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Learn and improve in every skill!

Since last year I've been trying to constantly improve on stuff I do. For example improving my typing speed and learning music, which are the two things I've done so far. I also tried to improve at overwatch for a while, got to masters before quiting for other reasons.

However, in the time I've been doing this I've noticed patterns on how to improve at different skills. So I'm gonna compile everything I've learned until now here below.

First of all, there are different types of skills which I'm going to divide into the following types:

How to improve at Mechanical Skills

These skills are ones that are often associated with having to practice a lot to improve in them. And that's the right notion, you'll improve at these skills the more you practice. However, you need to have a few considerations before you jump right into them.

The first thing you need to do to improve at a mechanical skill is research. Find a method you want to learn, for example:

This first step will help you avoid developing bad habits and it will be faster to figure out what you need to work on the most. Do you often miss-type the o and i when practicing? maybe you are pressing each letter with the wrong finger. You get the idea.

Next you need to figure out an excersise you will do to improve. For example:

Now that you have the excersise you're going to do now its pure and solid discipline. Practice everyday for 30 minutes, don't make any excuses, practice even if you don't want to or are not at your best. If you're tired take a nap, do some meditation or lay in your bed looking at the ceiling for a while (without any stimuli, don't look at a screen or your phone, relax)

Ok that was a bit much, but it's true. If you practice a mechanical skill every day, 30 minutes a day for 3 months you'll get really good at it super fast.

To keep myself motivated I try to do 100 sessions of practice before I move on to a new skill. Even if I don't see results every day, the number of sessions is still going up, I'm still making progress. And that's it! Research, Define an Excercise and Practice Every Day.

Having good sleeping habits will also boost how fast you learn stuff. With this I mean having a little more than 8 hours every day resting in your bed. This doesn't mean sleeping for 8 hours straight, if you can't sleep just try to spend that time relaxing. Sleeping isn't another responsibility.

I'm not going to get more into sleeping habits, just know that sleeping well can boost your learning capacity. If you can't sleep just rest, it's not mandatory anyways.

How to improve at Decision Making Skills

Decision Making Skills are often very misterious. People don't know how to improve at them and just think they'll just get better through repetition. And that's half true, if you go through many decision making scenarios you will get better at them.

Examples of these scenarios are competitive games like Football, Chess, League of Legends, Overwatch, etc. Other examples are social scenarios like family gatherings, interacting with people, hangouts, teamwork scenarios at school, the office, etc.

The problem starts when you go through these scenarios and you stop being able to see how to improve. This may make you feel that maybe you did everything perfectly and somebody or something else is the problem when you don't get the outcome you wanted in these scenarios. 99 times out of 100 this is not the case, and there's at least one thing you could have done better.

In competitive games, where each match is an intense real-time decision making scenario, it is said people have two systems. System 1 are like fast decisions you are used to take: when people take damage I heal them, when they move forward I move back. System 2 on the other hand are slower, conscious and deliberate decisions you take in the moment: "maybe in this specific decision I'll do this instead of what I always do".

I saw this in a video I don't remember, but the source is a book called "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman if you want to look at it.

The thing is, to get better at these skills is to train your System 1 for most scenarios, and use your System 2 for rarer critical decisions. Using only your System 2 is too slow and overwhelming, while using only your System 1 will never lead you to improve and will get you stuck. So now that we know that lets get to how to improve.

First step is Evaluation, obtain a summary, video or record of one of the scenarios in which you want to get better. Analyse it and think about what you could have done better, maybe you comunicated something poorly, or could have used your time and resources more efficiently. You can compare your summary to the summary of a more experienced person and check for differences.

Now that you know what you could do better, decide on one single thing to do better the next times. Don't focus on two or more things at a time, go for only one. This way you are using your System 2 to train your System 1 in this particular thing.

The next step is Practice and Review: while in these scenarios try to keep in mind the thing you want to improve at. After the scenario is over, see if what you did worked or could still be improved. Keep repeating these two proceses until you do the thing automatically using your System 1.

After that, repeat the Evaluation step and improve at another thing.

If the thing you want to improve at is a game you can record your gameplay and review it afterwards. If you can't get a video or a similar record of the scenario (like in social scenarios for example), take your time to write about it in a journal and review it. And that's it!

How to Aquire Knowledge and Memorize Things

Here I can just share my personal experience, there are many ways to do this and it depends on the person. However what has worked for me is the following:

First, identify what do I need to memorize. Usually people give you some material to learn from, a book, a video, an essay, etc. Most of the time you don't need to be able to recite the book by heart, you only need to learn some points from the source.

I usually watch/read a section of the source I need to learn from. Then I go back at the beginning of the section and start writing what did I learn from that section while going through it again. I usually use bullet points for this and vague ugly drawing and diagrams.

After I'm done I have a couple of pages that summarize what I learned. Then I try to apply what I just learned with the summary, through excercises or discusions about the topic, the idea is to make connections and familiarize with the thing. This is not always possible but helps a ton.

And that's it! Those are the techniques I use to learn skills. I've had pretty good results with all of them:

So yeah, I hope this was useful. See ya!

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