431. Get 10X Better at Anything with Scott H Young

I was thrilled to welcome back Scott H. Young, a renowned writer, programmer, and avid learner. Scott is here to discuss his latest book, "Get Better at Anything: 12 Maxims for Mastery."
This book dives deep into the principles of mastering new skills and achieving continuous improvement in any field.

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Key Topics Discussed

  1. Introduction to "Get Better at Anything": Scott provides an overview of his new book and its structure, highlighting the three main parts: Learning from others (See), Learning from practice (Do), and Learning from experience and feedback (Feedback).
  2. Maxim 1 - Learn from the Best: The importance of identifying and learning from top performers in your field. Scott shares practical tips on how to approach and benefit from their expertise.
  3. Maxim 2 - Practice Deliberately: Scott explains the concept of deliberate practice and how it differs from regular practice. He offers actionable advice on how to structure your practice sessions for maximum improvement.
  4. Maxim 3 - Embrace Feedback: The role of feedback in the learning process and how to effectively incorporate it into your routine. Scott discusses strategies for seeking and utilizing feedback to refine your skills.


Show Notes:‚Äć

Website: www.scotthyoung.com

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Timestamps‚Äć

(2:02) - Interview Start: Catching Up with Scott H. Young(3:00) - Difference Between 'Ultra Learning' and 'Get Better at Anything'(4:54) - Importance of Learning from Others(6:13) - Motivation from Seeing Others Succeed(8:00) - Why Success is a Better Teacher than Failure(10:18) - Problem Solving as Search in Entrepreneurship(12:30) - Variability in Practice for Skill Improvement(15:23) - Creativity Begins with Copying(18:49) - Deliberate Practice and the Role of Coaches(21:04) - Managing Cognitive Load in Learning(24:25) - Benefits and Limits of Variability in Practice(27:01) - Online Poker Players and Data-Driven Learning(30:17) - Data-Driven Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing(33:10) - Learning Plateaus and Breaking Through Them(36:11) - Difficulty Sweet Spot and Flow State(39:19) - Anxiety and Performance in High-Stress Situations(42:22) - Exposure Therapy and Overcoming Fears(45:12) - Importance of Regular Exposure for Reducing Fear(47:03) - Experts as Teachers: Challenges and Solutions(50:00) - Asking for Stories Instead of Advice(52:19) - Applying Storytelling in Hiring Processes(54:51) - Unlearning Bad Habits and Making Progress(1:00:00) - Balancing Seeing, Doing, and Feedback in Learning(1:01:30) - Closing Remarks and Scott H. Young's Website

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Transcript

           

           2:08          the last time I had you on the podcast Scott was uh January of 2020 and just before the world shut down  

           2:17          for a couple of years of course and uh that was to discuss your previous book Ultra learning uh which essentially dug  

           2:24          into the science of you know learning how to learn and essentially learning how to get better at anything which  

           2:31          incidentally four years later is the name of your new book uh get better at  

           2:36          anything 12 maximums for Mastery now for the uninitiated I mean how does this  

           2:42          book differentiate or differ from Ultra learning and what was the impetus to write get better at anything yeah yeah  

           2:49          it's interesting because definitely when I was in the process of writing ultr learning I was to say you know what I've said what I need to say about learning  

           2:55          like there's not that much more to say and you know we'll probably be good I'm done writing books on on this and as I  

           3:00          started doing research I I mean the original plan wasn't to write get better at anything it was uh you know just  

           3:06          interested in ideas interested in reading books I dug into so much that I didn't cover that I just felt like I had  

           3:11          to write another book and I feel like a lot of the ideas in this book are really complimentary to those that I talked  

           3:17          about in Ultra learning so there were things that just because of the format of ultra learning I was focused on these  

           3:22          people doing these really impressive self-directed learning projects that I wasn't able to talk about some of the  

           3:28          stories that I think really hold this book together and or what make it um interesting and useful to people yeah  

           3:35          that makes a lot of sense and uh as far as get better anything is concerned it is broken uh into three sections  

           3:42          essentially so C which is most of what we know comes from other people uh do  

           3:47          Mastery is the outcome of practice and feedback progress requires constant adjustment now when it comes to C which  

           3:54          is essentially learning from other people I imagine that definition of c is  

           4:00          expands to not only watching other people but reading books listening to podcasts watching YouTube videos and so  

           4:05          on and so forth yeah this was one of the first things that came up after I did ultr learning was looking at uh how much  

           4:13          the ability to learn from other people is like maybe the most important factor in making progress that if you are in an  

           4:20          environment where it's easy to see what other people are doing um see how they're performing the skill and often  

           4:26          that means you know in in an intellectual level like if you see someone doing physics that's more than just like how they move the chalk on the  

           4:32          Blackboard it's you know what are the what are the mental models they're thinking with how are they solving these  

           4:37          problems if you have access to that then you can make rapid progress if you don't have access to that then it often is  

           4:43          what holds you back and this was something that became really clear to me as you get outside of like school-based subjects like once you get outside of  

           4:50          the subject where there's like this is the textbook and you just have to read it um where the knowledge is really held  

           4:56          in you know groups of people people who maybe they know something some person knows something some person knows  

           5:01          another thing if you're the kind of person who can extract that from that that's going to make a big difference to your progress and so that came up again  

           5:07          and again in the research excellent and uh from a motivational perspective Scott  

           5:13          so for example after the pandemic I tried my hand at standup comedy I did a  

           5:18          whole bunch of Open Mic nights and the thing that got me to do it was going out to these Open Mic nights watching other  

           5:24          people try it and thinking hey I can do that too and uh I was right I could I'm  

           5:29          just as bad as they did but is there anything to be said for the motivation that comes from seeing other  

           5:36          people try something succeed at it and then you thinking hey I can do that it's  

           5:41          huge it's huge so uh there was this psychologist Albert bandur and he posed one of the most influential theories of  

           5:47          motivation which is this idea of self-efficacy so the idea of self-efficacy is basically another way  

           5:53          of saying if you are confident that you will achieve something that that affects your motivation you know it's not enough  

           5:59          to say oh well well I'm motivated to do this because I'm going to get a million dollars if I don't think I can do the things that will make a million dollars  

           6:04          it doesn't matter how much I value a million dollars I'm not going to be motivated to do it and so he he  

           6:09          pioneered this sort of concept of well if we have self-efficacy that can explain why some people in the same  

           6:15          situation they have the same you know rewards and punishments they're they're going to pass the exam they're going to  

           6:21          fail the exam if they study or they don't study and yet some people they're going to be motivated hit the books and  

           6:26          other people like you know what there's no point and he did this research and  

           6:31          what he found is that there were four factors that influenced motivation two two things that had like a minor  

           6:36          influence on self-efficacy and those were um you know cheering someone on this kind of like uh like enthusiasm  

           6:45          encouragement this kind of thing and then also your own bodily state so if you're really really anxious for  

           6:50          instance that might sabotage your confidence you might choke even if you know otherwise you're fine those were  

           6:55          minor modifications but the two big things were vicarious experience and Personal Mastery so the ability to see  

           7:01          someone achieve something is very important from a motivational level because if you can witness someone who's  

           7:06          sort of like you someone that you can see yourself in their shoes succeeding at something I mean that gives you a  

           7:11          strong belief that maybe you can do it too and then Personal Mastery of course if you stand up on the stage and you  

           7:16          give a a great uh great bit and and people laugh at you that's also going to reinforce your self-confidence too so  

           7:22          those two things are are really important for motivation in Lear absolutely yeah and definitely when I did get a few laughs it  

           7:30          did give me the sense that okay if I keep at this then maybe I'll get even more laughs and so it does reinforce  

           7:35          that sort of self-belief um but most of my listeners Scot at least many of them  

           7:41          are in the startup world they're building businesses and things of that that sort and this whole concept of you  

           7:48          know failure is your greatest teacher is it's kind of lionized in this ecosystem  

           7:55          but in your book you make the claim that success is actually many respects our  

           8:00          best teacher what do you mean by that well I think I want to be clear first of all that sometimes you can't avoid  

           8:05          failure you can't avoid making mistakes and so I think a lot of the startup community in particular is like well you want to fail fast right it's not because  

           8:12          failure is good in this way but it's better to get it over with quickly instead of spending years and years and years on something that ends up not  

           8:19          working out the reason that I think success is important is for for building motivation and for for you know uh  

           8:25          learning in general is for two reasons one is what we just talked about motivation if you're starting out with something  

           8:31          and you experience a long string of failures then the likely outcome is to be demotivated to have lower  

           8:37          self-efficacy to have lower confidence you're going to see so if you go up on stage and you get booed every single time then you have to have quite a bit  

           8:44          of motivation going into it to weather that storm now this doesn't mean that failure is always bad if you've  

           8:50          experienced some success you've built up that motivation sometimes it's nice to have like conditional success like you  

           8:55          have success after a period of failure or after a period of struggle that can be be a strong signal that I can  

           9:01          persevere even through failure but just raw failure on its own no success at the end it's very demotivating it's not a  

           9:06          good thing for teachers for coaches for even when we're setting up projects we don't really want to uh engineer that  

           9:12          into those efforts but the second reason I think this is relevant to startups in entrepreneurship is that a lot of times  

           9:17          what we're doing when we're trying to learn something is a little bit like finding the combination on a combination  

           9:22          lock you're trying to find product Market fit you're trying to find the right way to hit the tennis serve you're trying to find this right combination of  

           9:29          a lot of different variables and in this case success is more valuable because most things fail you know most company  

           9:36          ideas are bad most product ideas are bad most things that you try to take to Market are not going to work and so if  

           9:41          you get something that works that's a really important signal that's very valuable you actually learn a lot of information in that one step of like oh  

           9:48          people like this whereas if you learn a bunch of things that don't work failure is somewhat overdetermined like  

           9:53          something can fail for many many many reasons if it succeeds usually you had to have some things go right and so this  

           9:59          is the Bain you know again you can't always avoid failure but this is why you want to learn from other people because you want to get as many settings of that  

           10:06          combination law correct from the get-go so you only have to jiggle around a few of them to get something right yourself  

           10:12          absolutely and you mentioned product Market fit and so one concept that's really popular in the startup world is  

           10:18          as you mentioned fail fast which essentially requires startups to place a lot of bets test your assumptions the  

           10:25          faster you do that the faster you learn the faster you figure out what works right right but something you talk about  

           10:31          in your book Scott is problem solving is search and if the range of potential  

           10:38          outcomes is very large or the range of potential say unsuccessful outcomes is  

           10:45          very large you could be testing and adapting and running hundreds of uh experiments and still failing and  

           10:51          failing and failing so can you please uh just elaborate on the concept of problem solving your search and when it makes  

           10:57          sense to test and adapt yeah I mean the whole idea of how do we  

           11:03          solve problems is that most problems the possible combinations to go to this combination is just it's just gargantuan  

           11:10          like to think of a Rubik's Cube a Rubik's Cube has some like something like 72 quintilian possible  

           11:15          configurations like it's it's actually if you try to do them one by one it would take like trillions of years to  

           11:21          actually uh solve this puzzle so of course that's not how we solve but we don't do it that way that would be silly  

           11:26          what we do is we learn methods often from other people but sometimes we can discover methods through trial and error  

           11:32          it tends to be slower but we can also do it that way and if you have the right methods for solving a rubus cube it turns out you can solve any Rubik Cube  

           11:38          in about 20 moves that's the maximum that it takes if you have the right method to solve so 20 versus 72  

           11:43          quintilian not and Scott but you have to learn it right so if I just pick up a  

           11:49          rubis cube I'm not trained in these methods it's going to take me a long time but I know with practice you know you can see people online you can get  

           11:55          people who can solve a ruis cube in under a minute so how does this apply to comp companies and startups well the way  

           12:00          I think of it is that an entrepreneurial situation is somewhat unique because you have to be doing something different you  

           12:07          can't just do I can't just be like oh I got a good idea it's called Facebook like I can't do that right I have to do  

           12:12          something that will fill a gap fill a space in the market because if someone's already there then they're going to beat  

           12:18          me however however and I think this is important most of the dimensions that you run a business you don't want to be  

           12:25          creative with most of the things that you could be doing you want to be doing this is what every else is doing this is what works this is the best practice for  

           12:32          that and it's maybe a few of those little Dimensions that you're going to make a tweak so that you can hit a different Market or you can hit  

           12:37          something new and so you know even if you are doing the most Innovative  

           12:42          product in the world this is like literally a new invention that's going to cure cancer and you know save Humanity you still don't want your  

           12:49          accountant doing something creative when they're keeping the books right you still want to hire the same lawyer who's going to incorporate properly you still  

           12:55          probably want to do the same investment system as everyone El and so this is the idea of learning from  

           13:01          other people is that the more you can get the settings that don't need to change correct and you can start off  

           13:06          from a successful point of view then you can the only failures you make are the necessary failures you have to make to  

           13:12          explore that space that essentially you've reduced the search down to this is the search that I can't avoid that I  

           13:17          have to do as problem solving that makes sense so if we take the the standup  

           13:23          comedy uh example further instead of me just going out randomly talking my mouth  

           13:30          off trying to get a laugh I could essentially say take an online course  

           13:35          learn about how what the structure of a jerk looks like you know set up punchline tagline  

           13:42          uh create an assumption in the mind of the audience and shatter it these techniques so methodologies so with  

           13:50          respect to the Rubik's Cube if you know the methods then you can bring down the number of potential moves to solve it  

           13:56          like in my case 300 down to 20 and so in the standup comedy case once you know  

           14:01          these methods then you're far more likely to perhaps maybe it'll only take you 10 jokes to get a laugh as opposed to 100  

           14:08          um is that kind of where we're going with that yeah I mean I think I think again when you're if so if we're dealing  

           14:13          with standup comedy like a big thing you what what I would want to do is the same as any creative field is that I would  

           14:19          want to watch a lot of comedy and try to understand what they're doing yeah now um you know one of the people that I I  

           14:25          review in the book I talk about the science fiction author Octavia Butler who was someone who really struggled for a lot of her early career but then  

           14:32          became successful she won a MacArthur genius Grant and she talks about how you know when she was coaching new science  

           14:39          fiction others if they struggle with something like if you struggle with openings in your story she asked people to go out and copy a dozen openings they  

           14:46          like of books and copy them word for word and the reason is not because you want to be a plagiarist because you want to copy someone exactly but because it  

           14:53          shows you what the possible moves are these are ways you can start a book and you and you can reduce from this  

           14:59          Infinite Space of possibilities down to okay here's three ways that might work for my situation and so similarly with I  

           15:05          think stum comedy or or any kind of creative skill like that you want to sample broadly from what's out there  

           15:11          understand what they're doing and so you know obviously copying jokes stealing jokes that's not a good way to practice  

           15:16          on stage but if you could write down a person's joke and try to understand the timing of it understand why is this work  

           15:22          why is it funny then that gives you a lot of material it gives you some sort of understanding of like oh okay you  

           15:27          know these are the people who are telling the like oneliner quick jokes this is the people okay they're telling a funny story and this is how they're  

           15:33          keeping pace and I mean this is different from just you know listening into a lot of Comedy just letting it pour over you it is a kind of analytical  

           15:40          process of going there and trying to really see what someone's doing with their craft is different from just trying to enjoy the craft as a consumer  

           15:47          absolutely and that Echoes something um quite counterintuitive that you uh write about in your book which is that  

           15:54          creativity begins with copying um as you've elaborated or uh illuminated  

           16:01          there if I'm learning standup comedy let me copy someone else's joke in the sense that I'm going to unpack it try to  

           16:08          analyze uh the funny behind it and so on and so forth and I found in my own sort of um experience just drawing so I like  

           16:15          to draw occasionally at home and what I found was I would start by copying other  

           16:20          pieces of Art and I would just have an image and I draw it out and the more I  

           16:25          did this the more I got a feel for how to say draw a nose or eyes and all these  

           16:32          little elements and then if I took that sort of knowledge that I had internalized I could transfer and then  

           16:39          Draw Something Completely unique but it began with copying other pieces of art  

           16:45          is how how does that sort of relate to this concept of creativity beginning with copying others  

           16:53          yeah yeah so the the kind of scientific idea underpinning why this is important why it works is is of cognitive load so  

           17:00          the way the brain works is that we have this uh thing called working memory working memory is basically whatever you're thinking of right now and the  

           17:07          interesting thing about working memory is that it's famously limited there was a really famous people called the magical number um seven plus or minus  

           17:15          two which was this like idea that that's how many things you can keep track of at once turns out the answer is a little bit less than that if you do really  

           17:20          sophisticate analysis it's more like four but still it's a very small number of things and so most skills are quite  

           17:26          complicated if you were going to write a computer program to do a drawing or a computer program to solve a math problem  

           17:32          or anything that people can do you would need a lot more than four things to keep track of like you know Ram has you know  

           17:38          you might have gigabytes to Ram that can sort billions of things so this is clearly a very limited resource we have  

           17:44          but there's sort of a flip side to that it is very limited but with practice and skill we're able to make more efficient  

           17:50          use of it so we can kind of compress essentially what we can keep in this limited space and allow us to work with  

           17:56          it and what that means is that the complex of something something that would be relatively trivial for Leonardo  

           18:02          da Vinci to paint and draw to keep in mind his head could just be too much too much for someone who is starting out and  

           18:08          so the copying allows you to figure out what are the patterns what are the key sort of moves you can make so that you  

           18:13          can understand them condense them and apply them when you are applying new problems and so I I cover a lot of the  

           18:20          research of John sweller who's found that there's a number of circumstances where if you see how someone solves a  

           18:26          problem you actually learn it better than if you sol the same problem yourself and so it's very fascinating research that shows that how important  

           18:32          this seeing element is of understanding looking at whatever other people are doing in order to kind of figure out  

           18:38          what those methods are figure out what those patterns that you have to learn are in mastering a complicated field  

           18:43          yeah yeah and uh when it comes to saying I guess all right what's that famous quote by I believe it's attributed to  

           18:49          confucious tell me and I forget teach me and I remember involve me and I  

           18:55          understand so that yeah that sort of um concept of involved me and I understand  

           19:01          I guess dub tales with the second part of your book which is doing so rather  

           19:06          than just learning from others actually doing but as human beings I guess we have this evolutionary wiring that  

           19:14          predisposes us to taking the path of least effort we're always trying to conserve energy so you know I like to  

           19:20          play the guitar but Scott often times I'll pick up the guitar and instead of really practicing I'll just play the  

           19:26          same song I've played about a 100 times before cuz it's easy it's fun but am I  

           19:32          really learning or is there another form of practice that I should be um I suppose  

           19:38          pursuing if I'm looking to get better at playing the guitar yeah well this is definitely what the Viewpoint of uh  

           19:44          Andrew Ericson he was this he just passed away a couple years ago but he was a psychologist who studied expertise  

           19:50          and he had this Theory called deliberate practice which was this notion that it's not just doing something a lot that  

           19:56          makes you good which is kind of ironic because his research was sort of the basis of Malcolm gladwell's 10,000 hour  

           20:01          rule which was what everyone took to be the lesson of that which is that if you just do something a lot you become really good at it his idea was well that  

           20:08          obviously can't be it most people don't become world class at anything even if they spend their entire careers doing  

           20:13          some skill most people are still mediocre his explanation was that it's a certain kind of practice it's practice  

           20:20          under a coach so you have this sort of guidance this being able to see the correct examples and you are focused so  

           20:26          you are trying to improve some specific element and it's deliberate so it's something that you're not just doing automatically you're not just doing  

           20:32          unthinkingly you are really trying to get this particular cord progression in  

           20:37          this very difficult part of a solo if you're playing the guitar or you are you know really trying to do a certain kind  

           20:43          of golf swing to hit the you know ball from this particular part of the green that's not just what you would do by  

           20:49          default what you would do it automatically and this is because one of the features one of the things we've learned from how skill development works  

           20:56          is that as you continue to practice something skills become more and more automatic which is useful it requires  

           21:03          less time if and and energy if I'm driving a car I can do it with a lot less thinking I can listen to the radio  

           21:09          I can listen to an audiobook whereas if I was you know 16 and I was just learning to drive a car it was very  

           21:15          effortful I had to really think about everything I was doing however it also means that all the little bits and  

           21:21          pieces that underly my driving performance are essentially invisible to me so I'm not if I'm making a mistake if  

           21:28          I'm like the way I'm putting my foot on the you know is not the best way to put my foot in order to switch between the  

           21:34          gas pedal and the brake I'm never going to change it because it's invisible to me so Andrew Ericson had this idea that it was the necessity to have the coach  

           21:40          who could see that you were making a mistake and the feedback to be like okay no you need to make this adjustment and the players's intentional desire to make  

           21:48          these little tweaks and do this effortful thing that overrides this automatic processing that was necessary to make Improvement but it is important  

           21:55          to not this is something that happens at sort of the later stages of mastery when you're beginning and starting out as we were talking about um you know doing  

           22:03          deliberate practice when you haven't done something very much I mean all practice is kind of deliberate because you haven't reached that automaticity  

           22:08          yet but it's very important when you've been doing something for a long time absolutely and with respect to deliberate practice um there are some  

           22:17          sort of strategies or techniques you've outlined in your book for example one is you know variability and varying up your  

           22:24          practice so if I am learning the guitar maybe I'll you know learn different scales different modes maybe I'll spend  

           22:30          time working on solo chord progressions maybe I'll try different genres maybe  

           22:36          I'll plug in the guitar maybe I'll play acoustic like there's so many different ways I might vary up that practice um I  

           22:43          guess a question follow question I have to that is is there a risk and perhaps this touches on what you mentioned  

           22:49          earlier so 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell which often times buts heads with David Epstein's range right um yeah but is  

           22:57          there a risk of varying up my practice too much to the point where my golf swing or a certain technique never gets  

           23:04          that great because I've kind of become a jack of all trades perhaps yeah I mean I think this is one  

           23:09          of the major questions that gets debated a lot in research and so people have different answers to it like we talked  

           23:15          about um you know Anders Erikson he had this real belief that you know expertise was quite specific and if you look in  

           23:21          the research there's a lot of support for this idea that when people learn skills they tend to be pretty specific  

           23:27          like experts are expert at not just you know a chess expert is an expert in chess but they're an expert in the kinds  

           23:34          of patterns that show up in chess games so if you just take a chess board and rearrange it randomly their ability to  

           23:40          remember the board position is not really that much better than a novice whereas if you give them chess boards  

           23:47          from realistic games even if they haven't seen them before they remember them quite well and so it shows that  

           23:52          like the chess experts specificity is quite it's not even just like it doesn't apply to different games it doesn't even  

           23:59          apply to different versions of the chessboard so in this sense I think Andrew zon's probably right a lot of what we learn a lot of what we practice  

           24:05          is quite specific now the sort of area where I agree with David Epstein is that often times if you have extremely  

           24:12          regular environments extremely sort of repetitive very specialized practice  

           24:18          then you don't get enough ability to see patterns see them applied in different situations and training so there is a  

           24:25          kind of debate about is there a difference between you know the class IAL pianist who gets really really good  

           24:30          at playing exactly the same song versus the Jazz improviser who has to create something new every time is there a  

           24:36          difference in how they perform the skill and so there is also research showing that if it's not about just doing tons  

           24:42          and tons of different skills but doing practicing different things different components of what you're trying to  

           24:47          learn so if you're doing tennis doing the forehand shot and the backhand shot and alternating between them rather than  

           24:52          just doing them in one batch actually results in better and deeper learning because you're not just practicing a  

           24:59          shot you're also practicing knowing when you should apply the shot and that's a very important part of flexible skills  

           25:04          so I think we want some some degree of variability in our practice and I think variability is probably good so I think  

           25:10          maybe I'm a little bit more toward Andre Ericson than David Epstein on his Range Front I tend to think that people who  

           25:16          are extremely broad tend not to have a lot of deep skill even though I'm someone who's tried to practice that  

           25:22          myself yeah and you do tell the story in the book of a classically trained musician who just wasn't able to step  

           25:30          into say uh you know the on onto the Jazz stage and just yeah play by ear and  

           25:35          pick it up they're like what do you mean you don't have shap music that I can read like it was just a foreign concept to them yeah yeah well I mean that's  

           25:43          that's the thing when you practice a skill the supports and the structure that you have with you get embedded in  

           25:48          that skill so if you're someone who plays music and you always have sheet music then of course you're not going to be able to just hear a choir singing and  

           25:55          just like pick it up and start playing it whereas someone who was trained that environment where they just have to play along would presumably have that skill  

           26:02          or be able to develop that skill and so that's very important if you if you practice in a very constrained setting  

           26:07          and then you want to have skill in a different setting there's often really sharp drops in performance even if you  

           26:13          know maybe you could have learned that skill if you'd practiced differently yeah and in the book you actually talk about young poker players so people in  

           26:21          their teens essentially who are competing in the World Series of Poker  

           26:26          they're baiting people who've been playing for decades like people in their 60s and 70s who've you know been to  

           26:33          Vegas for the last 50 odd years um and one of the reasons for this is because  

           26:38          of online poker so these kids have grown up playing poker online they can play 20  

           26:44          games at a time so they're getting you know their 10,000 hours in but they're possibly also getting a lot of  

           26:50          variability in terms of the different sort of things they see so what what  

           26:55          differentiates these kids from people who've been playing say five decades longer than they have and how does that  

           27:01          tie into this concept of 10,000 hours versus Range yeah so so this particular example  

           27:07          what drew me to it is that there's actually a lot of research about how experts or people who have a lot of  

           27:13          experience in various Fields if the field is one where you can't make really  

           27:18          confident predictions so if you're doing uh a chess move for instance it always has the same outcome but if you are  

           27:23          hiring someone for a job then sometimes you'll hire someone and they're really good and sometimes you hire them and they'll be a dud and there's a certain  

           27:30          amount of variability Randomness noise in that process and what we found is  

           27:35          that when you have these kind of noisy variable uncertain environments where you know to figure out who's the best  

           27:41          candidate you kind of got to add together a lot of little information a lot of little ideas that you know nothing is in particular going to  

           27:47          determine that this person's successful or not people tend to be quite bad at that so there's also lots of research  

           27:52          showing that you know you can you can get a spreadsheet program and just like put in some data and get better results  

           27:58          than people who have Decades of experience which is quite frankly embarrassing however the the poker  

           28:04          players sort of operate in this kind of world that sits halfway between the Chess World and the people who are doing  

           28:10          the hiring manager they live in a very uncertain environment so you can make the same hand the same bets and it can  

           28:16          go really really well and you can make tons of money or you can lose everything and often the difference between a  

           28:21          really good poker player and a really bad poker player is pretty slight like you could be winning maybe 53 54% of the  

           28:28          time and that's enough for you to be an extremely good poker player whereas if you're a 48% 47% you're eventually going  

           28:34          to go bankrupt but I mean those differences mean that you have to play an enormous amount of games for you actually to be able to see that to be  

           28:40          able to viscerally experience whether or not you're a good or bad player so luck plays this huge role and it definitely  

           28:47          impacts how quickly you can learn and so I was very interested in the sort of emergence of online poker play because  

           28:53          how it changes over the casino is that you're able to track every single hand you've played you're able to see what  

           28:59          went down in certain moves and so people now have these like grids where they show this is my percentage performance  

           29:05          on all the different possible combinations of me going heads up against this person and you can see what  

           29:10          are the patterns in your play you're like you know what I tend to overb on this or I tend to do this more than I should and so it's a lot easier to  

           29:17          calibrate your play change what you should be doing whereas if you were in the casino it'd be very difficult to do that you'd have to be like also keeping  

           29:23          a notebook and writing down every single hand that was played every single thing and like putting it into a spreadsheet later I mean people didn't do that so  

           29:30          the technology I think is in one case where you can just get much better feedback and you can increase the speed  

           29:36          of learning and getting that calibrated results which are very hard to do in a lot of other professions yeah that makes sense and I  

           29:42          guess this whole concept of you know data driven learning nowadays given all these connected devices that we have  

           29:48          given we tend to play um you know poker online whatever the case is it just  

           29:54          means that there's so much more feedback that people have at their disposal and those feedback loops are essentially  

           29:59          quite quite small so that if you take that feedback on board and adjust your  

           30:05          approach fast enough then as these as we're seeing with these teenage poker  

           30:10          Champions you do get quite good quite quickly well I want to I want to link it to business because I think this is also  

           30:17          an area where this matters and if you think about like advertising Executives back in like the 1960s you'd spend a lot  

           30:23          of time on a big campaign you'd put it out on the airwaves and You' get some results or you'd get some feedack back  

           30:28          and I bet you if you talked to one of these madman types who was at the top of their game they would say I really know  

           30:34          what works in advertising I know what sells and I know you know I have this confidence because I have years of  

           30:40          experience but again looking at this expertise literature I have to doubt that because I know what kinds of  

           30:45          results we have when you do these careful studies and it's you know maybe you know some things maybe you know some things maybe you don't however nowadays  

           30:52          if you think about startup entrepreneurs like I I know lots of people in these spaces where you do these like  

           30:58          incredibly quick AB split testing of everything you're doing Facebook ads to text very minute details and quite  

           31:04          frankly you're often wrong things that you thought were going to work well do not work well and you get this very  

           31:09          tight calibrated feedback very quickly so this is another example of like I think the old age of marketing the new  

           31:15          age of marketing old age was a lot of intuition a lot of quite frankly overconfidence and the new age is a lot  

           31:20          more data driven and it's working that way and so I wonder what you know in in other fields like could we have data  

           31:26          driven hiring so that you actually have knowledge of like these are the factors that really matter for making a good  

           31:31          employee rather than just you know I've been here for 20 years and I know how to spot a good candidate and it just happens to be like the people I went to  

           31:37          University with you know yeah absolutely and it's it's funny what you mentioned there about the old style of marketing  

           31:44          like every time I drive past a billboard or some above the line sort of marketing like that like it's probably like 0.01%  

           31:51          of the time where I'm even remotely compelled to find out more about you  

           31:57          know the advertised product but when I see an ad online that's specifically targeting me it's definitely somewhere  

           32:04          in the 5 to 10% range so it's still not that high I'm probably going to filter out most of the ads but it's way more  

           32:11          compelling to me than some random above the line magazine ad or billboard or  

           32:16          television ad because it is targeted and it is based on you know data and fast  

           32:22          feedback loops yeah absolutely um and another concept that I wanted to to touch on  

           32:28          Scott is that in your book you say that learning is not a straight line um but  

           32:35          one thing I've found for example I'm I've been surfing for about five years  

           32:40          and there are periods of time where I could go months without really noticing much improvement right and I'll I'll  

           32:47          surf different spots different conditions different board I'll vary up the practice I might have a coach I  

           32:53          might get some feedback I might record the sessions I'll do all sorts of stuff and I might get a little bit better but  

           32:58          at times it feels like maybe I'm just not getting better and I guess one thing  

           33:05          I struggle with there is how do I know if I'm genuinely stuck or that I just need to  

           33:12          push through this Plateau like how do I differentiate between the two yeah I mean I think uh the the  

           33:20          typical so this is a sort of a famous result from skill development learning is it's called this power law of  

           33:25          practice and so I think one of the first places this came up with cigar rolling so they had people who like work in a  

           33:31          cigar Factory they're rolling cigars and they're measuring like how fast they're doing it I don't know whether they also  

           33:36          measured accuracy but I think speed was a factor and what they found is that even after like 30 years people do get better but it just gets slower and  

           33:43          slower because they're sort of like at the beginning you you have a pretty steep part of the laring curve where  

           33:48          you're just quickly getting better and then it flattens out and flattens out and this is a fairly simple action so it just has a simple kind of curve but for  

           33:55          complicated skills the problem is that there's lots to different curves right and so often what you're doing is you're  

           34:00          on one curve and then you find some different way of doing it and then it's a new curve so if you think about like  

           34:06          um uh like doing the uh the high jump or something like that like everyone used to go over it one way and then Fosbury  

           34:13          decided I'm going to go over it backwards yeah it turns out that's better and so suddenly you get a new performance break so I think what we  

           34:19          expect from our learning frequently with simple skills or things like that is that there is going to be this kind of  

           34:25          diminishing returns curve as you as long as you keep doing doing the same thing and you keep practicing in this sort of  

           34:30          same way you're going to hit this place where you are probably are getting a little bit better as long as you keep up the practice but it's it's going to be  

           34:37          kind of flat and then also with a physical skill like a sport maybe there's also you know aspects of like  

           34:43          your your strength your speed that you know we're all going to be getting older and so maybe that's going to be diminishing it's why tennis players you  

           34:50          know tend to Peak at some age and they don't just get better and better into their 70s because you know even if you're getting skilled your body is  

           34:56          slowing down however the the big thing and this is I think the idea of improvement not being a straight line is  

           35:02          often what you're looking for is what are those changes that you can make to your performance that are going to move  

           35:07          you to a new level and sometimes they're fairly dramatic I think if you were um you know if you've been typing on a  

           35:13          computer and you use two fingers and you hunt and Peck for a long time and then you transition to doing touch typing  

           35:18          well all of a sudden that Plateau is at a much higher speed than doing two fingers does you can actually get much higher speeds if you're doing that and  

           35:25          so sometimes there's those kind of big gains is low hanging fruit where you could make a dramatic Improvement but other times it's going to be a small  

           35:31          thing it's going to be okay you're going to stand slightly this way or you're going to move slightly that way and it's moving you on a on a curve that's a  

           35:37          little bit higher than the one that you did before but I think that general idea that for simple things there's that  

           35:42          power law of practice but for complicated skills there's many of these curves and so sometimes we Plateau early  

           35:48          because there's techniques and ideas that could improve us that we're just not taking advantage of yeah yeah and I  

           35:53          definitely uh relate to the plateauing in the gym um idea especially as I turned 40 last year  

           36:00          so the one rep max deadlift isn't as high as it used that's okay I'll have to  

           36:05          mentally adjust but um I think uh with respect to breaking through plateaus uh  

           36:11          you do mention this idea of the difficulty Sweet Spot uh in your book which to me does that align to mix menti  

           36:19          High's idea of getting into flow and operating in a space that's perhaps about 4% more difficult than what you're  

           36:28          with or 4% beyond your capabilities is what they say in the book flow or what mitii wrote about in the book flow does  

           36:36          that at all align with this difficulty sweet spot that you um introduced in the book yeah I mean I think they're they're  

           36:42          probably related in the sense that Sheik Sami high he had this notion that well when skills are too easy they're boring  

           36:48          and so you're basically you know to go back to this working memory idea you don't need your full working memory  

           36:54          capacity to perform the skill so all of a sudden you're investing it in other places you're getting distracted  

           36:59          basically essentially essentially whenever your brain doesn't need to be absorbed in a task it goes to what's called this default mode Network which  

           37:06          is essentially like kind of daydreaming and rumination and this kind of thing and I think some of uh cheek Sam's  

           37:11          research is that we tend to be less happy when we're in this sort of default mode Network when we're absorbed in a task we are less self-conscious less  

           37:18          kind of anxious and worrying and this kind of things so it was related to happiness and then clearly frustration  

           37:24          when you're on the end where you know what we were talking about where you're you're exploring this really large problem space it's just trial and error  

           37:30          failure failure failure failure failure that's also probably not ideal from a learning standpoint at least when we can  

           37:37          avoid it it's it's probably not ideal however the question of whether uh flow  

           37:42          is what optimizes learning is a really interesting kind of discussion certainly Andrew Ericson the deliberate practice  

           37:47          guy thought that it wasn't what optimized learning because his whole idea was that well flow tends to happen  

           37:53          when you're using a well practice skill in the way that you've practiced it you need to have your attention to sort of  

           37:58          manage the stuff that you don't have automated but you're essentially just doing what you already know how to do  

           38:03          and his whole idea was deliberate practice was avoiding that tendency of being deliberate and I certainly think  

           38:09          that in the early stages of learning it's probably the case that you're not always achieving flow simply because  

           38:15          again the cognitive load is high you have to learn new patterns you have to learn new information and we have lots of um evidence that you know  

           38:21          interventions that help people with learning often are ones that they maybe don't voluntarily choose they choose to  

           38:29          do things that are easier choose to do things that don't have as much cognitive load so I wouldn't say that flow is what  

           38:34          necessarily maximizes learning but definitely the problem of you know you for both learning and enjoyment you can  

           38:41          pick too high a difficulty or too low difficulty and so a lot of what it takes to learn well and actually make progress  

           38:47          is about fine-tuning that finding ways that when okay I'm way into the zone of frustration pulling it back down or you  

           38:54          know I I haven't made any changes to my performance in 5 years because I'm doing exactly the same thing how can I  

           38:59          increase the constraints increase the challenge that I'm actually doing something different have the possibility for growth yeah yeah that's interesting  

           39:06          and uh I was actually watching um N I think it was called 99 and this  

           39:12          was basically about the Manchester United Team of 99 that won the treble so they won the English premiership the FA  

           39:18          Cup and the European Champions League and during this season their goalkeeper  

           39:23          uh the great Dee Peter schmeichel he had a a run of really bad games and one  

           39:28          thing he said was his goalkeeping went from being  

           39:34          instinctual to being very conscious like he started thinking about everything as  

           39:41          opposed to it just being instinctual knowing which way to move when a player's approaching him and I guess  

           39:46          that kind of perhaps touches on this topic of you know knowledge becoming invisible in the  

           39:53          sense that the more you do it you know your default mode Network takes over and just it becomes instinctual but  

           39:59          sometimes our brains can bring us back to that place of everything becoming effortful again especially if we're  

           40:05          anxious if we're overthinking and things of that sort so and this perhaps isn't something that  

           40:11          you unpack in your book but this sort of idea of you know anxiety and and uh  

           40:18          overthinking can affect our performance when we're uh executing it on a specific  

           40:23          task so how might someone like a Peter schichel who's going through a slump and he's coping three goals a game for 10  

           40:29          games in a row get himself back on track when suddenly everything that's been  

           40:34          instinctual to him for years is becoming effortful again yeah I mean this is this  

           40:40          is like related to this Sports phenomenon of choking and and having you have the motor patterns in there but it  

           40:46          turns out that like using that working memory like really thinking about your movements is actually probably bad for  

           40:52          most skills so there's there's studies that show that like people are golfing it's much better to direct their  

           40:57          attention outwardly so you atten direct their attention not to how they're moving their arms or even moving the  

           41:03          club but like you know where's the ball going to go this kind of thing tends to be better for these skills and uh that's  

           41:09          probably just a quirk of how our motor system works Quirk of how a lot of these skills work that when you are you are  

           41:15          trying to get involved you're trying to send that you know CEO of the brain down to the like production line and getting them to like micromanage then it tends  

           41:21          to have problems you need to like trust the people who are trained to do that and so you have people like the in game  

           41:27          of tennis I forget the the author of that book but he makes this big argument that like a lot of what he's trying to do is get you into almost this Flow  

           41:34          State you already have the motor patterns you already have the skill kind of trained getting you into a mindset  

           41:40          where you're not going to interfere not going to sort of weak that performance and uh so I do tend to think there's a a  

           41:46          tension sometimes between uh performance or learning or making changes to those skills like doing something differently  

           41:53          than you automatically do versus sort of realizing that performance and a lot of what we're doing when you're at that  

           41:58          level in a game like soccer is that you've done millions of drills you've done so much practice you really have  

           42:04          the experience deep down it's just that when you have stress and pressure you kind of default to oh I'm going to maybe  

           42:10          second guess myself or I'm going to override this and so a lot of it is how can you get someone into a a mindset  

           42:16          where they don't do that where they don't uh inhibit it and so you know visualization we talk I have a whole chapter about anxiety visualization is  

           42:22          one thing you can do but definitely exposure working through that so you can bring the stress level down you're less likely to interfere with the skills that  

           42:30          you've already learned is very important yeah yeah absolutely and you do talk about um uh exposure therapy in the book  

           42:37          as well so if I am fearful of going out into say bigger waves for example as a  

           42:43          surfer or perhaps I am in a slump as a as a footballer and I'm fearful of not performing just putting yourself in that  

           42:49          environment or is is more likely to make you realize that it's it's it's not so  

           42:55          bad um and you will be okay and um similarly with people in the corporate  

           43:00          world or in the startup world who want to go out and pitch their their startup or they want to do more public speaking  

           43:06          if they've not done much of that then you can blow it up in your mind to be this big you know overwhelming scary  

           43:13          imposing thing but maybe start small go out do a five minute talk somewhere in front of a small crowd of maybe 20  

           43:19          people at a co-working space and work your way up to those those bigger conferences um so I guess there is a lot  

           43:26          of value in just that sort of exposure therapy if there are certain  

           43:32          mental frames that are holding us back from learning what we need to learn and getting better at what we need to get  

           43:38          better at to become who we want to be yeah I mean I I tend to think of exposure therapy as this sort of useful  

           43:45          mental model to have because very often when we Face something that gives us anxiety or we're afraid of there is this  

           43:53          um objectivity to it so it's not just that you know happen to have this sort of anxiety response to thinking about  

           44:00          public speaking public speaking just is Scary or speaking in other language just is scary and the issue is  

           44:07          that this this part of our brain that controls this threat response it it gets  

           44:12          Cali so when you have experiences and nothing bad happens or nothing extremely bad happens I don't want to say that  

           44:18          like you know everything has to go perfectly in order for exposure therapy to work that's not what the research shows but if if you experience you stand  

           44:24          up on stage you know you're talking about standup comedy like I haven't done stand up comedy before if I think about going to an open mic and giving a com  

           44:30          routine it feels like that would be terrifying to me but I think I can know intellectually that if I did it every  

           44:37          week for months and months so if I did it for like three or four months you know I'm not saying it would be nothing  

           44:42          but the fear level would go down dramatically and that's sort of almost like a mechanical response to being in that situation repeatedly and so this is  

           44:49          something that you have to kind of almost step outside of yourself and be like okay yes I know this is scary but I  

           44:54          know if I repeatedly do this it will go way it's just sort of how we're hardwired is that exposure therapy works  

           45:01          quite well for reducing anxiety for things and so this is something that you know especially if you have um a fear  

           45:06          reaction to a concrete situation is definitely something you can work on if you're trying to uh improve yeah it's  

           45:12          interesting I was listening to an episode of I believe it was the Andrew hubman podcast and he was talking about  

           45:19          a part of the brain and the Name Escapes me um but essentially this part of the  

           45:24          brain gets bigger the more you put yourself in situations that previously scared you you might know the name but  

           45:32          what he also found was for example it could be as a single guy maybe you're  

           45:37          fearful of approaching girls but the more you do it this part of the brain gets bigger however if you go a few  

           45:43          months without doing it the part of the brain gets smaller and I've I found this myself with surfing where if I don't  

           45:50          surf for a few weeks then the idea of going out into four five six foot waves  

           45:55          really scares me but if I been doing that say three four times a week it's it's like nothing it becomes automatic  

           46:01          like I don't even think about it and this applies to everything that's scar me public speaking standup surfing you  

           46:07          name it um but it seems like with exposure therapy perhaps it's something that you can't just expose yourself once  

           46:14          like that you need that constant exposure to um bring down the sort of fear and anxiety around a particular  

           46:20          task yeah so I I think a book I really recommend people if they're really interested in diving deep on this topic  

           46:26          is uh Joseph Leo is one of the chief neuroscientists who studies fear and anxiety he has a book called anxious and  

           46:32          he talks about in that book about how basically there's there's quite a bit of evidence that what you're doing when you  

           46:38          get exposure is you're you're learning a kind of a separate little neural circuitry you're building that that  

           46:44          suppresses the fear response or suppresses the threat detection sort of mechanism that would say oh you're in  

           46:50          danger right now and then that activates you know you start your Pawn starts sting your heart starts racing and you start having all these negative uh  

           46:57          visions of the future of of all the bad things that are going to happen if you if you experience the situation and  

           47:03          nothing really bad happens again like you're not you know it's not devastating it's not much worse than you thought it  

           47:08          was going to be then you're sort of learning this other circuitry but the thing about that circuitry is that it  

           47:14          tends to be more specific context dependent and like liable to being erased than the threat detection and so  

           47:21          that means that if you want to have like really robust exposure you need to practice it regular you need to like  

           47:27          regularly do it if you spend a long time not doing it it goes away I know I've heard stories about the construction  

           47:33          crew that we working on like the Empire State Building that after you're up there for you know two weeks you're not  

           47:38          afraid of being on the you know 100th floor and walking across a metal gerder with your lunch pill like that that fear  

           47:44          goes away but if they spend you know six months or a year not working on a highrise and they have to go back again  

           47:51          the fear returns so this is one reason and then also if you only practice exposure in a very narrow nrow setting  

           47:57          you can also learn okay that setting is safe but it doesn't generalize to all settings so if you only do public  

           48:03          speaking at Toast Masters you might be like well I'm fine at Toast Masters because people are nice to me there but when I go and give a presentation to a  

           48:09          VC or something like that I'm going to have a panic and a meltdown and so I think that's one of the things as well  

           48:14          is if you understand these mechanisms for how this works you can plan yourself okay I'm going to create this plan for  

           48:20          overcoming my anxiety that's getting in my way of of getting better at some skill that I care about y y that makes  

           48:27          that makes a lot of sense and uh one thing I wanted to touch on was this concept of experts not always being  

           48:34          perhaps the best teachers Scott and uh I mean I saw this myself a couple months ago I was in barley took a friend for  

           48:41          their first surf ever and I thought I taught them all the basics right how to pop up on the board how to paddle where  

           48:48          to stand all that type of stuff then we got out into the water and my friend's  

           48:53          paddling away and a wave's coming and about 2 m before the wave got to them they tried popping up and anyone that  

           49:01          knows surfing knows that will know the waves got to pick you up then you pop up otherwise you're just not going to go  

           49:07          anywhere but I had assumed that knowledge and of course my friend didn't  

           49:13          have that knowledge in their brain so that kind of ties into this concept that experts don't always make the greatest  

           49:18          teachers so can you just elaborate on that concept yeah well this goes back to what we were talking about before when  

           49:24          you get repeated practice with the skill some of what your brain is doing is automating components of that skill so  

           49:30          that you're making it so it requires less effort less working memory so that it's easier to do but that also means  

           49:37          that you're likely to skip over some of those steps and so one of the difficulties with dealing with people who have built expertise over a really  

           49:45          long period of time is that first of all some of the skill has become unconscious so maybe they're not even aware of it  

           49:51          they're not even able to articulate what it is they're doing in certain situations and then some of it is also  

           49:57          that you know like you said you just take for granted that such and such is obvious so you don't even bring it up  

           50:03          when you're explaining to someone so so looking at the research of this it really became clear that you know to be a good performer means that you have to  

           50:10          have a lot of practice but to be a good teacher you not only have to have a lot of practice but you also have to have kind of the reverse skill of being able  

           50:16          to break down what it is that you know in a way that a new person can digestion so that's I think an essential part to  

           50:23          becoming a good teacher and if you are trying to learn a skill from someone who who maybe isn't the best teacher then  

           50:28          it's really important to kind of go through the step of breaking down what it is they know and getting them to  

           50:34          elicit all these things that are obvious to them but maybe aren't obvious to you and you talk about instead of asking for  

           50:40          advice ask them to tell stories as well if if it's pertaining to say say a  

           50:46          business problem hey I've got this problem with um my business development customer acquisition isn't going well I  

           50:52          know you've been in this situation before can you please tell tell me uh how you dealt with it rather than just  

           50:59          asking for flat out advice like so what's the difference there and how is telling stories better than just giving  

           51:04          advice yeah so the the the sort of root of this um little piece of wisdom came  

           51:10          from uh I I taught a course with Cal newort well we still teach it is called top performer and and the idea was to  

           51:15          help people who are starting out in their career or trying to get to the next level in their career figure out how their career works and one of the  

           51:21          things that we found very useful from early cohorts is we get people to like find someone who's two to three steps head of you in your career and like you  

           51:28          know ask them do an interview with them figure out what they're doing so you can figure out what you need to do because that gives you a lot of the information  

           51:34          the very specific information to your industry your field so if you want to start a business find someone who already has like a moderately successful  

           51:41          business and figure it out however when we got people like the one of the first cohorts we got people to do this  

           51:47          exercise and they ask for advice and then they come back with like the most generic platitudes like you found someone who like specifically knows what  

           51:54          you need to do and then you get an interview with them and they say well you know the important thing is to work hard and to network and you know like  

           52:00          believe in your dreams and all this kind of stuff like anything you could just pick up from a random self-help title which is like no no no but this person  

           52:06          knows exactly what you need to do why aren't they telling you this and one of the things that we found and it goes back to this idea of obviousness is that  

           52:14          you know when you ask someone for advice you you shift them into a different mode of thinking you ask them to think about  

           52:20          well what are the kids doing these days that I don't think they should be doing or what do I think is an important value  

           52:26          to have or what is the thing that I attribute to my success and all these generalities which are not that useful I  

           52:32          mean they they're nice to hear but they're not what the reason why you reached out to this person and what we  

           52:37          found worked a lot better is to do what we call a journalistic style interview so basically instead of asking for  

           52:43          advice at all you say what did you do when did you do it why did you do that when did you do this and so this happened before this thing happened and  

           52:50          suddenly you're shifting them away from this kind of like what is the meaning of life what is the meaning of success you  

           52:55          know how can I be a great person like you and you're saying okay so when your business was doing this many sales how  

           53:01          many people did you hire and how much debt did you have and like you're asking these very specific questions and it  

           53:06          turns out when you ask those questions then all of a sudden all this stuff that's really obvious to the person  

           53:11          comes out and sometimes that can be revelatory like it can be something that you were totally not expecting that person to say something that you were  

           53:17          thinking oh okay that every I've talked to six people they all say this this must be the thing that you have to do  

           53:23          and so that is something that you know uh I thought it was very interesting when I was reading the research on cognitive task analysis this tool that  

           53:30          psychologists have developed for doing this kind of thing that they kind of came to the same conclusion that you don't really want to be just asking for  

           53:36          advice or just just tell me how you do this but to like walk me through it so that you can actually do this analysis  

           53:42          yourself yeah that that that makes uh a lot um of sense um I was I did have a  

           53:51          follow on question but for whatever reason I'm blanking but um as as one  

           53:57          does during during podcasts um  

           54:02          but I'm just it was a really important question sorry I'm asking other people I'm getting them  

           54:10          to tell the story [Music] um so from a business perspective  

           54:19          exactly here we go so um when it comes to hiring I think that also applies  

           54:24          right so instead of asking say potentially a growth manager higher uh I  

           54:29          see you might ask them about a kpi you know oh you doubled revenue from one year to the next or tell me about your  

           54:38          results instead of asking them that I might ask them hey you doubled revenue from one year to the next how did you go  

           54:44          about doing that what were the specific steps you followed to double Revenue um  

           54:49          and get them to tell that story that's going to tell me a lot more about them and how they think and how they solve problems versus just knowing sort of the  

           54:56          high level highlight re sort of Statistics oh definitely and I mean  

           55:01          especially in a hiring interview type situation where people have strong incentives to not be like entirely  

           55:07          candid about things sometimes you reveal in these situations where you're talking to someone oh well this person just got  

           55:12          really lucky in this situation like it had nothing to do with their skill their ability so you can talk to someone and  

           55:18          they'll be like uh oh yeah well that's when my dad gave me a loan for $10 million and you're like oh okay well so  

           55:24          I was wondering how you did this sort of vertical line in the growth here and it's like oh no okay it's this thing that I can't replicate or this thing  

           55:31          that's not relevant to your talent or your ability and so again getting people to talk about factual things the actual  

           55:36          stories that can be a big big way to reveal this knowledge that's often hidden yeah perfect and perhaps the last  

           55:42          question I have for you today Scott um we've been talking a lot about learning but I wanted to talk about uh unlearning  

           55:50          uh bad habits perhaps yeah and in in the book you do tell a story about uh Tiger  

           55:55          Woods and having to you know update his golf swing and unlearn uh his previous sort of  

           56:01          style of playing can you just elaborate on that and how it relates to this topic  

           56:07          of unlearning which can be quite difficult particularly if you've picked up a bad habit that you've more or less  

           56:12          internalized and it's become automatic and it stands between you and perhaps  

           56:19          making progress in a specific task yeah I mean this is this is sort of the the  

           56:25          real dilemma I think especially for well-developed skills is that you've you've mastered something it's very  

           56:31          automatic it's very entrenched and maybe there's a better way of doing it maybe you know there's a better way of doing  

           56:37          it but to learn the better way of doing it not only do you have to like start learning that skill from scratch again  

           56:44          you have to learn it to enough fluency that it can actually like override what you've already learned the other way you've already learned to do it and  

           56:51          there is both rewards and dangers to going through this process so I mean I talk about Tiger Woods because I think  

           56:57          he really illustrates both that on the one hand he was successful when he went through his first swing coach change he  

           57:04          you know he posted record runs at the Masters and he was just very very successful he had a good stretch but he  

           57:09          also did it a couple more times which with maybe more mixed results he didn't always have the that those great results  

           57:15          and there's many many golfers who have done this where like they reach the pros and they're like I need to change how I swing and it just destroys their career  

           57:22          and they're not able to do it because you've spent maybe decades swinging a Club maybe you spent 10 years  

           57:27          intensively practicing a swing and then for you to replace it with something else I mean it can take a long time for  

           57:33          you to have some skill that competes with that performance and so this is particularly true for this kind of like  

           57:39          well hon repetitive skills but I think it applies in a broader way too I mean every time when we're pursuing a career  

           57:45          we always have this sort of tradeoff of like do I go with what I'm good at do I go with what I know or do I sort of  

           57:51          climb back down to the beginner and start learning again and uh it can be a dilemma I think it is a a real Dilemma  

           57:57          to think about but I think when we're thinking about un learning that's really what we have to do we have to think about you know well am I willing to  

           58:03          invest to climb that other Mountain again and and do I really think that that's the right way to go forward that makes sense and I did say that was the  

           58:10          last question but I but I lied I have one more for you Scott um sure in the corporate world we have this sort of or  

           58:16          in the corporate learning World there is this ratio 702 10 so 70% of your  

           58:21          learning should come from job related experience 20% from interactions with other people and 10% from formal  

           58:28          education now when it comes to seeing doing and feedback is there an approximate split  

           58:36          like where should we be investing most of our time to get better at something I mean I would have loved if I could have  

           58:42          come out from the book and be like oh it's you know 20% this and 50% this and the reason why I can't do that and and  

           58:48          I'll I'll explain why I can't before I just like cop out with the answer as well is that it really depends on what  

           58:54          the skill is and so there's some skill where seeing is almost the entire skill so if we're thinking about um okay well  

           59:01          this is the right uh way to approach a business problem there maybe is no practice involved at all if you just  

           59:07          know the right way to do it then as soon as someone tells you the right way to do it you can apply it immediately and get the same result and then there's other  

           59:13          skills which require just an intense amount of practice and feedback and like the explaining how it works is not  

           59:19          really that big a part of it I mean if I'm uh skiing down a mountain I could probably watch in an afternoon pretty  

           59:26          much all the videos that I'd really need to watch to become like at least an adequate skier but it might take me  

           59:31          years of practice on the slopes to be able to build all of the unconscious knowledge all of the sort of practice  

           59:37          efficiency automatic skill to be able to actually do it and so there really is going to be a range and I think for  

           59:43          domains that are very knowledge based where just knowing the right answer is important then practice is relatively  

           59:48          less important not unimportant at all but relatively less important whereas if we're talking about skills which are  

           59:54          especially motor skills set then it's obvious going to be lean a lot more toward that but in every individual  

           1:00:00          person's case it can be different situations so again if you're using the wrong technique and you can do you can  

           1:00:06          be on that you know power law practice you can be on that curve for a really long time and not realize that you could 2x your performance if you were doing a  

           1:00:12          different technique and so I really do think you got to think in terms of all the ingredients and you got to think in terms of in this situation I'm in right  

           1:00:19          now what is the thing that's limiting my progress is it that I'm not able to learn the best technique or I don't have the best technique is it that I don't  

           1:00:25          have the right kind of practice or is it they don't have good enough feedback and that's really the message of the book  

           1:00:30          very well played Scott very well played well the message of the book uh is one I  

           1:00:36          really resonate with and the book is called get better at anything 12 maxims for Mastery people can pick that up on  

           1:00:42          Amazon uh Barnes & Noble everywhere good books are sold maybe not borders because  

           1:00:48          that shut down quite a few years ago um but is there anything else you'd like to to plug um YouTube channel blog you name  

           1:00:56          it this is your time I mean we have all of it but I I think the best place to go is scoty young.com that's my website so  

           1:01:01          you can not only we have links to the book there but I have over a thousand articles we talk in depth about  

           1:01:07          productivity learning motivation so if you liked any of the things I was talking about here you can dig into it  

           1:01:13          more there perfect well I definitely recommend our audience checks that out so that's scoty young.com that will also  

           1:01:18          be a link in the show notes thank you so much Scott I look forward to chatting in another four years when your next book  

           1:01:23          comes out thank you so much

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           0:00          hey can you hear me I can hear you perfectly I can't see you though okay there you are I'll put on I think I  

           0:05          started out muted and uh and without video so oh good I'm looking okay right  

           0:11          now perfect man I love the background it's very uh podcast podcast ready you  

           0:16          got the old uh what do they call them the transistor microphones I don't know  

           0:22          yeah well we like this um I I don't know I've heard condenser microphone condenser microphone because yeah we  

           0:28          like this one because um it has like a if you go far away it like the drop off of volume is like pretty  

           0:34          dramatic and so you have to like you can't move around too much when you're using it but it's nice just because if  

           0:39          there's any background noise it like very rarely uh shows up on the on the recording which I'm in a I'm in an  

           0:46          office in the Shir space usually the office is pretty quiet but you know if you have like a some noise in the street  

           0:51          or something like this that used to be like oh my god well now now you can hear the sirens or whatever for it's like  

           0:57          whenever I have a guest from New York on the podcast there's always like sirens wailing in the background yeah yeah but  

           1:04          you're over in Vancouver right Vancouver yeah yeah and you're in Australia Australia Melbourne yeah yeah what what  

           1:12          time is it for you right there uh 9:00 am so it's 9 time for me for a podcast  

           1:17          you know been up since six hit the gym went for a Beach Walk got a coffee like  

           1:23          to me 9:00 a.m. is like ultimate cognitive uh time for a podcast oras  

           1:28          I've had some at like 1: in the morning with certain guests and that's incredibly difficult yeah you've been  

           1:34          doing any on your book tour at the moment or yeah I've been doing I definitely been doing some but I feel  

           1:39          like um I haven't done uh it's been because today is uh Tuesday here and I  

           1:45          didn't have one yesterday so I feel like I feel like fresh right now it's it's always hard if you're like at the end of the day and you've done it's this is  

           1:51          like your fourth of the day and then it's harder to be on but I haven't done anything since the weekend so I think you're you're getting me uh you're  

           1:57          getting me relatively crisp I think awesome good to know my man um well  

           2:02          unless there are any questions we may as well just roll on into it yeah let's do it awesome let's do it well um I mean  

           2:08          the last time I had you on the podcast Scott was uh January of 2020 and just before the world shut down  

           2:17          for a couple of years of course and uh that was to discuss your previous book Ultra learning uh which essentially dug  

           2:24          into the science of you know learning how to learn and essentially learning how to get better at anything which  

           2:31          incidentally four years later is the name of your new book uh get better at  

           2:36          anything 12 maximums for Mastery now for the uninitiated I mean how does this  

           2:42          book differentiate or differ from Ultra learning and what was the impetus to write get better at anything yeah yeah  

           2:49          it's interesting because definitely when I was in the process of writing ultr learning I was to say you know what I've said what I need to say about learning  

           2:55          like there's not that much more to say and you know we'll probably be good I'm done writing books on on this and as I  

           3:00          started doing research I I mean the original plan wasn't to write get better at anything it was uh you know just  

           3:06          interested in ideas interested in reading books I dug into so much that I didn't cover that I just felt like I had  

           3:11          to write another book and I feel like a lot of the ideas in this book are really complimentary to those that I talked  

           3:17          about in Ultra learning so there were things that just because of the format of ultra learning I was focused on these  

           3:22          people doing these really impressive self-directed learning projects that I wasn't able to talk about some of the  

           3:28          stories that I think really hold this book together and or what make it um interesting and useful to people yeah  

           3:35          that makes a lot of sense and uh as far as get better anything is concerned it is broken uh into three sections  

           3:42          essentially so C which is most of what we know comes from other people uh do  

           3:47          Mastery is the outcome of practice and feedback progress requires constant adjustment now when it comes to C which  

           3:54          is essentially learning from other people I imagine that definition of c is  

           4:00          expands to not only watching other people but reading books listening to podcasts watching YouTube videos and so  

           4:05          on and so forth yeah this was one of the first things that came up after I did ultr learning was looking at uh how much  

           4:13          the ability to learn from other people is like maybe the most important factor in making progress that if you are in an  

           4:20          environment where it's easy to see what other people are doing um see how they're performing the skill and often  

           4:26          that means you know in in an intellectual level like if you see someone doing physics that's more than just like how they move the chalk on the  

           4:32          Blackboard it's you know what are the what are the mental models they're thinking with how are they solving these  

           4:37          problems if you have access to that then you can make rapid progress if you don't have access to that then it often is  

           4:43          what holds you back and this was something that became really clear to me as you get outside of like school-based subjects like once you get outside of  

           4:50          the subject where there's like this is the textbook and you just have to read it um where the knowledge is really held  

           4:56          in you know groups of people people who maybe they know something some person knows something some person knows  

           5:01          another thing if you're the kind of person who can extract that from that that's going to make a big difference to your progress and so that came up again  

           5:07          and again in the research excellent and uh from a motivational perspective Scott  

           5:13          so for example after the pandemic I tried my hand at standup comedy I did a  

           5:18          whole bunch of Open Mic nights and the thing that got me to do it was going out to these Open Mic nights watching other  

           5:24          people try it and thinking hey I can do that too and uh I was right I could I'm  

           5:29          just as bad as they did but is there anything to be said for the motivation that comes from seeing other  

           5:36          people try something succeed at it and then you thinking hey I can do that it's  

           5:41          huge it's huge so uh there was this psychologist Albert bandur and he posed one of the most influential theories of  

           5:47          motivation which is this idea of self-efficacy so the idea of self-efficacy is basically another way  

           5:53          of saying if you are confident that you will achieve something that that affects your motivation you know it's not enough  

           5:59          to say oh well well I'm motivated to do this because I'm going to get a million dollars if I don't think I can do the things that will make a million dollars  

           6:04          it doesn't matter how much I value a million dollars I'm not going to be motivated to do it and so he he  

           6:09          pioneered this sort of concept of well if we have self-efficacy that can explain why some people in the same  

           6:15          situation they have the same you know rewards and punishments they're they're going to pass the exam they're going to  

           6:21          fail the exam if they study or they don't study and yet some people they're going to be motivated hit the books and  

           6:26          other people like you know what there's no point and he did this research and  

           6:31          what he found is that there were four factors that influenced motivation two two things that had like a minor  

           6:36          influence on self-efficacy and those were um you know cheering someone on this kind of like uh like enthusiasm  

           6:45          encouragement this kind of thing and then also your own bodily state so if you're really really anxious for  

           6:50          instance that might sabotage your confidence you might choke even if you know otherwise you're fine those were  

           6:55          minor modifications but the two big things were vicarious experience and Personal Mastery so the ability to see  

           7:01          someone achieve something is very important from a motivational level because if you can witness someone who's  

           7:06          sort of like you someone that you can see yourself in their shoes succeeding at something I mean that gives you a  

           7:11          strong belief that maybe you can do it too and then Personal Mastery of course if you stand up on the stage and you  

           7:16          give a a great uh great bit and and people laugh at you that's also going to reinforce your self-confidence too so  

           7:22          those two things are are really important for motivation in Lear absolutely yeah and definitely when I did get a few laughs it  

           7:30          did give me the sense that okay if I keep at this then maybe I'll get even more laughs and so it does reinforce  

           7:35          that sort of self-belief um but most of my listeners Scot at least many of them  

           7:41          are in the startup world they're building businesses and things of that that sort and this whole concept of you  

           7:48          know failure is your greatest teacher is it's kind of lionized in this ecosystem  

           7:55          but in your book you make the claim that success is actually many respects our  

           8:00          best teacher what do you mean by that well I think I want to be clear first of all that sometimes you can't avoid  

           8:05          failure you can't avoid making mistakes and so I think a lot of the startup community in particular is like well you want to fail fast right it's not because  

           8:12          failure is good in this way but it's better to get it over with quickly instead of spending years and years and years on something that ends up not  

           8:19          working out the reason that I think success is important is for for building motivation and for for you know uh  

           8:25          learning in general is for two reasons one is what we just talked about motivation if you're starting out with something  

           8:31          and you experience a long string of failures then the likely outcome is to be demotivated to have lower  

           8:37          self-efficacy to have lower confidence you're going to see so if you go up on stage and you get booed every single time then you have to have quite a bit  

           8:44          of motivation going into it to weather that storm now this doesn't mean that failure is always bad if you've  

           8:50          experienced some success you've built up that motivation sometimes it's nice to have like conditional success like you  

           8:55          have success after a period of failure or after a period of struggle that can be be a strong signal that I can  

           9:01          persevere even through failure but just raw failure on its own no success at the end it's very demotivating it's not a  

           9:06          good thing for teachers for coaches for even when we're setting up projects we don't really want to uh engineer that  

           9:12          into those efforts but the second reason I think this is relevant to startups in entrepreneurship is that a lot of times  

           9:17          what we're doing when we're trying to learn something is a little bit like finding the combination on a combination  

           9:22          lock you're trying to find product Market fit you're trying to find the right way to hit the tennis serve you're trying to find this right combination of  

           9:29          a lot of different variables and in this case success is more valuable because most things fail you know most company  

           9:36          ideas are bad most product ideas are bad most things that you try to take to Market are not going to work and so if  

           9:41          you get something that works that's a really important signal that's very valuable you actually learn a lot of information in that one step of like oh  

           9:48          people like this whereas if you learn a bunch of things that don't work failure is somewhat overdetermined like  

           9:53          something can fail for many many many reasons if it succeeds usually you had to have some things go right and so this  

           9:59          is the Bain you know again you can't always avoid failure but this is why you want to learn from other people because you want to get as many settings of that  

           10:06          combination law correct from the get-go so you only have to jiggle around a few of them to get something right yourself  

           10:12          absolutely and you mentioned product Market fit and so one concept that's really popular in the startup world is  

           10:18          as you mentioned fail fast which essentially requires startups to place a lot of bets test your assumptions the  

           10:25          faster you do that the faster you learn the faster you figure out what works right right but something you talk about  

           10:31          in your book Scott is problem solving is search and if the range of potential  

           10:38          outcomes is very large or the range of potential say unsuccessful outcomes is  

           10:45          very large you could be testing and adapting and running hundreds of uh experiments and still failing and  

           10:51          failing and failing so can you please uh just elaborate on the concept of problem solving your search and when it makes  

           10:57          sense to test and adapt yeah I mean the whole idea of how do we  

           11:03          solve problems is that most problems the possible combinations to go to this combination is just it's just gargantuan  

           11:10          like to think of a Rubik's Cube a Rubik's Cube has some like something like 72 quintilian possible  

           11:15          configurations like it's it's actually if you try to do them one by one it would take like trillions of years to  

           11:21          actually uh solve this puzzle so of course that's not how we solve but we don't do it that way that would be silly  

           11:26          what we do is we learn methods often from other people but sometimes we can discover methods through trial and error  

           11:32          it tends to be slower but we can also do it that way and if you have the right methods for solving a rubus cube it turns out you can solve any Rubik Cube  

           11:38          in about 20 moves that's the maximum that it takes if you have the right method to solve so 20 versus 72  

           11:43          quintilian not and Scott but you have to learn it right so if I just pick up a  

           11:49          rubis cube I'm not trained in these methods it's going to take me a long time but I know with practice you know you can see people online you can get  

           11:55          people who can solve a ruis cube in under a minute so how does this apply to comp companies and startups well the way  

           12:00          I think of it is that an entrepreneurial situation is somewhat unique because you have to be doing something different you  

           12:07          can't just do I can't just be like oh I got a good idea it's called Facebook like I can't do that right I have to do  

           12:12          something that will fill a gap fill a space in the market because if someone's already there then they're going to beat  

           12:18          me however however and I think this is important most of the dimensions that you run a business you don't want to be  

           12:25          creative with most of the things that you could be doing you want to be doing this is what every else is doing this is what works this is the best practice for  

           12:32          that and it's maybe a few of those little Dimensions that you're going to make a tweak so that you can hit a different Market or you can hit  

           12:37          something new and so you know even if you are doing the most Innovative  

           12:42          product in the world this is like literally a new invention that's going to cure cancer and you know save Humanity you still don't want your  

           12:49          accountant doing something creative when they're keeping the books right you still want to hire the same lawyer who's going to incorporate properly you still  

           12:55          probably want to do the same investment system as everyone El and so this is the idea of learning from  

           13:01          other people is that the more you can get the settings that don't need to change correct and you can start off  

           13:06          from a successful point of view then you can the only failures you make are the necessary failures you have to make to  

           13:12          explore that space that essentially you've reduced the search down to this is the search that I can't avoid that I  

           13:17          have to do as problem solving that makes sense so if we take the the standup  

           13:23          comedy uh example further instead of me just going out randomly talking my mouth  

           13:30          off trying to get a laugh I could essentially say take an online course  

           13:35          learn about how what the structure of a jerk looks like you know set up punchline tagline  

           13:42          uh create an assumption in the mind of the audience and shatter it these techniques so methodologies so with  

           13:50          respect to the Rubik's Cube if you know the methods then you can bring down the number of potential moves to solve it  

           13:56          like in my case 300 down to 20 and so in the standup comedy case once you know  

           14:01          these methods then you're far more likely to perhaps maybe it'll only take you 10 jokes to get a laugh as opposed to 100  

           14:08          um is that kind of where we're going with that yeah I mean I think I think again when you're if so if we're dealing  

           14:13          with standup comedy like a big thing you what what I would want to do is the same as any creative field is that I would  

           14:19          want to watch a lot of comedy and try to understand what they're doing yeah now um you know one of the people that I I  

           14:25          review in the book I talk about the science fiction author Octavia Butler who was someone who really struggled for a lot of her early career but then  

           14:32          became successful she won a MacArthur genius Grant and she talks about how you know when she was coaching new science  

           14:39          fiction others if they struggle with something like if you struggle with openings in your story she asked people to go out and copy a dozen openings they  

           14:46          like of books and copy them word for word and the reason is not because you want to be a plagiarist because you want to copy someone exactly but because it  

           14:53          shows you what the possible moves are these are ways you can start a book and you and you can reduce from this  

           14:59          Infinite Space of possibilities down to okay here's three ways that might work for my situation and so similarly with I  

           15:05          think stum comedy or or any kind of creative skill like that you want to sample broadly from what's out there  

           15:11          understand what they're doing and so you know obviously copying jokes stealing jokes that's not a good way to practice  

           15:16          on stage but if you could write down a person's joke and try to understand the timing of it understand why is this work  

           15:22          why is it funny then that gives you a lot of material it gives you some sort of understanding of like oh okay you  

           15:27          know these are the people who are telling the like oneliner quick jokes this is the people okay they're telling a funny story and this is how they're  

           15:33          keeping pace and I mean this is different from just you know listening into a lot of Comedy just letting it pour over you it is a kind of analytical  

           15:40          process of going there and trying to really see what someone's doing with their craft is different from just trying to enjoy the craft as a consumer  

           15:47          absolutely and that Echoes something um quite counterintuitive that you uh write about in your book which is that  

           15:54          creativity begins with copying um as you've elaborated or uh illuminated  

           16:01          there if I'm learning standup comedy let me copy someone else's joke in the sense that I'm going to unpack it try to  

           16:08          analyze uh the funny behind it and so on and so forth and I found in my own sort of um experience just drawing so I like  

           16:15          to draw occasionally at home and what I found was I would start by copying other  

           16:20          pieces of Art and I would just have an image and I draw it out and the more I  

           16:25          did this the more I got a feel for how to say draw a nose or eyes and all these  

           16:32          little elements and then if I took that sort of knowledge that I had internalized I could transfer and then  

           16:39          Draw Something Completely unique but it began with copying other pieces of art  

           16:45          is how how does that sort of relate to this concept of creativity beginning with copying others  

           16:53          yeah yeah so the the kind of scientific idea underpinning why this is important why it works is is of cognitive load so  

           17:00          the way the brain works is that we have this uh thing called working memory working memory is basically whatever you're thinking of right now and the  

           17:07          interesting thing about working memory is that it's famously limited there was a really famous people called the magical number um seven plus or minus  

           17:15          two which was this like idea that that's how many things you can keep track of at once turns out the answer is a little bit less than that if you do really  

           17:20          sophisticate analysis it's more like four but still it's a very small number of things and so most skills are quite  

           17:26          complicated if you were going to write a computer program to do a drawing or a computer program to solve a math problem  

           17:32          or anything that people can do you would need a lot more than four things to keep track of like you know Ram has you know  

           17:38          you might have gigabytes to Ram that can sort billions of things so this is clearly a very limited resource we have  

           17:44          but there's sort of a flip side to that it is very limited but with practice and skill we're able to make more efficient  

           17:50          use of it so we can kind of compress essentially what we can keep in this limited space and allow us to work with  

           17:56          it and what that means is that the complex of something something that would be relatively trivial for Leonardo  

           18:02          da Vinci to paint and draw to keep in mind his head could just be too much too much for someone who is starting out and  

           18:08          so the copying allows you to figure out what are the patterns what are the key sort of moves you can make so that you  

           18:13          can understand them condense them and apply them when you are applying new problems and so I I cover a lot of the  

           18:20          research of John sweller who's found that there's a number of circumstances where if you see how someone solves a  

           18:26          problem you actually learn it better than if you sol the same problem yourself and so it's very fascinating research that shows that how important  

           18:32          this seeing element is of understanding looking at whatever other people are doing in order to kind of figure out  

           18:38          what those methods are figure out what those patterns that you have to learn are in mastering a complicated field  

           18:43          yeah yeah and uh when it comes to saying I guess all right what's that famous quote by I believe it's attributed to  

           18:49          confucious tell me and I forget teach me and I remember involve me and I  

           18:55          understand so that yeah that sort of um concept of involved me and I understand  

           19:01          I guess dub tales with the second part of your book which is doing so rather  

           19:06          than just learning from others actually doing but as human beings I guess we have this evolutionary wiring that  

           19:14          predisposes us to taking the path of least effort we're always trying to conserve energy so you know I like to  

           19:20          play the guitar but Scott often times I'll pick up the guitar and instead of really practicing I'll just play the  

           19:26          same song I've played about a 100 times before cuz it's easy it's fun but am I  

           19:32          really learning or is there another form of practice that I should be um I suppose  

           19:38          pursuing if I'm looking to get better at playing the guitar yeah well this is definitely what the Viewpoint of uh  

           19:44          Andrew Ericson he was this he just passed away a couple years ago but he was a psychologist who studied expertise  

           19:50          and he had this Theory called deliberate practice which was this notion that it's not just doing something a lot that  

           19:56          makes you good which is kind of ironic because his research was sort of the basis of Malcolm gladwell's 10,000 hour  

           20:01          rule which was what everyone took to be the lesson of that which is that if you just do something a lot you become really good at it his idea was well that  

           20:08          obviously can't be it most people don't become world class at anything even if they spend their entire careers doing  

           20:13          some skill most people are still mediocre his explanation was that it's a certain kind of practice it's practice  

           20:20          under a coach so you have this sort of guidance this being able to see the correct examples and you are focused so  

           20:26          you are trying to improve some specific element and it's deliberate so it's something that you're not just doing automatically you're not just doing  

           20:32          unthinkingly you are really trying to get this particular cord progression in  

           20:37          this very difficult part of a solo if you're playing the guitar or you are you know really trying to do a certain kind  

           20:43          of golf swing to hit the you know ball from this particular part of the green that's not just what you would do by  

           20:49          default what you would do it automatically and this is because one of the features one of the things we've learned from how skill development works  

           20:56          is that as you continue to practice something skills become more and more automatic which is useful it requires  

           21:03          less time if and and energy if I'm driving a car I can do it with a lot less thinking I can listen to the radio  

           21:09          I can listen to an audiobook whereas if I was you know 16 and I was just learning to drive a car it was very  

           21:15          effortful I had to really think about everything I was doing however it also means that all the little bits and  

           21:21          pieces that underly my driving performance are essentially invisible to me so I'm not if I'm making a mistake if  

           21:28          I'm like the way I'm putting my foot on the you know is not the best way to put my foot in order to switch between the  

           21:34          gas pedal and the brake I'm never going to change it because it's invisible to me so Andrew Ericson had this idea that it was the necessity to have the coach  

           21:40          who could see that you were making a mistake and the feedback to be like okay no you need to make this adjustment and the players's intentional desire to make  

           21:48          these little tweaks and do this effortful thing that overrides this automatic processing that was necessary to make Improvement but it is important  

           21:55          to not this is something that happens at sort of the later stages of mastery when you're beginning and starting out as we were talking about um you know doing  

           22:03          deliberate practice when you haven't done something very much I mean all practice is kind of deliberate because you haven't reached that automaticity  

           22:08          yet but it's very important when you've been doing something for a long time absolutely and with respect to deliberate practice um there are some  

           22:17          sort of strategies or techniques you've outlined in your book for example one is you know variability and varying up your  

           22:24          practice so if I am learning the guitar maybe I'll you know learn different scales different modes maybe I'll spend  

           22:30          time working on solo chord progressions maybe I'll try different genres maybe  

           22:36          I'll plug in the guitar maybe I'll play acoustic like there's so many different ways I might vary up that practice um I  

           22:43          guess a question follow question I have to that is is there a risk and perhaps this touches on what you mentioned  

           22:49          earlier so 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell which often times buts heads with David Epstein's range right um yeah but is  

           22:57          there a risk of varying up my practice too much to the point where my golf swing or a certain technique never gets  

           23:04          that great because I've kind of become a jack of all trades perhaps yeah I mean I think this is one  

           23:09          of the major questions that gets debated a lot in research and so people have different answers to it like we talked  

           23:15          about um you know Anders Erikson he had this real belief that you know expertise was quite specific and if you look in  

           23:21          the research there's a lot of support for this idea that when people learn skills they tend to be pretty specific  

           23:27          like experts are expert at not just you know a chess expert is an expert in chess but they're an expert in the kinds  

           23:34          of patterns that show up in chess games so if you just take a chess board and rearrange it randomly their ability to  

           23:40          remember the board position is not really that much better than a novice whereas if you give them chess boards  

           23:47          from realistic games even if they haven't seen them before they remember them quite well and so it shows that  

           23:52          like the chess experts specificity is quite it's not even just like it doesn't apply to different games it doesn't even  

           23:59          apply to different versions of the chessboard so in this sense I think Andrew zon's probably right a lot of what we learn a lot of what we practice  

           24:05          is quite specific now the sort of area where I agree with David Epstein is that often times if you have extremely  

           24:12          regular environments extremely sort of repetitive very specialized practice  

           24:18          then you don't get enough ability to see patterns see them applied in different situations and training so there is a  

           24:25          kind of debate about is there a difference between you know the class IAL pianist who gets really really good  

           24:30          at playing exactly the same song versus the Jazz improviser who has to create something new every time is there a  

           24:36          difference in how they perform the skill and so there is also research showing that if it's not about just doing tons  

           24:42          and tons of different skills but doing practicing different things different components of what you're trying to  

           24:47          learn so if you're doing tennis doing the forehand shot and the backhand shot and alternating between them rather than  

           24:52          just doing them in one batch actually results in better and deeper learning because you're not just practicing a  

           24:59          shot you're also practicing knowing when you should apply the shot and that's a very important part of flexible skills  

           25:04          so I think we want some some degree of variability in our practice and I think variability is probably good so I think  

           25:10          maybe I'm a little bit more toward Andre Ericson than David Epstein on his Range Front I tend to think that people who  

           25:16          are extremely broad tend not to have a lot of deep skill even though I'm someone who's tried to practice that  

           25:22          myself yeah and you do tell the story in the book of a classically trained musician who just wasn't able to step  

           25:30          into say uh you know the on onto the Jazz stage and just yeah play by ear and  

           25:35          pick it up they're like what do you mean you don't have shap music that I can read like it was just a foreign concept to them yeah yeah well I mean that's  

           25:43          that's the thing when you practice a skill the supports and the structure that you have with you get embedded in  

           25:48          that skill so if you're someone who plays music and you always have sheet music then of course you're not going to be able to just hear a choir singing and  

           25:55          just like pick it up and start playing it whereas someone who was trained that environment where they just have to play along would presumably have that skill  

           26:02          or be able to develop that skill and so that's very important if you if you practice in a very constrained setting  

           26:07          and then you want to have skill in a different setting there's often really sharp drops in performance even if you  

           26:13          know maybe you could have learned that skill if you'd practiced differently yeah and in the book you actually talk about young poker players so people in  

           26:21          their teens essentially who are competing in the World Series of Poker  

           26:26          they're baiting people who've been playing for decades like people in their 60s and 70s who've you know been to  

           26:33          Vegas for the last 50 odd years um and one of the reasons for this is because  

           26:38          of online poker so these kids have grown up playing poker online they can play 20  

           26:44          games at a time so they're getting you know their 10,000 hours in but they're possibly also getting a lot of  

           26:50          variability in terms of the different sort of things they see so what what  

           26:55          differentiates these kids from people who've been playing say five decades longer than they have and how does that  

           27:01          tie into this concept of 10,000 hours versus Range yeah so so this particular example  

           27:07          what drew me to it is that there's actually a lot of research about how experts or people who have a lot of  

           27:13          experience in various Fields if the field is one where you can't make really  

           27:18          confident predictions so if you're doing uh a chess move for instance it always has the same outcome but if you are  

           27:23          hiring someone for a job then sometimes you'll hire someone and they're really good and sometimes you hire them and they'll be a dud and there's a certain  

           27:30          amount of variability Randomness noise in that process and what we found is  

           27:35          that when you have these kind of noisy variable uncertain environments where you know to figure out who's the best  

           27:41          candidate you kind of got to add together a lot of little information a lot of little ideas that you know nothing is in particular going to  

           27:47          determine that this person's successful or not people tend to be quite bad at that so there's also lots of research  

           27:52          showing that you know you can you can get a spreadsheet program and just like put in some data and get better results  

           27:58          than people who have Decades of experience which is quite frankly embarrassing however the the poker  

           28:04          players sort of operate in this kind of world that sits halfway between the Chess World and the people who are doing  

           28:10          the hiring manager they live in a very uncertain environment so you can make the same hand the same bets and it can  

           28:16          go really really well and you can make tons of money or you can lose everything and often the difference between a  

           28:21          really good poker player and a really bad poker player is pretty slight like you could be winning maybe 53 54% of the  

           28:28          time and that's enough for you to be an extremely good poker player whereas if you're a 48% 47% you're eventually going  

           28:34          to go bankrupt but I mean those differences mean that you have to play an enormous amount of games for you actually to be able to see that to be  

           28:40          able to viscerally experience whether or not you're a good or bad player so luck plays this huge role and it definitely  

           28:47          impacts how quickly you can learn and so I was very interested in the sort of emergence of online poker play because  

           28:53          how it changes over the casino is that you're able to track every single hand you've played you're able to see what  

           28:59          went down in certain moves and so people now have these like grids where they show this is my percentage performance  

           29:05          on all the different possible combinations of me going heads up against this person and you can see what  

           29:10          are the patterns in your play you're like you know what I tend to overb on this or I tend to do this more than I should and so it's a lot easier to  

           29:17          calibrate your play change what you should be doing whereas if you were in the casino it'd be very difficult to do that you'd have to be like also keeping  

           29:23          a notebook and writing down every single hand that was played every single thing and like putting it into a spreadsheet later I mean people didn't do that so  

           29:30          the technology I think is in one case where you can just get much better feedback and you can increase the speed  

           29:36          of learning and getting that calibrated results which are very hard to do in a lot of other professions yeah that makes sense and I  

           29:42          guess this whole concept of you know data driven learning nowadays given all these connected devices that we have  

           29:48          given we tend to play um you know poker online whatever the case is it just  

           29:54          means that there's so much more feedback that people have at their disposal and those feedback loops are essentially  

           29:59          quite quite small so that if you take that feedback on board and adjust your  

           30:05          approach fast enough then as these as we're seeing with these teenage poker  

           30:10          Champions you do get quite good quite quickly well I want to I want to link it to business because I think this is also  

           30:17          an area where this matters and if you think about like advertising Executives back in like the 1960s you'd spend a lot  

           30:23          of time on a big campaign you'd put it out on the airwaves and You' get some results or you'd get some feedack back  

           30:28          and I bet you if you talked to one of these madman types who was at the top of their game they would say I really know  

           30:34          what works in advertising I know what sells and I know you know I have this confidence because I have years of  

           30:40          experience but again looking at this expertise literature I have to doubt that because I know what kinds of  

           30:45          results we have when you do these careful studies and it's you know maybe you know some things maybe you know some things maybe you don't however nowadays  

           30:52          if you think about startup entrepreneurs like I I know lots of people in these spaces where you do these like  

           30:58          incredibly quick AB split testing of everything you're doing Facebook ads to text very minute details and quite  

           31:04          frankly you're often wrong things that you thought were going to work well do not work well and you get this very  

           31:09          tight calibrated feedback very quickly so this is another example of like I think the old age of marketing the new  

           31:15          age of marketing old age was a lot of intuition a lot of quite frankly overconfidence and the new age is a lot  

           31:20          more data driven and it's working that way and so I wonder what you know in in other fields like could we have data  

           31:26          driven hiring so that you actually have knowledge of like these are the factors that really matter for making a good  

           31:31          employee rather than just you know I've been here for 20 years and I know how to spot a good candidate and it just happens to be like the people I went to  

           31:37          University with you know yeah absolutely and it's it's funny what you mentioned there about the old style of marketing  

           31:44          like every time I drive past a billboard or some above the line sort of marketing like that like it's probably like 0.01%  

           31:51          of the time where I'm even remotely compelled to find out more about you  

           31:57          know the advertised product but when I see an ad online that's specifically targeting me it's definitely somewhere  

           32:04          in the 5 to 10% range so it's still not that high I'm probably going to filter out most of the ads but it's way more  

           32:11          compelling to me than some random above the line magazine ad or billboard or  

           32:16          television ad because it is targeted and it is based on you know data and fast  

           32:22          feedback loops yeah absolutely um and another concept that I wanted to to touch on  

           32:28          Scott is that in your book you say that learning is not a straight line um but  

           32:35          one thing I've found for example I'm I've been surfing for about five years  

           32:40          and there are periods of time where I could go months without really noticing much improvement right and I'll I'll  

           32:47          surf different spots different conditions different board I'll vary up the practice I might have a coach I  

           32:53          might get some feedback I might record the sessions I'll do all sorts of stuff and I might get a little bit better but  

           32:58          at times it feels like maybe I'm just not getting better and I guess one thing  

           33:05          I struggle with there is how do I know if I'm genuinely stuck or that I just need to  

           33:12          push through this Plateau like how do I differentiate between the two yeah I mean I think uh the the  

           33:20          typical so this is a sort of a famous result from skill development learning is it's called this power law of  

           33:25          practice and so I think one of the first places this came up with cigar rolling so they had people who like work in a  

           33:31          cigar Factory they're rolling cigars and they're measuring like how fast they're doing it I don't know whether they also  

           33:36          measured accuracy but I think speed was a factor and what they found is that even after like 30 years people do get better but it just gets slower and  

           33:43          slower because they're sort of like at the beginning you you have a pretty steep part of the laring curve where  

           33:48          you're just quickly getting better and then it flattens out and flattens out and this is a fairly simple action so it just has a simple kind of curve but for  

           33:55          complicated skills the problem is that there's lots to different curves right and so often what you're doing is you're  

           34:00          on one curve and then you find some different way of doing it and then it's a new curve so if you think about like  

           34:06          um uh like doing the uh the high jump or something like that like everyone used to go over it one way and then Fosbury  

           34:13          decided I'm going to go over it backwards yeah it turns out that's better and so suddenly you get a new performance break so I think what we  

           34:19          expect from our learning frequently with simple skills or things like that is that there is going to be this kind of  

           34:25          diminishing returns curve as you as long as you keep doing doing the same thing and you keep practicing in this sort of  

           34:30          same way you're going to hit this place where you are probably are getting a little bit better as long as you keep up the practice but it's it's going to be  

           34:37          kind of flat and then also with a physical skill like a sport maybe there's also you know aspects of like  

           34:43          your your strength your speed that you know we're all going to be getting older and so maybe that's going to be diminishing it's why tennis players you  

           34:50          know tend to Peak at some age and they don't just get better and better into their 70s because you know even if you're getting skilled your body is  

           34:56          slowing down however the the big thing and this is I think the idea of improvement not being a straight line is  

           35:02          often what you're looking for is what are those changes that you can make to your performance that are going to move  

           35:07          you to a new level and sometimes they're fairly dramatic I think if you were um you know if you've been typing on a  

           35:13          computer and you use two fingers and you hunt and Peck for a long time and then you transition to doing touch typing  

           35:18          well all of a sudden that Plateau is at a much higher speed than doing two fingers does you can actually get much higher speeds if you're doing that and  

           35:25          so sometimes there's those kind of big gains is low hanging fruit where you could make a dramatic Improvement but other times it's going to be a small  

           35:31          thing it's going to be okay you're going to stand slightly this way or you're going to move slightly that way and it's moving you on a on a curve that's a  

           35:37          little bit higher than the one that you did before but I think that general idea that for simple things there's that  

           35:42          power law of practice but for complicated skills there's many of these curves and so sometimes we Plateau early  

           35:48          because there's techniques and ideas that could improve us that we're just not taking advantage of yeah yeah and I  

           35:53          definitely uh relate to the plateauing in the gym um idea especially as I turned 40 last year  

           36:00          so the one rep max deadlift isn't as high as it used that's okay I'll have to  

           36:05          mentally adjust but um I think uh with respect to breaking through plateaus uh  

           36:11          you do mention this idea of the difficulty Sweet Spot uh in your book which to me does that align to mix menti  

           36:19          High's idea of getting into flow and operating in a space that's perhaps about 4% more difficult than what you're  

           36:28          with or 4% beyond your capabilities is what they say in the book flow or what mitii wrote about in the book flow does  

           36:36          that at all align with this difficulty sweet spot that you um introduced in the book yeah I mean I think they're they're  

           36:42          probably related in the sense that Sheik Sami high he had this notion that well when skills are too easy they're boring  

           36:48          and so you're basically you know to go back to this working memory idea you don't need your full working memory  

           36:54          capacity to perform the skill so all of a sudden you're investing it in other places you're getting distracted  

           36:59          basically essentially essentially whenever your brain doesn't need to be absorbed in a task it goes to what's called this default mode Network which  

           37:06          is essentially like kind of daydreaming and rumination and this kind of thing and I think some of uh cheek Sam's  

           37:11          research is that we tend to be less happy when we're in this sort of default mode Network when we're absorbed in a task we are less self-conscious less  

           37:18          kind of anxious and worrying and this kind of things so it was related to happiness and then clearly frustration  

           37:24          when you're on the end where you know what we were talking about where you're you're exploring this really large problem space it's just trial and error  

           37:30          failure failure failure failure failure that's also probably not ideal from a learning standpoint at least when we can  

           37:37          avoid it it's it's probably not ideal however the question of whether uh flow  

           37:42          is what optimizes learning is a really interesting kind of discussion certainly Andrew Ericson the deliberate practice  

           37:47          guy thought that it wasn't what optimized learning because his whole idea was that well flow tends to happen  

           37:53          when you're using a well practice skill in the way that you've practiced it you need to have your attention to sort of  

           37:58          manage the stuff that you don't have automated but you're essentially just doing what you already know how to do  

           38:03          and his whole idea was deliberate practice was avoiding that tendency of being deliberate and I certainly think  

           38:09          that in the early stages of learning it's probably the case that you're not always achieving flow simply because  

           38:15          again the cognitive load is high you have to learn new patterns you have to learn new information and we have lots of um evidence that you know  

           38:21          interventions that help people with learning often are ones that they maybe don't voluntarily choose they choose to  

           38:29          do things that are easier choose to do things that don't have as much cognitive load so I wouldn't say that flow is what  

           38:34          necessarily maximizes learning but definitely the problem of you know you for both learning and enjoyment you can  

           38:41          pick too high a difficulty or too low difficulty and so a lot of what it takes to learn well and actually make progress  

           38:47          is about fine-tuning that finding ways that when okay I'm way into the zone of frustration pulling it back down or you  

           38:54          know I I haven't made any changes to my performance in 5 years because I'm doing exactly the same thing how can I  

           38:59          increase the constraints increase the challenge that I'm actually doing something different have the possibility for growth yeah yeah that's interesting  

           39:06          and uh I was actually watching um N I think it was called 99 and this  

           39:12          was basically about the Manchester United Team of 99 that won the treble so they won the English premiership the FA  

           39:18          Cup and the European Champions League and during this season their goalkeeper  

           39:23          uh the great Dee Peter schmeichel he had a a run of really bad games and one  

           39:28          thing he said was his goalkeeping went from being  

           39:34          instinctual to being very conscious like he started thinking about everything as  

           39:41          opposed to it just being instinctual knowing which way to move when a player's approaching him and I guess  

           39:46          that kind of perhaps touches on this topic of you know knowledge becoming invisible in the  

           39:53          sense that the more you do it you know your default mode Network takes over and just it becomes instinctual but  

           39:59          sometimes our brains can bring us back to that place of everything becoming effortful again especially if we're  

           40:05          anxious if we're overthinking and things of that sort so and this perhaps isn't something that  

           40:11          you unpack in your book but this sort of idea of you know anxiety and and uh  

           40:18          overthinking can affect our performance when we're uh executing it on a specific  

           40:23          task so how might someone like a Peter schichel who's going through a slump and he's coping three goals a game for 10  

           40:29          games in a row get himself back on track when suddenly everything that's been  

           40:34          instinctual to him for years is becoming effortful again yeah I mean this is this  

           40:40          is like related to this Sports phenomenon of choking and and having you have the motor patterns in there but it  

           40:46          turns out that like using that working memory like really thinking about your movements is actually probably bad for  

           40:52          most skills so there's there's studies that show that like people are golfing it's much better to direct their  

           40:57          attention outwardly so you atten direct their attention not to how they're moving their arms or even moving the  

           41:03          club but like you know where's the ball going to go this kind of thing tends to be better for these skills and uh that's  

           41:09          probably just a quirk of how our motor system works Quirk of how a lot of these skills work that when you are you are  

           41:15          trying to get involved you're trying to send that you know CEO of the brain down to the like production line and getting them to like micromanage then it tends  

           41:21          to have problems you need to like trust the people who are trained to do that and so you have people like the in game  

           41:27          of tennis I forget the the author of that book but he makes this big argument that like a lot of what he's trying to do is get you into almost this Flow  

           41:34          State you already have the motor patterns you already have the skill kind of trained getting you into a mindset  

           41:40          where you're not going to interfere not going to sort of weak that performance and uh so I do tend to think there's a a  

           41:46          tension sometimes between uh performance or learning or making changes to those skills like doing something differently  

           41:53          than you automatically do versus sort of realizing that performance and a lot of what we're doing when you're at that  

           41:58          level in a game like soccer is that you've done millions of drills you've done so much practice you really have  

           42:04          the experience deep down it's just that when you have stress and pressure you kind of default to oh I'm going to maybe  

           42:10          second guess myself or I'm going to override this and so a lot of it is how can you get someone into a a mindset  

           42:16          where they don't do that where they don't uh inhibit it and so you know visualization we talk I have a whole chapter about anxiety visualization is  

           42:22          one thing you can do but definitely exposure working through that so you can bring the stress level down you're less likely to interfere with the skills that  

           42:30          you've already learned is very important yeah yeah absolutely and you do talk about um uh exposure therapy in the book  

           42:37          as well so if I am fearful of going out into say bigger waves for example as a  

           42:43          surfer or perhaps I am in a slump as a as a footballer and I'm fearful of not performing just putting yourself in that  

           42:49          environment or is is more likely to make you realize that it's it's it's not so  

           42:55          bad um and you will be okay and um similarly with people in the corporate  

           43:00          world or in the startup world who want to go out and pitch their their startup or they want to do more public speaking  

           43:06          if they've not done much of that then you can blow it up in your mind to be this big you know overwhelming scary  

           43:13          imposing thing but maybe start small go out do a five minute talk somewhere in front of a small crowd of maybe 20  

           43:19          people at a co-working space and work your way up to those those bigger conferences um so I guess there is a lot  

           43:26          of value in just that sort of exposure therapy if there are certain  

           43:32          mental frames that are holding us back from learning what we need to learn and getting better at what we need to get  

           43:38          better at to become who we want to be yeah I mean I I tend to think of exposure therapy as this sort of useful  

           43:45          mental model to have because very often when we Face something that gives us anxiety or we're afraid of there is this  

           43:53          um objectivity to it so it's not just that you know happen to have this sort of anxiety response to thinking about  

           44:00          public speaking public speaking just is Scary or speaking in other language just is scary and the issue is  

           44:07          that this this part of our brain that controls this threat response it it gets  

           44:12          Cali so when you have experiences and nothing bad happens or nothing extremely bad happens I don't want to say that  

           44:18          like you know everything has to go perfectly in order for exposure therapy to work that's not what the research shows but if if you experience you stand  

           44:24          up on stage you know you're talking about standup comedy like I haven't done stand up comedy before if I think about going to an open mic and giving a com  

           44:30          routine it feels like that would be terrifying to me but I think I can know intellectually that if I did it every  

           44:37          week for months and months so if I did it for like three or four months you know I'm not saying it would be nothing  

           44:42          but the fear level would go down dramatically and that's sort of almost like a mechanical response to being in that situation repeatedly and so this is  

           44:49          something that you have to kind of almost step outside of yourself and be like okay yes I know this is scary but I  

           44:54          know if I repeatedly do this it will go way it's just sort of how we're hardwired is that exposure therapy works  

           45:01          quite well for reducing anxiety for things and so this is something that you know especially if you have um a fear  

           45:06          reaction to a concrete situation is definitely something you can work on if you're trying to uh improve yeah it's  

           45:12          interesting I was listening to an episode of I believe it was the Andrew hubman podcast and he was talking about  

           45:19          a part of the brain and the Name Escapes me um but essentially this part of the  

           45:24          brain gets bigger the more you put yourself in situations that previously scared you you might know the name but  

           45:32          what he also found was for example it could be as a single guy maybe you're  

           45:37          fearful of approaching girls but the more you do it this part of the brain gets bigger however if you go a few  

           45:43          months without doing it the part of the brain gets smaller and I've I found this myself with surfing where if I don't  

           45:50          surf for a few weeks then the idea of going out into four five six foot waves  

           45:55          really scares me but if I been doing that say three four times a week it's it's like nothing it becomes automatic  

           46:01          like I don't even think about it and this applies to everything that's scar me public speaking standup surfing you  

           46:07          name it um but it seems like with exposure therapy perhaps it's something that you can't just expose yourself once  

           46:14          like that you need that constant exposure to um bring down the sort of fear and anxiety around a particular  

           46:20          task yeah so I I think a book I really recommend people if they're really interested in diving deep on this topic  

           46:26          is uh Joseph Leo is one of the chief neuroscientists who studies fear and anxiety he has a book called anxious and  

           46:32          he talks about in that book about how basically there's there's quite a bit of evidence that what you're doing when you  

           46:38          get exposure is you're you're learning a kind of a separate little neural circuitry you're building that that  

           46:44          suppresses the fear response or suppresses the threat detection sort of mechanism that would say oh you're in  

           46:50          danger right now and then that activates you know you start your Pawn starts sting your heart starts racing and you start having all these negative uh  

           46:57          visions of the future of of all the bad things that are going to happen if you if you experience the situation and  

           47:03          nothing really bad happens again like you're not you know it's not devastating it's not much worse than you thought it  

           47:08          was going to be then you're sort of learning this other circuitry but the thing about that circuitry is that it  

           47:14          tends to be more specific context dependent and like liable to being erased than the threat detection and so  

           47:21          that means that if you want to have like really robust exposure you need to practice it regular you need to like  

           47:27          regularly do it if you spend a long time not doing it it goes away I know I've heard stories about the construction  

           47:33          crew that we working on like the Empire State Building that after you're up there for you know two weeks you're not  

           47:38          afraid of being on the you know 100th floor and walking across a metal gerder with your lunch pill like that that fear  

           47:44          goes away but if they spend you know six months or a year not working on a highrise and they have to go back again  

           47:51          the fear returns so this is one reason and then also if you only practice exposure in a very narrow nrow setting  

           47:57          you can also learn okay that setting is safe but it doesn't generalize to all settings so if you only do public  

           48:03          speaking at Toast Masters you might be like well I'm fine at Toast Masters because people are nice to me there but when I go and give a presentation to a  

           48:09          VC or something like that I'm going to have a panic and a meltdown and so I think that's one of the things as well  

           48:14          is if you understand these mechanisms for how this works you can plan yourself okay I'm going to create this plan for  

           48:20          overcoming my anxiety that's getting in my way of of getting better at some skill that I care about y y that makes  

           48:27          that makes a lot of sense and uh one thing I wanted to touch on was this concept of experts not always being  

           48:34          perhaps the best teachers Scott and uh I mean I saw this myself a couple months ago I was in barley took a friend for  

           48:41          their first surf ever and I thought I taught them all the basics right how to pop up on the board how to paddle where  

           48:48          to stand all that type of stuff then we got out into the water and my friend's  

           48:53          paddling away and a wave's coming and about 2 m before the wave got to them they tried popping up and anyone that  

           49:01          knows surfing knows that will know the waves got to pick you up then you pop up otherwise you're just not going to go  

           49:07          anywhere but I had assumed that knowledge and of course my friend didn't  

           49:13          have that knowledge in their brain so that kind of ties into this concept that experts don't always make the greatest  

           49:18          teachers so can you just elaborate on that concept yeah well this goes back to what we were talking about before when  

           49:24          you get repeated practice with the skill some of what your brain is doing is automating components of that skill so  

           49:30          that you're making it so it requires less effort less working memory so that it's easier to do but that also means  

           49:37          that you're likely to skip over some of those steps and so one of the difficulties with dealing with people who have built expertise over a really  

           49:45          long period of time is that first of all some of the skill has become unconscious so maybe they're not even aware of it  

           49:51          they're not even able to articulate what it is they're doing in certain situations and then some of it is also  

           49:57          that you know like you said you just take for granted that such and such is obvious so you don't even bring it up  

           50:03          when you're explaining to someone so so looking at the research of this it really became clear that you know to be a good performer means that you have to  

           50:10          have a lot of practice but to be a good teacher you not only have to have a lot of practice but you also have to have kind of the reverse skill of being able  

           50:16          to break down what it is that you know in a way that a new person can digestion so that's I think an essential part to  

           50:23          becoming a good teacher and if you are trying to learn a skill from someone who who maybe isn't the best teacher then  

           50:28          it's really important to kind of go through the step of breaking down what it is they know and getting them to  

           50:34          elicit all these things that are obvious to them but maybe aren't obvious to you and you talk about instead of asking for  

           50:40          advice ask them to tell stories as well if if it's pertaining to say say a  

           50:46          business problem hey I've got this problem with um my business development customer acquisition isn't going well I  

           50:52          know you've been in this situation before can you please tell tell me uh how you dealt with it rather than just  

           50:59          asking for flat out advice like so what's the difference there and how is telling stories better than just giving  

           51:04          advice yeah so the the the sort of root of this um little piece of wisdom came  

           51:10          from uh I I taught a course with Cal newort well we still teach it is called top performer and and the idea was to  

           51:15          help people who are starting out in their career or trying to get to the next level in their career figure out how their career works and one of the  

           51:21          things that we found very useful from early cohorts is we get people to like find someone who's two to three steps head of you in your career and like you  

           51:28          know ask them do an interview with them figure out what they're doing so you can figure out what you need to do because that gives you a lot of the information  

           51:34          the very specific information to your industry your field so if you want to start a business find someone who already has like a moderately successful  

           51:41          business and figure it out however when we got people like the one of the first cohorts we got people to do this  

           51:47          exercise and they ask for advice and then they come back with like the most generic platitudes like you found someone who like specifically knows what  

           51:54          you need to do and then you get an interview with them and they say well you know the important thing is to work hard and to network and you know like  

           52:00          believe in your dreams and all this kind of stuff like anything you could just pick up from a random self-help title which is like no no no but this person  

           52:06          knows exactly what you need to do why aren't they telling you this and one of the things that we found and it goes back to this idea of obviousness is that  

           52:14          you know when you ask someone for advice you you shift them into a different mode of thinking you ask them to think about  

           52:20          well what are the kids doing these days that I don't think they should be doing or what do I think is an important value  

           52:26          to have or what is the thing that I attribute to my success and all these generalities which are not that useful I  

           52:32          mean they they're nice to hear but they're not what the reason why you reached out to this person and what we  

           52:37          found worked a lot better is to do what we call a journalistic style interview so basically instead of asking for  

           52:43          advice at all you say what did you do when did you do it why did you do that when did you do this and so this happened before this thing happened and  

           52:50          suddenly you're shifting them away from this kind of like what is the meaning of life what is the meaning of success you  

           52:55          know how can I be a great person like you and you're saying okay so when your business was doing this many sales how  

           53:01          many people did you hire and how much debt did you have and like you're asking these very specific questions and it  

           53:06          turns out when you ask those questions then all of a sudden all this stuff that's really obvious to the person  

           53:11          comes out and sometimes that can be revelatory like it can be something that you were totally not expecting that person to say something that you were  

           53:17          thinking oh okay that every I've talked to six people they all say this this must be the thing that you have to do  

           53:23          and so that is something that you know uh I thought it was very interesting when I was reading the research on cognitive task analysis this tool that  

           53:30          psychologists have developed for doing this kind of thing that they kind of came to the same conclusion that you don't really want to be just asking for  

           53:36          advice or just just tell me how you do this but to like walk me through it so that you can actually do this analysis  

           53:42          yourself yeah that that that makes uh a lot um of sense um I was I did have a  

           53:51          follow on question but for whatever reason I'm blanking but um as as one  

           53:57          does during during podcasts um  

           54:02          but I'm just it was a really important question sorry I'm asking other people I'm getting them  

           54:10          to tell the story [Music] um so from a business perspective  

           54:19          exactly here we go so um when it comes to hiring I think that also applies  

           54:24          right so instead of asking say potentially a growth manager higher uh I  

           54:29          see you might ask them about a kpi you know oh you doubled revenue from one year to the next or tell me about your  

           54:38          results instead of asking them that I might ask them hey you doubled revenue from one year to the next how did you go  

           54:44          about doing that what were the specific steps you followed to double Revenue um  

           54:49          and get them to tell that story that's going to tell me a lot more about them and how they think and how they solve problems versus just knowing sort of the  

           54:56          high level highlight re sort of Statistics oh definitely and I mean  

           55:01          especially in a hiring interview type situation where people have strong incentives to not be like entirely  

           55:07          candid about things sometimes you reveal in these situations where you're talking to someone oh well this person just got  

           55:12          really lucky in this situation like it had nothing to do with their skill their ability so you can talk to someone and  

           55:18          they'll be like uh oh yeah well that's when my dad gave me a loan for $10 million and you're like oh okay well so  

           55:24          I was wondering how you did this sort of vertical line in the growth here and it's like oh no okay it's this thing that I can't replicate or this thing  

           55:31          that's not relevant to your talent or your ability and so again getting people to talk about factual things the actual  

           55:36          stories that can be a big big way to reveal this knowledge that's often hidden yeah perfect and perhaps the last  

           55:42          question I have for you today Scott um we've been talking a lot about learning but I wanted to talk about uh unlearning  

           55:50          uh bad habits perhaps yeah and in in the book you do tell a story about uh Tiger  

           55:55          Woods and having to you know update his golf swing and unlearn uh his previous sort of  

           56:01          style of playing can you just elaborate on that and how it relates to this topic  

           56:07          of unlearning which can be quite difficult particularly if you've picked up a bad habit that you've more or less  

           56:12          internalized and it's become automatic and it stands between you and perhaps  

           56:19          making progress in a specific task yeah I mean this is this is sort of the the  

           56:25          real dilemma I think especially for well-developed skills is that you've you've mastered something it's very  

           56:31          automatic it's very entrenched and maybe there's a better way of doing it maybe you know there's a better way of doing  

           56:37          it but to learn the better way of doing it not only do you have to like start learning that skill from scratch again  

           56:44          you have to learn it to enough fluency that it can actually like override what you've already learned the other way you've already learned to do it and  

           56:51          there is both rewards and dangers to going through this process so I mean I talk about Tiger Woods because I think  

           56:57          he really illustrates both that on the one hand he was successful when he went through his first swing coach change he  

           57:04          you know he posted record runs at the Masters and he was just very very successful he had a good stretch but he  

           57:09          also did it a couple more times which with maybe more mixed results he didn't always have the that those great results  

           57:15          and there's many many golfers who have done this where like they reach the pros and they're like I need to change how I swing and it just destroys their career  

           57:22          and they're not able to do it because you've spent maybe decades swinging a Club maybe you spent 10 years  

           57:27          intensively practicing a swing and then for you to replace it with something else I mean it can take a long time for  

           57:33          you to have some skill that competes with that performance and so this is particularly true for this kind of like  

           57:39          well hon repetitive skills but I think it applies in a broader way too I mean every time when we're pursuing a career  

           57:45          we always have this sort of tradeoff of like do I go with what I'm good at do I go with what I know or do I sort of  

           57:51          climb back down to the beginner and start learning again and uh it can be a dilemma I think it is a a real Dilemma  

           57:57          to think about but I think when we're thinking about un learning that's really what we have to do we have to think about you know well am I willing to  

           58:03          invest to climb that other Mountain again and and do I really think that that's the right way to go forward that makes sense and I did say that was the  

           58:10          last question but I but I lied I have one more for you Scott um sure in the corporate world we have this sort of or  

           58:16          in the corporate learning World there is this ratio 702 10 so 70% of your  

           58:21          learning should come from job related experience 20% from interactions with other people and 10% from formal  

           58:28          education now when it comes to seeing doing and feedback is there an approximate split  

           58:36          like where should we be investing most of our time to get better at something I mean I would have loved if I could have  

           58:42          come out from the book and be like oh it's you know 20% this and 50% this and the reason why I can't do that and and  

           58:48          I'll I'll explain why I can't before I just like cop out with the answer as well is that it really depends on what  

           58:54          the skill is and so there's some skill where seeing is almost the entire skill so if we're thinking about um okay well  

           59:01          this is the right uh way to approach a business problem there maybe is no practice involved at all if you just  

           59:07          know the right way to do it then as soon as someone tells you the right way to do it you can apply it immediately and get the same result and then there's other  

           59:13          skills which require just an intense amount of practice and feedback and like the explaining how it works is not  

           59:19          really that big a part of it I mean if I'm uh skiing down a mountain I could probably watch in an afternoon pretty  

           59:26          much all the videos that I'd really need to watch to become like at least an adequate skier but it might take me  

           59:31          years of practice on the slopes to be able to build all of the unconscious knowledge all of the sort of practice  

           59:37          efficiency automatic skill to be able to actually do it and so there really is going to be a range and I think for  

           59:43          domains that are very knowledge based where just knowing the right answer is important then practice is relatively  

           59:48          less important not unimportant at all but relatively less important whereas if we're talking about skills which are  

           59:54          especially motor skills set then it's obvious going to be lean a lot more toward that but in every individual  

           1:00:00          person's case it can be different situations so again if you're using the wrong technique and you can do you can  

           1:00:06          be on that you know power law practice you can be on that curve for a really long time and not realize that you could 2x your performance if you were doing a  

           1:00:12          different technique and so I really do think you got to think in terms of all the ingredients and you got to think in terms of in this situation I'm in right  

           1:00:19          now what is the thing that's limiting my progress is it that I'm not able to learn the best technique or I don't have the best technique is it that I don't  

           1:00:25          have the right kind of practice or is it they don't have good enough feedback and that's really the message of the book  

           1:00:30          very well played Scott very well played well the message of the book uh is one I  

           1:00:36          really resonate with and the book is called get better at anything 12 maxims for Mastery people can pick that up on  

           1:00:42          Amazon uh Barnes & Noble everywhere good books are sold maybe not borders because  

           1:00:48          that shut down quite a few years ago um but is there anything else you'd like to to plug um YouTube channel blog you name  

           1:00:56          it this is your time I mean we have all of it but I I think the best place to go is scoty young.com that's my website so  

           1:01:01          you can not only we have links to the book there but I have over a thousand articles we talk in depth about  

           1:01:07          productivity learning motivation so if you liked any of the things I was talking about here you can dig into it  

           1:01:13          more there perfect well I definitely recommend our audience checks that out so that's scoty young.com that will also  

           1:01:18          be a link in the show notes thank you so much Scott I look forward to chatting in another four years when your next book  

           1:01:23          comes out thank you so much

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