The Art of Learning Podcast with Josh Waitzkin and Tim Ferriss

theArtOfLearning
Maybe you are familiar with the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer.”

That movie is based on a young world class chess player who went on to become world class in martial arts as well (Tai Chi).

That person is Josh Waitzkin and he is an expert at learning at a very high level.

The guy interviewing him is Tim Ferriss, who is a self help guru, but Tim is more about how to get from “zero to competent” with the least amount of effort possible. (80/20 principle).

But Josh is more about how to reach that top .01 percent, how to go from being an expert to being world class, or even the best in the world.

Josh also took his learning skills in chess and martial arts and took them to the finance world in helping people who manage billions of dollars.

You can find the podcast here on Tim’s website.

Among other things, they discuss:

* Input creep and how that destroys your creative process. Wake up, check email, check voicemail, check phone, etc. Bad routine, this is a reactive lifestyle. They suggest instead: Wake up, skip all of the inputs, then unleash the creative mind on that task that your subconscious mind has been pouring over all night while you slept.

* How to nurture the creative process. “Unlearning.”

* Addiction to a past position in your experience, how to evaluate the present in a clean way to make best decision (avoid the sunk cost fallacy).

* How to meditate in order to create from an original place, rather than just reacting to the world.

* Ending your work day with high quality in order to carry that theme forward, start out strong tomorrow, subconsciously program that quality approach, etc.

* Meditation plus interval training, learning how to turn on and off your creative juices at will. They hint at the idea that simply watching the breath is perhaps the most powerful form of meditation and anyone can do this right now.

* Using meditation to channel fear, use the fear as power.

* Using meditation to observe your addictive relationships in your brain, the way your brain gets addicted to certain topics, things, etc.

* How “armchair philosophers” get it wrong when it is most important, and the actual people who achieve excellence often have a counter-intuitive process (discipline, hard work, love).

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So I have not necessarily achieved “excellence” in my life, but I have accomplished a few things (built a business, ran a few marathons, etc.) and I would say that when I was engaged in a process with these things, I find that I am in agreement with the concepts that they are discussing here in this podcast. For example, when building up a huge website I seriously reduced my “input creep” and would not even check my email or turn on my cell phone sometimes until my writing was finished for the day. Thus I trained myself to become a fast and prolific writer, and today I am able to “turn it on and off” just by sitting down at the computer. I never sit down and freeze up any more, because I went through this process where it was almost like I taught myself how to force creativity. I taught myself how to write on command, how to flip the juices on, and a big part of doing that was eliminating inputs.

I mastered this process by doing it first thing in the morning. I would outline an article that I wanted to create at bedtime, right before going to bed. Then I would wake up, grab my coffee, and within ten minutes of waking up I was pounding out an article. Looking back now I realize that I was using some of their ideas that they discuss–some quick planning at the end of the work day, let it percolate overnight, then wake up and get right to the most creative task of the day while eliminating inputs (no email or cell phone until writing is done).

Anyway if you are looking for a way to get to that next level, or if you want to master the creative process yourself, I recommend that you go check out this podcast.

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