To get started, ask yourself these questions …
How will your life be like in ten years if you kept doing the same thing you are good at?
How would you feel if you met someone your age with an improved version of your skill?
Examine your life goals. Have you limited your goal setting to things that you can do comfortably and safely?
Often times, when balancing work and life, we find ourselves in a rot. We are basically going through the motions of everyday living with no time to discover new skills and improve on old ones. In other words, we lose our hunger for new knowledge, experiences and eventually the ability to think outside the box.
In the 1960s, some psychologists helped figure out why this happens. When acquiring a new skill, we essentially pass through three stages;
The Cognitive stage; this involves, intellectualizing a skill, discovering new strategies to perform better, making mistakes, concentrating and consciously focusing on what needs to be done.
The Second stage is the Associative stage; Here, we make fewer errors and essentially get better at performing tasks related to the learnt skill.
Finally, at the third stage, The Autonomous stage; we are considered experts and masters of our art.
Achieving this milestone is great but it can also be detrimental to the development of our minds. A person at the Autonomous stage typically assumes to be okay with how good they have gotten at mastering the skill and stops paying critical attention to the skill.
In a few easy steps, see how you can break this barrier and continue to achieve excellence.
1. Stay out of the Autonomous phase; Experts discovered that the strategy to pushing the boundaries of excellence is to consciously keep our mind at that cognitive stage even when your skill level is high. This means that you keep intellectualizing and discovering new strategies to perform better.
2. Treat your Art like a Science; Collect, Analyze, Create and Test theories to find what works.
3. Get Comfortable with Failure; Operating outside your comfort zone exposes areas of improvement. The more you fail at a task, the more opportunities you have to analyze your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Always seek out people more competent at your skill and learn from them.
5. Focus on the fun; Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.