Quick, think about something you are really good at. Something that you are better at than all your friends and colleagues. Go ahead, I’ll wait . . .
How often have you practiced?
Many of us, do something well and don’t practice it very much. Others get to where they are by practicing daily. Somewhere out on the lunatic fringe, there is a few of us who practice in a very special way. We unlearn.
It sounds kind of weird, I know. There’s a reason though, to unlearn something you are good at and try again – in fact, this is the secret to mastery.
**Vaguely Scientific Content Ahead**
Human psychology is, at best, a bit goofy at times. One of the tricks we play on ourselves is called a Fundamental Attribution Error or (FAE). These FAE’s occur when we think the cause of an event is one thing, when in fact it is something else. If you think that dancing, in fact, brings rain, you have an FAE regarding the cause of rain. These FAE’s exist because the human brain likes to find causes and effects and this is where the imperfections in our capability begin.
** Whew, the Scientific stuff is over**
So with these incorrect beliefs around cause and effect we start integrating superstitious behavior into our expertise. We think, for example that certain foot placement is the “most important” part of our golf swing, or a certain route while driving is guaranteed to be faster. These are most of the time WRONG!
When we unlearn what we think we know – we can inspect some of these errors in our thinking and remove them. This opens doors to new approaches and allows you to consider changes that weren’t possible before.
It is rumored that Tiger Woods rebuilt his golf swing three times. He unlearned his golf swing and learned a new one that better served his purposes. You can do the same.
Take a couple minutes to think about that thing you are really good at – and look for your superstitious behaviors around it. Look for problem solving toolkits online to help you think about your own practices regarding a given skill. They are made to solve problems, and in a way, your superstitious behaviors about how to do something is a problem. Try it – you might like it. Here are a couple:
- Lateral Thinking
- Oblique Strategies
- Morphological Analysis
Such tools inspire questions like: Do you always do it in a specific order? Can you change the tools you use? Can it be done in the dark? What if you tried to do it wrong?
Ultimately, the way you truly master a skill or technique is to continue to question if the facts and assumptions you currently hold are still valid.