We all want to get better at our favorite sports, effectively manage our money and handle our responsibilities as effectively as possible. On the other side of that same coin, very few actually construct a plan at refining or improving whatever it is they’re doing. As a kid, when I wanted to get better a football or a particular video game, I just played it more. As a young adult, I learned to drive a car and just continued to do so with the assumption that “I’ll just get better as I do it more.
Action Without a Plan is Meaningless – Hatake Kakashi
Three Life changing Principles
- (MED) Minimum Effect Dose – What is the least you can do for maximum results?
- Reflection – How do I look doing what I’m doing to others? What do people honestly think of me when they see me performing a certain task? Can I record and review and spot my failure points?
- Dissection – What are the 80/20 of what I’m trying to learn? What are the truly important elements of success at this specific thing?
Putting these principles together in the right sequence is essential, but there’s a prerequisite.
The Scientific Method of Problem Solving
Before we get to the shortcuts above, we first need to utilize this one root principle.
The scientific method is a simple of problem solving:
State the Problem – A problem can’t be solved if it isn’t understood.
Form a Hypothesis – This is a possible solution, your guess to the problem formed after gathering some basic information about the problem. This is basic research.
Test the Hypothesis – This is where you use whatever information you gathered and put it to the test against opposing information and similar test.
Collect the Data – This is where you record your observations, measurements, or information from experiment.
Analyze the Data – Just what does all that data indicate about answering the problem you are solving?
Draw Conclusions – After examining the data from the experiment, conclusions can be drawn. In it’s simplest form, the conclusion will be “yes” the hypothesis was correct, or “no” the hypothesis was not correct. From that point on, you can draw a new hypothesis (assumption) and move forward through these steps again.
Putting all the Principles Together
Principles are laws that govern our lives. When we put them together in an effective sequence, it looks something like this.
I want to lose weight. That’s my problem. I read up on a bunch of material related to weight loss. I start with the biochemistry and actual bodily function, then I’ll spread out into looking at diets that promote that biochemical reaction.
Next I’ll form an assumption and select a diet or lifestyle change that I feel is appropriate based on the information I have gathered. Now, I’ll test this by researching if there is any information about the plan or protocol I decided to go with testing. I’ll gather that information and test it while carefully keeping records of my progress, road bumps and setbacks.
Finally, I’ll put all the information together and come up with a conclusion. When I have the conclusion, I can now adjust my lifestyle to the above principles of mastery.
In terms of MED (Minimum effect dose) I would search for the minimum quantity or effort required to gain maximum results. Not because I’m lazy, but because I want to prevent waste and maximize efficiency. In the case for weight loss, I may find that reducing carbohydrates and refined sugar was the key factor for my weight loss. The MED there could be the amount of carbohydrates I need to reduce to begin promoting weight loss. Let’s say I reduce my intake to 20 grams a day and start seeing significant weight loss, but then bump my daily intake to 50 grams and still achieve the same rate of weight loss.
At that point, it appear that going that low is unnecessary for me. To really find my minimum effect dose, I’ll need to gradually increase my intake by small increments until I hit my threshold. That way I’ll have a more accurate measurement of my tolerance and MED.
Reflection is simple, but organizing it is a bit tricky. Yes, of course you can reflect on your methods and results freely, but having a system of doing so is less wasteful. The system can be as simple as creating a series of questions, (could be as little as 3) to ask yourself each week. You can ask yourself questions like “what are my biggest distractions/setbacks? What one change can I make this week that can help me improve my results next week? Is there anything I can subtract that will still give me the same results, yet make my life easier?”
Questions are one way, numbers are another. You can easily record your weight, body measurements and timeline as a way to keep track and give you data to reflect upon.
Dissecting is another one of those fantastic principles because in a way, it’s linked to all the rest. Dissecting is a great way to find out your MED because it requires you to break down your goal into actionable steps. What I mean by that is when you dissect a car, you’d pull apart the wheels, seats, engine, transmission, steering wheel, etc. Breaking down all the parts of the hole, then putting them together carefully can help you get rid of a lot of waste.
For example, in basketball, there are a few variable that emerge when we dissect the sport. Dribbling, shooting, running, passing, and defending. When we break the sport down into all it’s elements, we can now create a plan for improving at each are. Not only that, but we can give more weight to different pieces of the sport. For example, dribbling might be more important to learn than passing because without proper dribbling, your speed and agility is compromised as a player. Poor mobility can lead to worse running, passing, etc. That means that dribbling can be assigned more weight overall than lets say something like defending, which your team mates can help you with.
Dissecting each variable and weighing them can help you approach the task with more control and clearer precision.
Once you put all these life principles together, you’ll be able to master anything.