“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent are books on how to learn faster and operate more efficiently using scientifically proven methods.

In The Little Book of Talent, Coyle distinguishes between hard and soft skills.

Hard skill – high precision, focus on repeating exact skill, specialized pursuits, particularly physical,

ABC – Always Be Consistent 

Soft Skill – high flexibility, agile, interactive, intuitive, instinct, less specialized

3 R’s – Reading, Recognizing, Reacting

Hard and soft skills are important to distinguish because they use different parts of the brain. Different methods are needed to develop them. One hundred percent laser like focus is needed on hard skills like learning how to perform the olympic weightlifting movements.

Coyle write, “If you aren’t sure if the skill is hard or soft, here’s a quick litmus test: Is a teacher or coach usually involved in the early stages? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely a hard skill. If it’s no, then it’s a soft skill. Comedians need to consistently write and focus each and every day. This routine is a skill but their magic is in the soft skill of flowing on stage with their ability to control a crowd or arena.

That’s all well and good, but what now?

-To build hard skills, work like a carpenter – must be detailed in this process

-To build soft skills, work like a skateboarder – allow mistakes and allow creativity to flow

-Focus on the trunk, then on the branches – Start at the fundamentals before the extras

Question of the Day: What kind of skill is Olympic Weightlifting, like Kendrick Ferris below?


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