Self Development

How to Develop any Skill with One Simple Principle

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Tom Bilyeu’s interviews with the world’s greatest in every field. From neuroscientists to authors to entrepreneurs.

But, little did I know that one of these interviews was going to send me into the dungeons of Google.

It was an interview with the famous writer Robin Sharma.

During this interview, Robin talked about how to unlock your inner genius, how to optimize your energy, and other mind-blowing techniques.

I was impressed by the depth and breadth of his knowledge. So, I googled him.

On his website, I found one of his articles on how to install habits that last.

In that article, he mentioned a term that caused a synapse in my brain to connect. Automaticity.

It was a fascinating concept that piqued my interest.

Therefore, I did further research to understand what it was all about.

I realized researchers had found out that, when developing any skill, humans can achieve a particular state. This state was known as automaticity.

Automaticity as defined by Benjamin Bloom is:

The ability to perform an action or skill “unconsciously, with speed and accuracy, while consciously carrying on other brain functions.”

According to research, when we achieve automaticity with any skill, we no longer have to think about each individual step in the process.

Instead, we simply do it, while simultaneously thinking about something else.

I was intrigued by this idea, so I dug deeper.

It tends out that many studies have been done on this concept and results have shown that it takes an average time of 66 days to reach automaticity.

Now, what exactly does this mean for you?

This simply means that you can learn anything skill you want by sticking with it for an average of 66 days. Simple as that.

I don’t know about you, but, for me, this was exciting news.

It meant I could technically learn any skill or develop any new habit I want.

All I have to do is choose the skill or habit I want to develop, then practice it every day for the next 66 days and it’s going to be as easy as taking a bath.

Of course, as a scientist, I needed to test the correctness of this concept before I wrote an article about it.

I had many things in my life that I wanted to start or stop.

This concept seemed to me like the cure to my perennial bad habits.

For example, for years I couldn’t make up my bed in the morning. My mum got tired of yelling at me to do it. When I left home for university, it was the same story.

Also, I had difficulties in writing. It was tough to sit down and produce a high-quality article. Stitching the words and sentences together in a logical way eluded me.

Luckily, when I stumbled upon this concept, I had just started waking up every day at 4:55 a.m and struggling to write.

It was hard. Some days I just sat there staring at a blank screen for countless minutes. No words or sentences came forward.

So, I decided to apply the principle of automaticity to making my bed and writing. 66 days wasn’t that bad. Just 2 months.

Now, it’s been more than 5 months and I lost count of the 66 days. All I know is that I wake up automatically at 4:55 a.m, I make up my bed automatically, I pray automatically, and then I sit to write automatically.

What is even more surprising even for me is that some mornings I am able to write 2 to 3 articles on the fly.

I’m not sharing this to brag. Rather, I want to let you know that automaticity is real and it works.

It worked for me and it will work for you if you apply it.

İ now use it as my compass to building good habits in my life especially my morning routine.

Such as doing one hour of sports, taking a cold shower, and others.

One interesting thing is that everyone has reached the state of automaticity in one thing or the other in their lives.

You might not be aware of it because no one labeled it with the term.

For example, when you ride a bicycle do you think about how to balance your weight on the bicycle so that you don’t fall on the side?

But, do you remember when you started learning how to ride? Paddling, balancing, controlling the bicycle required intense focus.

What about speaking? Walking? Driving?

Now, you talk without thinking about how to open your mouth or walk without thinking about how to put one leg in front of the other or change gears while driving without thinking about it.

All these events indicate the state of automaticity that you have attained.

Now, what skill do you want to develop?

Is it playing the piano? or is it speaking Chinese?

All you have to do is pick whatever you want and then consistently practice it for an average of 66 days.

Then let automaticity take over from there.

At that moment it becomes easy. You do it without mental or physical resistance and stress.

Now, before you jump into building a skill or habit using this principle, here is something I want you to be aware of.

The beginning of anything new is often very challenging.

Know that it’s going to require you to activate your mental muscles in order to glide through the initial phase.

To help you smoothly transition through the most difficult phase of building a skill or habit, here is an article I wrote about developing a habit and the phases involved.

If you feel like you’re ready to put the principle of automaticity to test and create an awesome new habit or skill, leave a comment below.

Tell me and other readers what skill or habit you want to create.

Write down the start date in the comment section and then start counting your days.

After 66 days, come back and share with us your experience of the attainment of the state of automaticity.

Good luck and see you in 66 days.

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7 thoughts on “How to Develop any Skill with One Simple Principle

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