The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

The Art of Learning - Josh WaitzkinJosh, an early childhood Chessmaster, was distracted by the public attention after the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer came out. He delved into Buddhist teachings including the Tao De Ching in an effort to get back to deep thought.

Josh speaks of flow, that tunnel vision you get when you are operating (or playing)  without thinking. In fact, one attempt to think might actually disrupt your flow. Everything you’ve learned leading up to expertise would require dissecting your thoughts.

Confidence is key to get to the top level, but overconfidence is killer.

There are two types of learning entity versus incremental. Hate to see things fixed mindset like “I’m smart.” Incremental thinks “I worked very hard at it.”

Children who associate success with hard work can’t respond to the pressure. Those who don’t crumble. Children link success and failure to ingrained ability based on the way to parents describe his aptitude. Incremental and continuous learners associate success with effort and feel they can become good at anything with hard work.

Those with entity mindsets are like anorexic rubs, starving themselves to avoid having to grow to find a new shell.

Mental resilience is arguably the most important trait of a world class performer. Being able to block out attempt to distract the performer is the sign of a great competitor and one with mental toughness.

Tai chi is the study of martial arts that involves nonresistance. One a big strong athletic man enters the tai chi Jojo and gets pushed their reaction is to either brace for impact or pushback. But in order to do it correctly, they must remove their ego and learn the subtle art of nonresistance.

Many students fear releasing old habits and as a result, they don’t learn. They fear stripping away their ego.

What makes people great it’s not wins or losses but the willingness to put oneself on the line to achieve greatness.

One of the keys to learning is to understand the detailed minutia of the micro in order to gain and reach the goal of the macro.

The problem with this with our attention deficit disorder culture constantly seeking a new channel to surf and information to gather only seeing the shallows surface of the ocean rather than a deep abyss below. Invest in depth not breadth.

Instead of focusing on the 500-page paper, start with the left corner brick on the face of the opera house from the book Zen and the Art of motorcycle maintenance.

Use adversity and injury as an opportunity for improvement. If you hurt your right arm learn to use your left and this will make you stronger.

In battle, one opponent is highly aware of the others cues and mental text. Battle extends far beyond the ring. So when you are engaged with a highly trained negotiator or lawyer or salesperson, be aware.

What separates the best from the mediocre is the ability to remain cool and calm under pressure.

What are the traits of a world-class performer is their ability to recover and take relaxation periods during critical moments in play. Michael Jordan would be relaxed on the sidelines, Pete Sampras would pick his tennis racket strings in between big points, almost unconsciously.

Developing a routine to trigger your high performance of mine said prior to play, giving a presentation, or entering a business meeting is critical. This routine can mean anything meditation, listening to music, or stretching.