Getting better three ways

  |   Personal Development Print Friendly and PDF

You can get better at almost anything.

It’s not talent as much as concentrated effort that makes you good. At least, that’s how I read the research. So, don’t just sit there and think about how you’d like to be better. Get up, put a plan together, and get better.

“Better at what?” I hear you cry. Here are three ideas.

Get better at what you’re already good at.

Yep, this sounds a lot like “build on your strengths” except we’re talking about developed strengths, not necessarily strengths you were born with. Work on something that will help you get better at something you already do well.

Get better at what you’re not so good at.

Any time you identify something you don’t do well, you’ve got three choices. You can decide it’s not important and not worry about it. You can outsource it to someone else. Or you can get “good enough” at it.

You get the most payoff from your efforts if you identify weaknesses that don’t matter now, but might matter in the future. What do you need to do well at the next level?

Get better at something you think would be fun.

Try something new. What would you like to do that you can’t do now? Do you want to be able to cook some Italian dishes? Become a pilot? Learn more about opera? Don’t wish. Do. Make learning something new a project.

Three at a time, please.

I suggest you work at making some progress in each area every week. If you can do it every day, even better. Get a little better at something you’re already good at. Get a little better at something you don’t do well. Get a little better at something you’ve never tried before

Concentrate your efforts.

Don’t expect progress just because you’re working on something. Pick a specific thing you want to learn or improve. Plan how you will learn. Monitor your performance.

Give it enough time.

It’s tempting to try something right up until it gets hard. That’s when lots of people quit. Beat that tendency by committing to ninety days of regular, intentional work to improve. At the end of that time, if you want to give up, fine. But work out the string.

Always be improving.

Life is a grand adventure if you’re always growing and developing, always getting better. Make ABI, Always Be Improving, your motto.


Here are three great books that will help you ABI.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Smarter Faster Better The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

If you haven’t read any of these, I suggest starting with Charles Duhigg’s book. It’s the best written and covers the most ground.

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