How best to improve your skills and performance


How to acquire new skills? How to become better or the best at things that you know? Learn how to focus and remain motivated on the important things that can help you improve your talent and skillsets.

Whenever I encounter a gifted person, with an exceptional talent, my first reaction is, of course, that of awe. There have been times when I have wondered how much effort, sacrifice and practice must they put into the whole thing, to be able to achieve the level of perfection that they attain.

There were times when I have wished that I had been born with some incredible talent, so I could accomplish great feats. But, I found solace in the knowledge that lesser mortals can only dream big; because they aren't blessed with the right genes.



I hate to admit it, but I was making a terribly wrong judgement. A bit later in life, I realised that talent is not just based on genes alone, talent can also be a result of persistence and labour; it can also be kindled.

The talent that is the result of an individual's resolve and hard work is ignited with fleeting, yet powerful encounters that spark inspiration and act as a stimulus, that spurs the subconscious mind, with thoughts of 'I too can do it'. Isn't it amazing how the human mind can be enthused, with the right impetus, into doing things that are often believed to be a gift!

This is true in all aspects of life. We all need that little trigger, to set us in motion. We can achieve anything if we set our hearts and minds to it. It is so easy to get better at what we do, provided we want to improve. If we don't catch that spark, we remain in a state of limbo. All of us have that motivation within us, we just need to find and channelise it in the right direction.

I gave the above as an illustration to emphasise that talent and abilities can be cultivated. We can expand our skills and develop our abilities. Let me show you how you can make it work –

Practice makes perfect – or does it!

Let's take the example of someone who does the same thing over and over again. That's practice, right? With so much practice, they must get better with each try, right again? I'll say NO. What they essentially do is go through the motions, monotonously repeating their actions, almost on autopilot. Where does that take them?

Often there are little or no results because practice alone doesn't serve to improve. The key is to push yourself beyond your limits, take the practice a notch higher. There should be a methodology to your practice; something that helps annihilate the imperfections. And the way to go about it is to engage in different forms of the exercise, so your latent talent gets the polish it needs and surfaces all bright and shiny.

Let's take a look at changes that you must adapt, to refine those skills. Described below you'll find examples that can be easily implemented into your lifestyle. Introduce these skill development tactics into your routine and you will find a change in your skillsets.

Reach & achieve

Reach & achieve defines the way practice should be carried out. To practice well, one needs to push one's self to the edge of one's potential. Only then can one push forward.

For instance, an athlete wanting to improve his time, will not achieve success, if all he does is run, the same distance, repeatedly, without pushing himself to better his time. All he does is practice running but without improvement. To find success, we need to do a bit more than what we are doing. Keep adding those layers of perfection and you'll improve in what you do.

In short, be persistent and keep pushing yourself and work consistently to achieve newer goals.

But, what if you are already at the top of your game, and don't feel threatened by anyone; do you continue with this practice? My answer to that is a resounding YES. While you may be at your best, keep in mind that there are others working to achieve what you have. There will come a time, when they will outperform you, and still have enough drive and momentum left in them, to forge ahead of you.

Why wait for that day? Instead, set fresh targets and reach and achieve them. Make reach & achieve your motto.

Get involved

Practice demands commitment, it needs you to be fully engaged; half-hearted attempts don't translate into success. If you have targets to achieve, then you must become emotionally invested in whatever those are. Your goals require 100% contribution from your end. Which means you give it all you got and a little more! But don't drive yourself to death - instead plan and schedule, work and fix.

Whatever it is that you are trying to perfect, set doable goals, as a starting point. Break up your tasks into smaller targets. Invest all your energies into achieving those targets.

It is like working on a jigsaw puzzle, where each goal that you set for yourself is a piece that fits into the bigger picture. Your job is to identify those pieces and fit them correctly. Finishing a task or achieving goals becomes easier when you use this piecemeal tactic. However, ensure that the results of every try lead you closer towards what your aim is. Be consistent and remain engaged to see that improvement that you desire.

Be focused

Focus, on skills you want to develop as that's the most important aspect that will see you through. That's elementary knowledge, some would say. But, this elementary knowledge is often overlooked. Most don't practice enough.

Practice with the aim of improving the skills that you want to develop. Practice should be goal oriented – acquire knowledge on things that directly link to the subject that you want a mastery on.

If you feel daunted at the prospect of addressing a large audience, try practising your speech – have someone hear you say it. Get over your fear of public speaking by speaking at informal gatherings. Make eye contact with people as you speak, smile and use your arms and hands to gesticulate – it puts you more at ease. What also helps is taking the help of a Life coach – like S.A Anand. Professional help, in any field, can help correct and improve on the flaws and weaknesses.

Get feedback

Practice is incomplete if it's not complemented with proper feedback. It is important that your progress is recorded and you know how you are faring. Have someone analyse your performance but choose your critic with care. You want someone who gives an unbiased opinion. While we all want praise, it is crucial that you have someone who tells you about the mistakes as well. Take the criticism positively and use it to better yourself.



Improvement comes from bettering those flaws. And you need to hear about them. You must get a truthful breakdown of your performance. Also, be your own critic, for example, if you are perfecting a music piece, why not record your performance and try and spot the errors. Experts say that feedback that is given immediately, is the best; it helps to better connect the pieces because everything is fresh from the practice/performance. Delayed comments and advice don't have as much impact because the time gap creates a sort of disconnection – which theoretically means that you lose an opportunity to work on your performance.

Conclusion

Talent and skills can get stale. They need to be constantly worked on, revamped and kept from crumbling. And crumble they will if newer heights aren't achieved. So, set fresh goals and aim a little higher with each practice.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 547 articles authored by Juana

Comments

No responses found. Be the first to comment...


  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name:
    Email: