Micro Creates The Macro- 4 Little Things That Help You Learn Anything Faster!


The number 1 question I would say I get has to do with frequency and intensity of training when you’re trying to learn something quickly so I want to address that question in this post.

First off I am all about the MED (minimum effective dose), start small and do just enough to get the job done- there is no need to be aggressive for no reason.

I recently found myself binge reading Tools For Titans- Tim Ferriss’s new book which is a goliath coming in at over 600 pages it straight looks like a bible. Put it this way, when not reading it, it can dub as a defensive weapon to ward off enemies…

In case you have no idea who the hell Tim Ferris is or the book, he is really well known investor, best selling author (guy who wrote 4 hr work week, 4hr chef, 4 hour body) and so naturally he has some friends who are out there doing huge things in the world.

The book is basically notes from over 200 high performers, billionaires, and luminaries he has interviewed on his podcast.

Now why I am talking about this book and the people profiled in it is because there was in fact a ton of micro (small things) that were consistently done in both the book and by those in the book that I want to share with you that will help you learn faster, retain more information and pack on skills fast!

Now there is some fancy science talk explaining these principles like the Law of Averages, Von Restorff effect and Primacy and recency effects! Those further more piggy back on neuroscience specifically Neuroplasticity which helps wire new neural networks with frequency.

That might have made 0 sense and that’s ok, if you want to Google around on those more feel free, I talk about Neuroplasticity quite a bit on the blog here if you want to dig around on that.

Here is what that means in basic English.

#1 Train often- Go with lower amounts of time in your training sessions and do them often vs trying to cram it all in at one time. Funny thing about the whole cramming philosophy is yes in studies they found retention was higher for the following few days but due to the lack of neuronetwork the information didn’t stick long term. So again yes that does work, many of us have those fond memories from high school and college cramming for exams the day before but it’s worse to do it that way vs a little each day.

Every time you touch the information it builds up the memory, making the recall and integration deeper and deeper.

Something we do in all the live training is we break everything down into sessions with breaks in between. The ideal length of time you may ask?

There is nothing proven here but there are a few studies that were done on musicians and military which seem to indicate that 90 minute windows of work or study work the best followed by a 15-20 minute break so I have followed that now for years and it works well.

The Pomodoro technique which is touted as a productivity framework works off 20-25 minute windows followed by 10-15 minute breaks.

I personally never liked this because it’s not taking into consideration FLOW state which can take that amount of time to get into deeply and then the break would pull you back out so I am not a fan of that technique. Not sure why it’s so popular actually.

#2 Micro Habits- Break down all the mechanical pieces involved in learning whatever skill you’re chasing after and take those each and work on just that until that becomes a habit aka second nature (it’s quick to recall, don’t have to really consciously think about it anymore, you just do it and react that way)

I already broke down a real world example of the mechanics of drifting here you can check out. It will be different for every topic/skill of course but it’s doable with anything.

Also by breaking down the big goal of learning something new you have all the positive psychological triggers hitting every time you get these little wins. That keeps you going, they have found this when researchers looked at what kept people committed to a new fitness routine vs falling off the wagon.

All those little mental wins, positive chemical cocktails being released each time adds up to more confidence and faster proficiency due to the combination of skill and confidence.

This rolls us right into the third and spoils it…

#3 Micro Wins- Use this system of setting up micro goals vs focusing on the big overall goal. Again this will help fuel you, it’s easier to remember why you started and will hit you with little endorphin kicks every time you go across that finish line. Taking things step-by-step like this eventually leads you to your end goal which is much bigger.

By setting these little milestones it will also help you spot mistakes and where things are going wrong which you could be doing over and over. In the macro you would never notice this but you absolutely will when those things stop you from hitting a milestone.

This whole idea of breaking things down into pieces help you to really deconstruct the learning process itself and that will help you apply that down the road which is my bigger goal with all this. I want to give you the tools so you can ultimately create your own full process that works for you as an individual.

#4 Post Game Analysis- I talked about this before in another blog post here but the concept is simple. You have to stop and review what you just did from time to time, look over the game tape so-to-say and see where you did great and what you’re missing still.

I would suggest you film as much of your learning process as possible so you can look at small things like your facial expressions to body reactions and tightness you might be holding here or there and of course the macro which is how you did overall.

This will also allow you to have others review and look it over to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

When it comes to learning most people overcompensate with pride to cover up insecurities and uncomfortable feelings they may get from being out on a limb learning something new. So we like to act like we know it all, we close off from new information coming in and that makes it hard to grow fast!

You want to see where you’re making the same mistakes, doing the same actions that aren’t leading you to the outcome you want. Debriefing often allows you to see more and more of that. It’s ok to make mistakes but it’s best not to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

That’s it, those are 4 little things that will help you see BIG results in your learning efforts from here on out.

Would love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below.