By Eric Barker
September 26, 2014
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

1) Keep Trying New Things

Having lots of hobbies is one of the secrets of the most creative people.

Via Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation:

Matt Cutts gives a great talk about how trying new things for 30 days not only helped him learn new skills but also changed him as a person.

2) Don’t Fear Failure

In Eric Ries’ acclaimed bestseller The Lean Startup he makes it clear that little bets, or “experiments”, are critical to moving a business forward in a safe fashion:

Getting it wrong helps you get it right. Making mistakes is vital to improvement.

Via Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation:

Taking tests increases performance – even when you fail the tests. Deliberately making mistakes during training led to better learning than being taught to prevent errors.

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

3) A Supportive Environment

The most effective way to change your behavior over the long term is to manipulate your environment. Change your surroundings to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard.

And I’m not just talking about moving furniture around. Probably the most important thing in your environment is supportive friends.

Via The Longevity Project:

And when it comes to learning there’s nothing more valuable than a good mentor. How do you pick the right one?

Via Daniel Coyle’s excellent book The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills:

4) Focus on the Long Term

Merely deciding you’re committed for the long-term vs the short-term dramatically increases progress and improvement.

Via The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How:

5) Make It Fun

There are 1000 ways to improve but the truth is, you’re probably not going to follow through with anything too complicated, difficult or outside your normal routine.

Understand this, accept it and work with it. Fit new things in to your current habits and make them enjoyable. Playing and learning are not opposites. In fact, playing is the most natural way to learn.

Via Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul:

In fact, there’s some anecdotal research that shows we may need play.

Via Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul:

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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