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The more you practice the right moves, the deeper the memory path. The trick is to make the correct paths as deep as possible and to make the incorrect paths shallow or nonexistent.
The faster you perform a task, the more likely it is that you will make a mistake—unless, that is, you have cut only one path for it. A perfect one. Likewise, when you are performing a task under stress, it is easy to bungle it—unless you have no neurological way to screw it up.
The reason so many guitar students rush when they’re practicing, Roberts said, is that they are fixated on completing a piece rather than on performing it well. They figure that the sooner they can pretty much get it right, the better they are doing. But the truth is quite different.
I used to make the same mistake with jiujitsu. Whenever I was learning a new move, I tried to do it quickly. I had the mistaken notion that speed was an indication of competence. Instead of practicing each part of the movement slowly and with precision, I rushed to complete the entire thing. I was able to do it, but sloppily.
AT—a fellow jiujitsu student who started learning at the same time
Step 3: Develop Wealthy Habits 75
UNDERSTANDING THE FOUR LEVELS OF LEARNING
There are probably a dozen levels of learning. But these four—broadly defined—may help you discover problems in the way you learn (or teach) things now.
1. Telling it. Teachers convey their knowledge by explaining it. This method often provides the most ego gratification to the teachers and the most entertainment value to the students, but it is the teaching method that leaves the shallowest impression and is most easily forgotten.
2. Showing it. Teachers do more than talk in abstract terms. They demonstrate their knowledge. Sometimes they show pictures or diagrams of what they mean.These visual clues help reinforce what they say and clarify the little misunderstandings and confusion that easily arise when using only words. Both telling and showing students something make it much more likely that they will remember it.
3. Involving students. When teachers involve their students in the learning process by getting them to actually practice the skill, the learning deepens because all of their senses are involved. Students who have learned a skill by practicing it not only remember its principles and elements but also understand how it feels.
4. Letting students teach. The highest and final level of teaching is to supervise students in teaching others. We discover the limits of our knowledge—the gaps we need to fill in—only when we teach a skill.
Think of the learning (or teaching) you are doing now. Which of these methods are you using? Make a commitment to develop a program that involves all four levels: telling, showing, involving, and then letting the student teach.
Think of the learning you are doing now. Which of these methods are your teachers using? Make a commitment to get them to show you.
as I did but became much better much faster—always told me to slow down. Now I understand why. Most things worth learning are complex. That’s why we learn them in pieces. Whether it’s guitar playing, dancing, or building wealth, the ultimate performance is a complex combination of many simpler skills.
76 AUTOMATIC WEALTH
To make the performance perfect, you need to perfect each of those simpler skills. This is the basis of most effective learning systems.
The fundamental rule is this: Slow down . . . until you can practice the skill with perfect technique. Continue practicing perfectly and you will find that your speed will gradually increase without any effort on your part. Eventually, you will do it quickly and perfectly.
You will find that you can apply this rule to almost any skill and achieve the same good results. In your efforts to train yourself to become a wealth builder, you should keep this secret in mind. Becoming a master at wealth building is a little like becoming masterful at guitar playing or jiujitsu. Each requires knowledge and experience. Each involves learning skills. Each of these skills may be complex, but if you break them down into their basic elements—and practice each one slowly and perfectly—you will master them.
THE EIGHT HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL WEALTH BUILDERS
Early in my career, the time I spent thinking about money was strictly pragmatic: how to get it.
But then I started to think about wealth more analytically: what it is, how it’s created, and how it disappears. And so I’ve looked back at what I’ve done (both good and bad) and the lessons I’ve learned from others. And this is what I now believe: There is no one way to become rich. But there are a number of habits that some people develop that give them an almost supernatural ability to earn money and build wealth.
I’d say these people have the following characteristics in common:
1. They work hard.
2. They are good at what they do.
3. They have multiple streams of income.
4. They live in (relatively) inexpensive homes.