Do you know why most people never reach expert status?
It is not from a lack of ability.
Or access to the right skills or knowledge.
We live in the “information age” for crying out loud.
More than 72% of the developed world has access to the internet. You can find out anything about anything.
My 16 year old son, Isaac, knows more about astronomy and astrophysics than Isaac Newton knew. He learned it on the internet.
When people tell me they aren’t experts because they lack skill or knowledge… I roll my eyes. “Pleeeeeaaasse! Let’s get serious. That’s not the real issue.”
So what is the issue?
Do Your Emotions Control You?
The issue – the key failing point is they lack the right emotion.
Emotions are the driving force of all learning, all mastery, all skill.
Let me prove it to you…
First a story and then a bit of geek science…
When our son, Jared, was 7 years old, he started taking piano lessons with his siblings.
They loved it.
He hated it.
Being an outdoor, free-ranging kind of kid, he hated being pinned down to a little wooden bench, in a small room, looking at a piano with an old lady standing over him telling him he was doing it all wrong.
(Don’t much blame him, right?!)
Lessons and practice became a serious point of contention. Mom and son fighting like cats and dogs.
Margie and I agreed it simply was not worth it.
Plus, he was making ZERO progress. He was going to lessons and practicing and running through the motions, but he was MAD about it and distracted and disinterested.
(Note all the emotions in the preceding paragraph… and think about similar situations in your life… ever had a task at work you hated? Ever took on a project you seriously regretted? Ever got into a relationship that made you want to puke and left you unsettled everyday?…)
So, we gave in and let him get out of piano.
Instead, we focused on helping him develop in areas that he loved.
Why Did He Practice and Learn On His Own?
Years went by.
One day, when he was around 14 yrs old – with teen hormones in full production – he walked into the church. Our oldest son, Joshua, who loved piano and had practiced and played hard for many years, was sitting at the piano playing a stunning rendition of the theme song from How to Train Your Dragon.
And all around the piano were half a dozen really cute girls fawning all over Joshua for his amazing piano skills.
Jared, being a bright kid, didn’t take long to realize he was missing out on a serious chick magnet skill.
Later that night, he announced he was going to learn to play the piano.
The next morning, early, we heard the first plink and pluck of the piano. Using books and the internet and a ton of practice he taught himself to play the piano.
A few years later, I came into the church to find Jared sitting at the piano, playing a charming tune, with half a dozen cute girls standing around, fawning over him for being so talented.
He was grinning ear to ear.
“Well done, my boy… well done!” I thought.
The Reason Emotions Are Key to Learning
Scientists have discovered that skill and talent is nothing more than the development of neurotransmitters in your nervous system.
To move your finger, you need a signal to travel from your brain to your finger and back again.
To move your finger fast and with certain pressure, you need that signal to move fast and with great precision.
Every skill is connected to a set of nerves and transmission of specific signals.
Here’s where it gets interesting…
When you fire signals for the first time – like take up golf or racquetball for the first time… or try to write with your left hand (or right hand, if you’re a southpaw) – it feels awkward and difficult.
That’s because the neural pathway isn’t established. The signals have to travel all over the place to get to the right muscles and back.
But, do it over and over and the body builds out a highway of nerves to make it easier to transmit the signals.
As you build this highway, the body wants to make it a SUPERCONDUCTOR highway… so the signal can go faster and faster and faster.
To do this, your body wraps the neural pathways in stuff called myelin sheaths. This is superconductor stuff that helps the signal zip along.
These Emotions Kill Learning
But… and here comes the crazy twist… certain emotions can inhibit the production of myelin.
Try to learn a new skill or gain new knowledge in a state of fear or frustration or irritation or ambivalence… and myelin won’t develop.
This means you can do the same thing over and over again and get very little increase in skill or knowledge.
If you think back on your life, like I have, you can likely see times where you’ve done this. (Like learning my times tables in 5th grade math class… pure… torture!!!! LOL)
The Two Best Emotions for Mastering New Skills
By contrast, think of a time when you jumped into something with all your heart.
What a difference the right emotions can make!
So, which emotions are most likely to help you create myelin sheaths and learn new skills and insights at lightning speed?
As a general rule, most positive emotions that dump happy endorphins into your system work great (myelin LOVES endorphins… don’t we all??!!)
But, studies show that there is a 1-2 combo that really makes myelin come alive – thus drastically speeding up the learning process.
Those emotions are:
Curiosity + Gratitude.
Curiosity opens the mind to the new and interesting. It allows you to see the world with wonder and awe.
Gratitude kicks on the joy and peace emotions, allowing you to find great pleasure in the learning process.
If you can learn the fine skill of being curious and grateful, you can literally learn new skills and new information at hyper-speeds.
The first step in becoming an expert in short order is to be curious and grateful.
I want to get into the mechanics of becoming an expert, but first, let’s take a short psychological side-trip and explore HOW to be curious and grateful… and yes, there is a technique for that 🙂
I’ll share it with you tomorrow…
To a Life of Wonder and Joy,
PS I’ve created a brand new training for you. It shows you the ONE THING you can do to become an expert in 30 days or less.
In the first 5 minutes, I show you how one of my students used this one thing to make $140,000 in his first year.
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Plus, I have a nice surprise bonus for you over there…