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The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
Unconscious/automated skills are often
the cause of “intermediate blues”
Intermediate Blues
Time
Ability
Getting stuck here even when we’re still
trying
to
improve often means there’s an automated skill
that MUST change for us to move forward.
Expert ski instructor Lito Tejedas-
Flores has been helping people break
out of the “intermediate blues” for
more than two decades. He found
that the secret to breaking through
to advanced and expert skiing is
about changing just one specic
previously-automated skill. One.
By the time most people are skiing
at intermediate level, this particular
skill is usually unconscious, fully
automated, deeply locked-in. Fixing
it means rst bringing it back to
conscious “inspection” so we can
then do the hard work of actually
changing it. (Hint: it’s about weight shift)
Example
If you’re helping people get better
at ANY physical activity, sport,
etc. you might want to watch the
Breakthrough on Skis videos.
104
The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
Another reason to de-automate skills:
Use it or lose it is a myth.
Using it is not enough.
Time
Ability
This takes work just to maintain
Skills you USE but no longer
consciously work on will
deteriorate over time. Even if
you use those skills every day!
If you don’t use a skill for a while it becomes rusty. But what
about skills you do use every day? Many professionals, for
example, reach a level of expertise and think, “I can nally quit
practicing and now just use my hard-earned skills.
But something scary happens.
The skills we use but don’t consciously practice can slowly
deteriorate, even if we’re using them every day. The phrase
“use it or lose it” is misleading. “Using it” is not enough.
A B C
A
Skills left automatic/
unconscious for too long can
slowly degrade no matter how
often we use them.
105
The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
This is how experts build expertise
Experts (i.e. those who perform in a superior way, more
reliably, in a representative task in the domain) build skills
from Cant do to Mastered.
Experts never stop adding new skills.
Experts build skills both consciously and unconsciously.
Experts rene existing skills.
A B C
Can’t do
Can do
with effort
Mastered
reliable / automatic
STILL doesn’t answer the question...
ANYONE can follow this framework,
but not everyone becomes badass.
106
The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
Those who became experts did two key things
differently than experienced non-experts.
Now we have the right question:
Given this framework, what did experts do differently from
experienced non-experts who followed the same framework?
(And how can we help our users do this?)
The rst one wont be a big surprise...
107
The Challenge What Experts Do
Science of Badass Building Skills
Experts practiced better
The rst common attribute across all domains in which people
become badass is this: experts practice better.
Those who became experts practiced more effectively than
experienced non-experts with the same amount of practice hours.
What we think:
What’s actually true:
natural
talent
Sorry, but NO.
I
practiced forever at piano and it didn’t make
me
amazing. It REALLY can’t be just “they practiced more.
practiced
practiced
practiced

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