How to become better at a skill

. 2 min read

Here at Worth in Progress we firmly believe that the key to happiness and meaning in life is constant progress - making yourself better and developing your capabilities to forge the best possible version of yourself. You live according to the principles you've chosen for yourself, you control your behavior and your emotions as you please, and you reach a high level in the skills of your choice.

But how do you know if you're going in the right direction? How can you know if you're on the path to become the best programmer, tailor, butler, writer, surgeon, sudoku maker, public speaker, in the world?

While supposedly no one becomes the best overnight, it can happen over a longer period of time (say, ten to fifty years) - so it's perfectly doable. You just have to know you're progressing in your skill instead of regressing.

And how do you know you're progressing?

You know you're progressing in your skill if practicing that skill is a constant struggle.

Meaning, when you immerse yourself in the activity the skill entails, you have a problem after problem and you spend your time solving those problems - making errors and mistakes and correcting them - that no day goes by that you didn't have to strain yourself to figure things out.

Because how could you be progressing if the task were easy? You would only be using the knowledge you already had, without gaining anyting new.

It's, in a way, about compound interest. In the beginning, you don't know how to solve anything, but you force yourself to find an answer, and that little tool in your box allows you to attempt to solve a bigger problem - which you cannot actually solve as it is, but have to force yourself to think about it, and when you finally solve it, it adds another tool, a bigger or handier tool, that you can use later. And so on.

Embrace the struggle. Accept failure as crucial part of the process of progressing. Grind the crap out of it.

One day, you'll be the best in the world.