in Becoming an Expert

How to Master Any Skill

Is the simple act of practice going to get you closer to expert status or is perfect practice the only way?

About a month ago, ran an article by Geoffrey James detailing the simple steps for “mastering any skill“.

In this essay, he discusses a strategy made popular by Greg Wingard that states:

“Your mind goes through six specific stages when mastering a skill–three in the “theory” segment, and three in the “practice” segment.

The Theory Segment

  • Unawareness: You are unaware that there is a skill to be learned.
  • Awareness: You realize you need to learn that skill.
  • Clarification: You understand what you need to do differently.

The Practice Segment

  • Awkwardness: You attempt the new behavior and find it difficult.
  • Familiarity: The new behavior is easier but still not automatic.
  • Automatic: You no longer think about the behavior but simply do it.”

Once you’ve reached the “automatic” sixth stage you have supposedly “mastered the skill”.

But, is this in fact the best way to build skills rapidly?

Can Expertise Be Broken Down Into Simple “How to” Steps?

The article then goes on to claim that there are five simple steps you should follow to stay on track:

  1. Script the new behavior.
  2. Practice it… perfectly.
  3. Rebound and fix.
  4. Accelerate through mental rehearsal.
  5. Make it part of your identity.

While this is not extremely detailed, the general outline of practice, adjust, and repeat is what you’ve been taught since you were a kid.

This list also perpetuates the widely held believed that “perfect practice” is the ultimate way to get better at something.

But, is there a better way to perfect a skill? Are there shortcuts to becoming an expert?

No Single Path to Expert Exists

We’ve already discussed how you should actually stop being a perfectionist and start making more bad stuff and how your good taste is actually holding your creativity back, so there really seems to be a wide range of opinions on what the best way to becoming an expert really is.

Should we all just agree to disagree? 😉

Or, is there an ultimate path for perfecting a skill that someone should be seeking out before they get started?

We’d love to hear what you think in the comments of this post or on the Expert Enough Facebook page.


More Doable Than You Might Think: Support Yourself Independently Doing What You Love on The Web

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Turning your skills and expertise into a way to support yourself is more doable than you might think.

There’s this big misconception about expertise, that you have to be one of the world’s top experts before you can earn a living from what you know.

But expertise isn’t an absolute. You might only be a 3, on a scale of 1 to 10, but there are plenty of 1’s and 2’s out there who would pay for your knowledge and experience, right now.

The key is to find a unique corner of your topic, to start building a tribe of people who trust you as their expert, not the expert, and to be resourceful about filling in the gaps by leveraging other experts when necessary.

This is why we built Fizzle, to teach you how to support yourself independently doing what you love on The Web. Fizzle is half training library, half supportive community, and it’s full of people like you who are building their thing online.

You’ll find big name courses in Fizzle, from well known and successful online business builders. We’re talking about courses like Book Yourself Solid (Michael Port), Start a Blog that Matters (Corbett Barr), and Connect With Anyone (Scott Dinsmore). And new courses are added every month.

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Since applying more and more from Fizzle, I’ve started making as much (sometimes more/month) from my online business as I do from my full-time job with a fraction of the weekly hours. It’s exhilarating. I owe you guys so much.
Preston Lee,

P.S. — we hope you’ll check Fizzle out, but we know it isn’t for everyone. We’re a little, um, different from your typical “business” training. Watch the video on the home page to see what I’m talking about. If it isn’t your style, no hard feelings :)