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).
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 correctly. This 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.
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.
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