What follows is the one pager 0f the Meta-Learning chapter of Tim Ferriss Four Hour Chef (the first part of CaFE is one-paging whatever you’re learning).
It’s forming the foundation of my Mindset & Skill Acquisition Method, and I’ll be putting it to the test in the next few months with an experiment to learn surfing (which I'll be updating about on eddyazar.com).
You can get the full chapter and method notes here.
“It is possible to become worldclass in just about anything in six months or less. Armed with the right framework, you can seemingly perform miracles” – Tim Ferriss
“Students are subordinate to materials…Material beats method.” – Tim Ferriss
“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.” – Alice Waters, founder of Chef Panissee
Break the skill down into bite-sized pieces & identify all failure points and all fundamental principles.
Find and interview the pros (especially the unconventional pros) in the field, and find out what they do in common, what trips beginners up, how they would teach you, their fav learning resources, other unconventional pros, etc.
“Do as little as possible, not as much as possible” – Henk Kraaijenhof
“Simple works. Complex fails.” – Tim Ferriss
Find the MED (Minimum Effective Dose) you need to learn this skill. What teaches overall principles well? What micro-skills are used throughout the skill?
MED = “The lowest volume, the lowest frequency, the fewest changes that get us to our desired result is what I label the minimal effective dose (MED)”
“How do you cut time without cutting corners?” – Tim Ferriss
What is the best order in which to learn? How can you avoid all the tripping points and learn all the fundamental principles and micro-skills? How can you make sure you’ll stick with it?
What rewards or punishments can you put in place that will ensure you will follow through? People counting on you? Money on the line?
“The word decision, closely related to incision, derives from the meaning ‘a cutting off’. Making effective decisions – and learning effectively – requires massive elimination and the removal of options.” – Tim Ferriss
Fit the entire skill on one page.
When & how often should you practice? What is the ideal schedule that you’ll stick to?
Use Mnemonics and memory techniques to remember things.
You can get all 5 pages of my notes on this chapter, and on DiSSS and CaFE, here. (’tis free)
Good luck with the surfing!
It's something I've always wanted to get better at myself.
Question from a reader -
"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." So how do you weigh learning vs. action? (implementation).
I've had great potential all my life.. but wasted it from being unfocused or a lack of discipline. Also I love learning.. too much. Too much information can quickly be paralyzing. I love the internet marketing niche. I have gone the whole 4 hour work week, Education of Millionaires, Uncollege type route. I've had success.. my own website.. and recently the launch of my own course. Recently I've been following a paleo style diet.. walking everyday and working out three times a day. I'm starting to use TimeDoctor and I plan to build a time diary fashioned off of yours. I sincerely appreciate any response or help. Take care.
D, I get this question sometimes.
Leo Babuta recently blogged about Achieving Without Goals reminding me of the discussion he had with Tim Ferris (Tim Ferriss vs. Leo Babauta Showdown: On Whether Goals Suck) with Tim playing the pro-goal devil's advocate. I believe, and as they touch on in the discussion, that this is a false dichotomy.
Leo's post reignited my own internal debate on this subject. On the one hand, I am very satisfied and feel productive when I spend my day on a self-imposed schedule consisting of daily habits and goals. On the other hand, the idea of wandering, being open and of following my intuition and inspiration very much appeals to me and is my ideal lifestyle.
The downside of the structured, goal-oriented route, is that I very rarely can achieve all that I plan to do and when I am not on my schedule (which is most of the time) I feel frustrated and dissatisfied. The downside of unstructured wandering is that you may succumb to passive entertainments and default routines rather than remain in a spirit of curiosity and openness.
Of course, neither path is the "right" path, as implicit in Tim and Leo's discussion. They both rely on aspects of the opposing approach to balance their main approach. Leo, for example, uses guiding principles or values as a loose structure in his goal-less approach.
What is largely missing from this discussion, and ironically most self-development approaches, is the recognition that approaches should change and develop progressively. You can play a guitar solo without any training (unstructured approach), but your range of expression with be quite limited. However, after much practice (structured approach), the expressiveness of your solo will be much greater. The structured foundation of practice supports and enriches the unstructured expression.