What do all these men have in common?
They all changed their worlds (or THE world)…
with no formal education.
They pursued their passions mercilessly to achieve mastery.
In simpler terms, they put in the work.
The big lesson from all of them? The information is not locked behind university doors… it's right at your fingertips. Go find it. Today, I'm going to show you how.
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#1. Develop Passion
Ever done one of those checkbox personality tests? I'll bet you checked ‘I like to try new things.' We all like to see ourselves as adventurous. But if you don't have a real passion in life? I'm sorry, but you need to try more things. Try everything.
Some people seem to be born with passion, but for the majority of us passion is something we learn. The more experiences you give yourself, the more likely you are to find THE thing you want to do.
#2. Put In The Hours
There's no getting around hard work. You need to do your time and be active in the learning process. The more time you put in, the faster you will develop competence.
100-hour work weeks? If you can handle it, you'll reap the rewards. At that rate, you'll have put in your 10,000 hours to mastery in 2 years.
How To Survive Epic Working Hours
Make time for your loved ones – IN YOUR CALENDAR – and let them know as soon as possible if you have to cancel. This means you can give them a sense of stability, and they can give you the moral support you'll need.
Take care of your health. Find time to exercise a few times a week. Don't live on pizza and takeout. Meditate for a few minutes. The time you spend on self-care will give you extra hours of energy.
Use caffeine only when you physically need it to function. When you're always tired, it's tempting to keep pounding caffeine just to feel better – but that's a fast road to addiction, and means it won't work when you really need it.
Have a schedule – but don't be too attached to it. If you can't focus on the task in front of you, don't just stare at it – work on something easier until your brain comes back online.
#3. Don't Waste Your Time
It's not enough to just throw a lot of hours at a problem and hope some of them stick. You need to work hard AND smart. Don't waste time on education that's not laser-focused on exactly what you need.
The quickest way to mastery is specific education from a proven expert to solve a detailed problem.
Work out exactly where the gaps in your knowledge are, and what you do – and don't – need to solve them.
Simple example: do you need French, or do you need business French? Don't waste your time learning to buy a strawberry ice cream and ask the way to the station when what you really need to know is how to close a deal.
Next, don't waste your time buying ‘The Big Book Of Beginners' Business French'. To get good fast, you need a good teacher – someone with solid credentials who can answer your questions, correct your mistakes, and guide you personally rather than letting you flounder and guess.
#4. Smash The Mental Barrier of Qualifications
For the very top positions in life – the CEOs, the great visionaries, and world-changers – formal education is rarely required.
Heard of '10X'? As in '10X your business' and ‘10X your productivity‘? That idea came from Dan Sullivan, a man with “no” formal qualifications – which didn't stop him becoming the boss of 120 people, the author of 30 publications, and a mentor to thousands of business owners worldwide every year.
Qualifications are good for getting the boss to hire you – not for BECOMING the boss.
#5. Learn To Ignore Bad Advice
There's no shortage of advice – but much of it is BAD. How can you spot bad advice?
- Good advice is true. Check your sources – if they don't add up. you're dealing with certifiable bad advice.
- Bad advice is full of platitudes. As nice as it sounds, being told to ‘follow your passions' does nothing to help you do so.
- Bad advice is NOT actionable. Good advice will help you develop a system to get from A-Z in your skill development.
- Bad advice often comes from someone with a vested interest. Not everyone who makes a profit from giving advice is evil, but do your homework and check out their background and testimonials – make sure they're actually interested in helping YOU.
#6. Seek Mentors
Where can you find mentors? How about in your living room? Thanks to the internet, you can find a niche community for any skill you want to develop. Get involved with other people who are interested in the same thing.
Or how about in your community? Business contacts, friends, friends of friends – ask around and see if anyone knows the right person. I guarantee there's someone out there looking to share their expertise with you if you're interested in learning.
#7. Books, Books, Books!
Library books are free. E-books magically appear without you having to do any legwork. There's no excuse not to read as much as you can on the topics you're interested in.
How To Retain What You Read
Take notes with a pen and paper. It's old school, but it will significantly increase your retention of important points.
Ask yourself questions about what you've read. If something doesn't make sense, research and clarify.
Introduce the information to other people. By talking about what you've read, you're repeating, and more importantly paraphrasing, the information. This is sure to help it stick.
When you feel competent, teach someone your new skill. It will be difficult and probably a little awkward, but just like talking about what you're reading, it will recontextualize the information and re-order it in your brain in a more useful way.
The fact that ‘we learn by teaching' is so well-established it's a Roman proverb (‘docendo discimus'). In order to explain something to someone who doesn't get it, you have to really get it yourself.
Ever tried teaching someone to ride a bike? You probably realized that you didn't really know how you rode a bike. You were doing it without thinking. By breaking it down for someone else to understand, you yourself came to understand what you were doing.
#9. Write Or Create Content In Your Field
Nobody says you have to publish, but if you've been paying attention, you know by now that repetition is key.
By continuously producing written or spoken content on your area of focus, you will make the information second nature and make going deeper much easier.
It's another way of learning by teaching – but you don't need a willing student. The whole internet can be your student. Thin air can be your student. Ultimately, by explaining your subject to anyone or no-one, you're explaining it to yourself.
#10. Do Deep Work
Deep work means working as intensely as your brain is capable of, for a fixed period of time. Here's how to do that successfully.
- Avoid distractions (social media, email, and message notifications). Prioritize your time and keep yourself focused in on what matters.
- Think of the 80/20 principle. The best 20% of your work will produce the best 80% of your results.
- Accept boredom as a fact. This one is hard because we are CONSTANTLY having our attention drawn to dozens of different things. The human brain craves novelty, but when deprived of novelty we are capable of drilling way down deep on an issue. A little boredom can go a long way… this is the foundation of many schools of meditation.
- Schedule your time. If you're meant to work on project A from 12-2, ONLY work on project A from 12-2…then STOP. By being strict with your time, you'll develop the ability to make your deadlines much more effectively by leveraging the time available.
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