What would you do if you knew that you could master something in just a few months, instead of several years?
How do you normally go about learning a new skill? Practice, mess up, eventually get the hang of the basics, sometimes try new stuff, mostly practice what you know until you get really good at it before moving on, make breakthroughs less and less frequently… Sound familiar? 
The truth is that practicing things in a way that achieves the maximum possible results in the shortest possible time, must be done very specifically.
Most of the time when we think about the brain, we hear about neurons more than anything else, right? But when it comes to practice, there’s a different type of brain matter that’s WAY more important. It’s called myelin. 
When we practice something, we stimulate neural pathways. Those pathways are then wrapped in this substance called myelin, and this wrapping happens more rapidly the more the pathways are stimulated.
Myelin wrapping insulates the neural pathway, meaning the electrical signal is transported with less wastage, resulting in a much clearer signal. 
It happens most effectively when we’re stimulating the right pathways in the right state. This state happens when we’re operating at a level beyond our current ability.

Learning things insanely fast can be replicated

Going back to the musical instrument example, imagine learning a song that you don’t know how to play, with notes or chords that you’re not comfortable with yet, and a rhythm that you’re struggling to get right. Sounds pretty hard, right? 
You play a bit, make a mistake, go back, try again, slow it down, go back, mess it up, start again, get a bit more right, mess it up, slow it down again, start again… it’s frustrating right?
This zone of heightened focus outside our comfort zones stimulates a whole load of neural pathways at once, and causes the wrapping of myelin (myelination) around them all at once.
More myelin on a neural pathway means that we can move our bodies with more precision, remember chords more easily, get the rhythm right subconsciously, and so on. 
In the example above, when we start to get better at the song what do we naturally wanna do? Play it again and again, because we’re good at it now, and we’re happy that we can play it now! 
But once we know how to play it, the rate of myelination massively decreases because we’re not in a heightened state of deep practice anymore. 

So what’s the solution?

To get back into a state of deep practice by pushing outside your comfort zone again and learning the next thing.

Repeating this process again and again means rapid myelination, and a lightning fast increase in skill over time.

If you’ve ever seen someone trying to learn something but they were rubbish, and then just a few months later you see them again and they’re basically a pro… it’s because of this principle of deep practice, and the effects of myelin.

Recognise that the space where you’re struggling, frustrated, and having to focus insanely hard to get something right, is the point of maximum possible increase in skill. Most of us try and avoid it, we practice what we’re more comfortable with because we can do it better and we think we’ll get a better result that way.

But instead we need to cherish that state where we can’t quite do “the thing” yet. Welcome it, strive for it, pursue it… Because that state will utterly transform you the longer you can stay within it.

Knowing that myelin exists and knowing how it works, will change the way that you develop skills for ever. If you want to read an awesome book about this which goes into way more detail and strategy, read “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle.

Tony Robbins recommends it too. It’ll change your life.

Have a great week,