgency, often times it’s hard to get started and stay focused.  This step may include creating “unrealistic deadlines”.  Such deadlines, while tough to meet, by definition, force you to focus and to employ all available resources, with a strong sense of urgency.

2.     Don’t worry about failing.

As long as you learn from “failure,” it can help you rather than hinder you (the magnitude of the failure is a factor, obviously).  You will need to fail a certain amount to improve to the next level in almost any endeavor.  If you are unwilling to fail, therefore, you cannot make it to the next level.

3.     Focus.

Lack of focus affects almost all of us, at one point or another in our lives.  Study after study has now shown that multi-tasking does not work.  Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you can multi-task and be as effective as you are when you focus on one thing at a time.

4.     Have a why.

If you have a compelling (to you) reason for doing something, you are far more likely to stick with it when the going gets tough.  Many refer to this as “having a why”.  The most important characteristic of a good “why” is that it matters deeply to you; do not worry about what others think.

5.     Stop whining.

Whining in our society runs rampant.  The key is not to be a whiner; rather, put on your big boy pants and step up to the plate.  If you are truly committed to what you’re trying to accomplish, instead of whining when things go wrong, you’ll stay focused on the prize.

6.     Practice correctly, with feedback.

By now most everyone is familiar with the concept of “deliberate practice”.  It is a form of practice wherein you don’t just show up and practice indiscriminately, without paying attention to potential areas for improvement.  If you are going to practice deliberately, you will pay attention to the results you achieve, then use that feedback to continually adjust your approach.  If you practice in this manner, you will likely achieve better results, faster.  You can provide feedback to yourself, but often times it easier, even essential, to have a knowledgeable coach working with you to accelerate your learning.

7.     Don’t overthink everything.

Even if you are a left-brain, analytical type, learn not to overthink everything.  Be willing to do a certain amount of trial and error.  This way you can avoid analysis paralysis, which can be a real progress inhibitor for the person who tends to want to explore every last potential detail and problem before getting started on an endeavor.  For complex endeavors, which include most that are worth achieving, such an approach usually is not realistic.

While speed is not always a major point of focus when we are trying to accomplish a goal or just getting started in an endeavor, often it is.  Given the pace at which our world is changing, many times if we’re not moving at a reasonable speed in our endeavors, particularly in competitive areas such as business and sports, we’re being left behind.  Hopefully, the ideas above will help you with accelerating your learning and making more rapid progress toward the accomplishment of your goals!

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin



Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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Sep 212010

As humans, we have a tendency to obsess about failures.  They worry us, they stick with us, they can drive us to drink, or worse.  Though this is a natural human instinct, you must avoid it like the plague.  First off, you should not be too quick to judge yourself or a particular endeavor a “failure”.  As one famous inventor (I think it was Edison) said when someone asked him if he had failed again with a certain experiment, “no, I’ve just eliminated another approach that does not work”.  This is the perspective you need to have.  If you are going to try to do things that are difficult, inevitably, you will suffer from setbacks.  Do not dwell on them, rather log what you can learn into your memory banks, then move on and don’t look back.  This is not to say that you should “deny” your failures; it is very important that you acknowledge their existence and learn what you can from them, but don’t let them bring you down and lessen the focus you will need to succeed next time.  History is full of people who have “failed” time and again, only to persevere and end up doing something extraordinary enough to make us remember their names.  Those are the people you want to emulate in your persistent pursuit of your goals.


Aug 302010

This point is aligned with the “always be learning and improving” lesson.  Just as you want to constantly seek personal growth and expansion of your horizons, it is critical that you encourage your employees and associates to grow as well.  If they stagnate, they will quickly suffer from the same fate you risk when you don’t constantly improve yourself – irrelevance and ineffectiveness.  This is not an argument for sending people on senseless boondoggle training sessions.  Rather it is an argument to be proactive in helping your employees find ways to constantly grow and network, and support them when they bring you ideas in this area.  I know what you’re thinking – “I’ll pay to get them trained then they’ll take off to the competition, or they’ll start their own venture”.  This is a risk, of course, but the reality is that you also face this risk (probably to an even greater degree), if you don’t support and encourage growth in your employees.  Handle these risks in a non-compete agreement at the front-end of the relationship, not by failing to provide support and growth opportunities once you’ve chosen to make someone part of your team..

Aug 202010

We’ve all heard the expression, “stay green and grow, or grow brown and rot”.  Nowhere is this mindset more applicable than it is in entrepreneurship.  If you are not constantly learning and growing, you will find yourself behind the eight ball, being lapped by your competitors.  Even in non-technology fields, where the industry change typically is not occurring at such a rapid rate, it is imperative that you are very curious, always wanting to learn, especially about issues that directly impact your business.  That being said, don’t limit your learning to those obvious issues that directly relate to your company or your industry.  Time permitting, also endeavor to learn and grow in areas that are only tangentially related to your business, or not related at all (at least not on the surface).  Push yourself!  You’ll be amazed at the potential for cross-pollination of ideas when you take your focused industry expertise and look at it through the lens of experts from other industries and areas of endeavor.  Typically, this is how the real quantum gains are made, not by those that have tunnel vision from being so intently focused in one particular area or industry.  That’s why good consultants get paid big money – they can see the big picture and help industry-focused experts learn from best practices prevalent elsewhere in the business world.  Never stop learning and cross-pollinating your knowledge..