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Jul 22, 2019 19:29:51

What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practising scales?

by @santhoshguru PATRON | 673 words | ๐Ÿฃ | 267๐Ÿ’Œ

Santhosh Guru

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This was a question posed in, Marginal Revolution, one of my favourites and regularly caught-up blog. This question was inspired by the article from David Perell. The crux could be summed up by this argument:

Athletes train. Musicians train. Performers train. But knowledge workers donโ€™t.
Knowledge workers should train like LeBron, and implement strict โ€œlearning plans.โ€ To be sure, intellectual life is different from basketball. Success is harder to measure and the metrics for improvement arenโ€™t quite as clear. Even then, thereโ€™s a lot to learn from the way top athletes train. They are clear in their objectives and deliberate in their pursuit of improvement.
Knowledge workers should imitate them.

This triggered a lot of discussion on Twitter. A Twitter friend Daniel posted his answer in this thread and Tyler Cowen answered in his blog post.

This series of post is my attempt at answering the same question. Here are my routines for being a better version of mine. 

I will start with a disclaimer. I am no way perfect and I struggle every day to optimise the habits and stick with them as much as possible. But when it comes to routine, I take the approach of good enough rather than being perfect.

#1. Writing

I love to write. I use writing as a way to clarify my thinking and learn better. For the past 30 days, I start my day by writing "morning pages" in 750words.com. My mood really feels better and I feel private journaling is a great vent into the pressured self. 

I also publish here at 200 Words a Day. It is a snowballing effort, which will have high dividends in the future. I am getting better at this craft of writing. I need to really 10x my writing ambitions. I am a firm believer that in the age of abundance, inspiration is easily perishable. Everybody has a unique voice in themselves because of their diverse life experiences. So even if the thought or content may be cliched, it is worth jotting it out. I firmly believe writing is the new resume. You can give a peek into your brain and thinking process by writing and publishing online consistently.

I also write a lot of content for work. They are strategy documents, project overview, product specification, customer interview summary and so on. I have slowly converted the people around me to this mode of working. I spend time in research and thinking. After that, I will jot down my thoughts and elaborate it. Then I ruthlessly prune it to make it as a 1-pager or a short document.

#2. Note-taking and Highlighting

I maniacally take notes and highlight things whenever I read. I spend a lot of time in a day to read, mull over things. I mostly read online or in a Kindle. I make note-taking and highlighting to do this. To be present and read actively. Highlighting always keeps me on the alert mode in reading. I highlight things that really stand out for me. Inspiration is perishable at the same time, we all have multitudes in our selves. When I am inspired about a topic and read, my quality of attention is very high. The things that stand out to me, will never stand out for the lazy me in the future. Highlighting and note-taking are my means to enable retention and recall. 

I get a mail from ReadWise every day with 15 highlights of my reading materials. It is randomly generated. I make sure that I read it in the first half of the day when I am fully active. I truly believe in the concept of spaced repetition. ReadWise is one way to resurface the learnings I have done in the past. My past self has invested quality time and attention to a text. My future self just needs to recollect and move on. That content might be helpful for me in the future. But just reading my old notes and highlights is really important to me.

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