Practice, but also experiment

Once your objective is clear, a key ingredient to reaching it is to get to work and practice, over and over again.

Whether it’s learning to do Transcendental Meditation, or to write well, or to play the guitar, or learn to write code, practice will be the thing that determines the level of mastery you achieve, and how quickly you achieve it.

Not all practice is equal though, as new research from Case Western Reserve University conducted in 2016 shows. Their meta-analysis concluded that constant practice accounted for just 20-25% of the skill level achieved in games such as chess, or music, or sports.

They discovered that other factors such as age, genetic makeup, and how you learn all combine to determine how long it will take you to learn a specific craft. (I also think that innate talent plays a role here too.)

Most would be familiar with the 10,000 hour rule, popularised by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. He said that practice mattered more than anything else in determining the level of skill and success achieved.

Business leaders like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Netflix’s Reed Hastings say that success is more of a function of experimentation than deliberate practice. So rather than just doing the same thing over and over again, they are constantly experimenting, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, then continuing to practice based on the results of those experiments.

So as you practice, also experiment. Try different learning methods, different techniques, different teachers, or practice at different times of the day to see what works best for you.