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RodinStar / Startup

How to master the skill you’re most interested in

Jerry Seinfeld, the famous comedian, gave a surprisingly effective advice on how to master the skill you’re most interested in (in his case, being a better comic).


He said that in order to be a better comic, he had to create better jokes, and in order to create better jokes, he had to write daily.

That’s a pretty common advice you’d find anywhere. The thing which stood out was the way he implemented this routine.

He asks people to get a big calendar and a marker. Each day – after you complete your task of writing – simply cross that date on the calendar. After a few days, you’ll have a chain for yourself which you’d not want to break. Your only job will be to not break the chain!

Don’t break the chain!

Want to learn how to play a guitar?

Just play everyday for 1 hour. It doesn’t matter how terrible you are in the beginning. If you practice and improve daily, you will definitely be above average in an year.

Want to learn how to dance?

Karen Cheng learned how to dance in one year by practising everyday! Take a look at her video and see the difference between Day 4 and Day 86. That’s about 3 months!


Want to learn website development?

Create a new website every day! Jennifer Dewalt made 180 Websites in 180 days which helped her learn about web development. She has recently founded her own company.

I myself have written code everyday for the past 5 years which helped me become a programmer despite not studying Computer Science in college.

This habit of mine helped me launch a small company (Inkmat | Get your Instagram photos printed) in just 8 hours! (Full story which I had previously shared here :- How starting very small made me profitable in a week)

To help with this learning style, I made an app which helps you maintain the habit chain. Streaks – Daily Task Reminders – Android. The app keeps a score of the number of days you’ve been doing your tasks in a row and reminds you to complete the task if you haven’t already. This removes the need to have a big calendar as suggested by Seinfeld and makes the process a lot easier!

I had written this an answer on Quora but thought our community might benefit from this “gyaan“. Please hit me up on Twitter @shobhitic or just comment here if you have any questions or feedback.

So what are you going to master next? 🙂

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13 Comments

  1. hey shobhit,

    i always always look forward to your posts!! dude, when you have time – stop by our ASK section – hopefully soon we’ll become the go-to place for asking anything about starting up in india 🙂

    this is a very neat reminder. and i think you nailed it with the choice of video!

    ps: love jerry’s image you’ve used. kudos!

  2. Thank you for the kind words Asha. Your comments always manage to bring a smile to face. 🙂

    I’ve been to the ASK section at times but didn’t really feel I could add value to anything there so haven’t replied there.

  3. in that case pls go through #showcase!

    do you remember, it was YOU who nudged me to create a separate section!!!

    🙂

  4. Hahaha, yes! I never realized this was formed after our conversation! 🙂

  5. Hey Shobhit, 

    This is really an interesting and inspiring post. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  6. Thank you Bilal! 🙂

  7. Hello Shobhit,

    Nice app, easy to use. I just made two daily tasks for myself in it. 
    Just one small request that could make app experience better and help the user. 

    you have given time for the task (reminder). It would be great if the same could be displayed with the task. 

    something like this. 

    Blogging 10.00 
    coding     11.00 
    Working out 8.00  

    This is a useful feature that should be very easy to implement. 

    Hope this helps. 🙂 

  8. Thanks Akshay. I’ll definitely think upon it!

  9. Very nice.

    So, to dimension this, you are saying, 356 hours a year = 1000 hours in 3 years and 3650 hours in 10 years!

    10,000 hours is the key to mastery as per Gladwell, but your advise is very practical!

  10. Gladwell talks about 10,000 hours in the context of being internationally renowned for a skill. And not just any skill, but skills which are inherently ultra-competitive like Sports. But for other normal skills, like programming or painting, you don’t really need 10,000 hours to learn and master them.

    Obviously, the more you practice, the better you get. And this practice will come from habits you make! 🙂

  11. Nice stuff. When ARK says it’s nice, it’s NICER

  12. Awesome stuff shobhit. Its simply about not breaking the chain and that too on stuff of ones own interest. Just a matter of discipline and persuasion. Loved it !

  13. Yup. It’s that simple! 🙂

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