Here’s a pretty potent idea I recently picked up from my friend Pat flynn’s upcoming book How to Be Better at (Almost) Everything (friends got advance copies!). Here it is, if you want to get better at something, you need to focus on “integration > isolation.”
What does that mean? It’s actually pretty simple once Pat explains it, even though most people do completely the opposite, and then wonder why they aren’t getting results. Keep in mind, this applies to anything, not just fitness.
Step 1: Get exceedingly clear on the outcome you want to accomplish.
Say this is playing a song on the guitar, Pat’s example. Well, rather than learning every technique you could on that musical instrument–every chord or scale or exercise–just focus on the specific techniques (that is, in this case, the specific chords) needed to achieve the goal.
Pat gives a great example. You don’t need to spend years mastering every jazz chord to play an AC/DC tune, and, in fact, doing so would be a huge waste of time. Focus solely the techniques needed to get the job done, and leave everything else aside. Integration > isolation. Go where the “bang for the buck” is, what are you trying to do…
Step 2: Pat says, you may still need to isolate some techniques to improve at them. Not everything can be played “up to speed” immediately. But the techniques you isolate should be the ones you can immediately integrate (the chords within the AC/DC song…Pat likes AC/DC by the way) toward the outcome you want to achieve. Lock in the skill you need to achieve that goal.
In other words, you may need to practice a specific chord slowly and separately at first (which is isolation) but you isolate an that chord precisely because you know that technique is necessary, or else it all falls short. See how this can branch out into other areas?
Why is this important?
Because people so often do the opposite when it comes to developing skills, including business skills and fitness skills. They spend years isolating all these various techniques, but then have no idea how to bring any of them together to produce an outcome, which is the very purpose of acquiring skill to begin with: To be able to do something!
It’s like people going into a gym and learning all kinds of different exercises, but never following a program that is designed to produce a certain, specific fitness result. Learn all the exercises you want, if they aren’t organized into a coherent and progressive plan, your results will always be lacking.
Essentially what Pat is saying, is this. Know what result you want (at least at the beginning – things may change as your progress), then once you figure out the best path to achieve it, learn just and only the techniques in that path. Everything else is distraction. Integration > Isolation is the secret to effective practice and planning sessions.
Pat explains all this and more in his book How to be Better at (Almost) Everything. You can pre-order this now, especially since Amazon still has it on sale for just $14 (versus the normal $22).
I believe in and have benefited from Pat’s work so much I hounded Jose to add in an offer from Value Prop as well.
- For the first 25 people who send us a copy of your purchase receipt/email and you will receive a complimentary copy of Value Prop or Strategic Propositions.
- If you buy 3 or more (really good gifts) you will receive a choice of book and a 20% discount for any one of Value Prop’s upcoming workshops (live or web)of your choice.
- Buy 10 or more copies, receive the same as 1 and 2, plus a 30 minute Value Prop coaching call with Jose AND Pat Flynn on any topic or issue around strategic marketing and sales.
Frank Michel and Jose Palomino