The following excerpt came from an article published by investment firm that I subscribe to. It contains six (6) steps used by their analyst development program and can easily be applied to anything you do- even adjusting claims. Consequently, the lessons here are universal and carry an ageless quality to them.
I hope you will enjoy the following information as much as I did:
6 Building Blocks to Becoming a Master
1. A Growth Mindset: Psychology professor Carol Dweck ran an experiment on elementary school students identified as helpless by school personnel. Half the students were trained to see insufficient effort as the cause of their struggles and were encouraged to keep going, while the control group was given no such guidance. Those who were encouraged learned to persist in the face of failure and actually developed their intelligence, while the control group showed no improvement at all. Takeaway: If we want to improve, we have to believe that we can improve.
2. Effortful Study: Do what you know, and your abilities will reach a plateau. In contrast, taking on challenges just beyond your core competence helps you develop mastery. In my case, this meant studying the master investors and reverse-engineering their successes and failures. Legendary investor Charlie Munger has said that learning the key points in all the major academic disciplines is of great benefit to investors. We need to partake in effortful study on a regular basis, and I try to devote at least one hour per day to my studies.
3. Deliberate Practice: It's not enough to sit back and read The Wall Street Journal or watch CNBC. You have to dig in to become a better investor, studying businesses and determining their prospects. A great tool for this is the Fool's free CAPS service, where you make calls on whether a stock will outperform the S&P 500 and track how your calls do over time. Another great tool is Stock Advisor's member discussion boards, where you can share ideas and get feedback that helps you adjust and improve your process. Just remember to study your successes and failures so you learn what's working and how to avoid repeating your mistakes.
4. Self-Awareness: To become a master, you must be humble enough to identify your own weaknesses, strengths, and natural tendencies. Improve upon your weaknesses so they don't destroy you, and then focus on developing your strengths. After all, your strengths are your competitive advantage — they give you an edge. It's vital to identify them early and spend as much time as possible bolstering them.
5. Motivation: Without your inner drive, everything I've just talked about is worthless. That's why you'll see amazingly talented No. 1 draft picks fail miserably in the NFL, while some less gifted, undrafted players work their way to the Hall of Fame. Even the most talented people will fail if they don't have the motivation, desire, and work ethic required to succeed.
6. Time: You don't become an expert overnight. Research has shown it takes 10 years or 10,000 hours of disciplined practice to become a master — and performance is often proportional to time spent practicing. In a study of 20-year-old violinists by psychology professor K. Anders Ericsson, the best group (as judged by conservatory teachers) averaged 10,000 hours of practice over their lives; the next-best averaged 7,500 hours; and the next after that, 5,000. Here at Stock Advisor, we value experience when evaluating a company's management team, and investing alongside leaders with long-term track records of success is a key part of our investment process.
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