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How to Learn and Master Any New Skill

trumpet practice

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” – William Ernest Henley

When it comes to excelling and gaining mastery of a certain skill, it’s not an easy process.

It takes years and years of consistent deliberate practice to shape and mold our mental and physical capabilities.

The problem most people experience a season in their life where after growing like crazy, they begin to become complacent, which leads to a slow fade and drift.

It’s at this point they plateau.

These plateaus are often when people give-up. Some eventually get stuck and never recover. The “going gets tough” and the challenges are greater than expected.

Growth becomes illusive and we assume it’s the end of the road toward our potential.

The results don’t come fast enough so we believe it’s not meant to be. We have reached our perceived limits.

However, this isn’t how growth works. It is about continuing to make progress and staying focused even when we encounter challenges and plateaus.

Numerous sources reveal that anyone can gain expertise if they’re willing to put in the time and effort.

In the book Bounce, author Matthew Syed explains that the best athletes, musicians, and artists are not born into the world with phenomenal talent, but instead have put in extensive amounts of time practicing and refining their craft.

They practice, practice, practice, and practice some more.

But a major component of this practice is learning from mistakes and correcting these errors.

We can call this deliberate practice! 

According to Daniel Goleman from his book Focus, “Hours and hours of practice are necessary for great performance, but not sufficient. How experts in any domain pay attention while practicing makes a crucial difference. For instance, in his much-cited study of violinists — the one that showed the top tier had practiced more than 10,000 hours — Ericsson found the experts did so with full concentration on improving a particular aspect of their performance that a master teacher identified.”

Getting to new heights requires hard work and practice.

If you want to learn a new skill or become better at a certain aspect of your life, you must deliberately practice!

Your behavioral patterns and abilities are based on your past learning and experiences. They aren’t set in stone. You just have to start practicing the changes you want to make.

We are all able to keep growing and developing!

Neuroscience proves that “old dogs can learn new tricks.” You’re brain changes with new experiences, and little by little your capabilities, skills, and behaviors become associated with the new way of doing things.

If you want to be better don’t get complaisant! Keep deliberately practicing the skills and habits you want to learn and develop.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to gain the grit needed to make change and achieve your goals check out my ecourse called Becoming Unstoppable!

How to Learn and Master Any New Skill

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2014). How to Learn and Master Any New Skill. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Aug 2014
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