The Mind is the Key to Progress


A lack of focus is killing your progress in training.

Let me back up. There is a word called ‘practice’ that perfectly describes the key to learning anything. I describe practice as focused and repeated exposure to an unchanging task in order to increase the efficiency of your execution of this task.

Locked inside this definition is an unsexy truth about how learning works and the requirements for becoming proficient in any given field: by providing time and focus to prioritize practice in one area, you must sacrifice time away from others. In other words, when you are working on one thing, you are not working on something else. 

The first step is to be all in with your focus on your current task. Whether that is as easy as making the decision in your mind to dial it in or physically placing yourself in a specific environment that allows you to create that experience is individual. However you achieve this, it needs to happen.

Next is recognizing how much time is going to be required to make this goal a reality. Some goals may require an hour of practice five to six days per week. If you have one and a half  hours of time to do physical training and you are spending one hour doing something else, that only leaves 30 minutes to work towards your goal. There are no hacks, no pills, no microdoses that will make your brain learn faster. You can take better advantage of time, but you cannot replace it.

This is really the crux of physical training. Simply make a plan that says you will practice your desired skill for one hour, six days per week, for the next month. This is 24 hours of practice in a single month. Compare this to the common practice of adding 10 minutes to the end of a workout three times per week to learn something new. This would take 48 weeks to accumulate 24 hours of practice.

I said there are no hacks, but maybe diving into a goal with everything you have is the oldest hack in the book. Block off one month to work on something new with diligence and focus. Truly dedicate yourself to learning and see if you don’t make more progress in this short period of time than you have in the last 5 years of only thinking about it.