I’ve just finished one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read and I strongly urge you to buy a copy. The book is called “Micromastery – Learn Small, Learn Fast and Find the Hidden Path to Happiness” by Robert Twigger.
In the book Robert promotes the benefits of constantly learning specific skills with an area of interest to you e.g. learn how to make the perfect soufflé instead of simply learning to be a cook, or learning how to lay a brick wall instead of just learning how to build.
By taking on a specific measurable skill within an area of interest and then constantly learning new skills in other areas you switch your pre-set learning mode to “ON” instead of the default “OFF” that most adults stick with after they leave school and get a job in a set area of expertise. Instead of specialising the rest of your life and doing the same thing day in day out, Robert proposes that the path to true happiness is to have side projects that interest you and give you that spark to get up out of bed each morning.
I’ve chosen the following 3 Micromastery skills to learn in the coming months (these first 3 are borrowed from the book):
1. Home brew a super tasty Pale Ale beer 3.8% or under using the All GrainMethod.
2. Make Sushi from scratch that tastes great.
3. Bake a sourdough loaf to be proud of.
Robert gives a great 6 point template for learning and maintaining interest in a new skill:
1. Know and learn the “Entry Trick” – the one tip or trick that makes mastering the new skill easier e.g. with intermittent fasting (especially in the first 2 -3 weeks) it helps to start your day with a “Bulletproof Coffee” as this gives you a little energy to last until lunch. After this initial period you can switch to black coffee as your body is used to fasting at that point.
2. Acknowledge the “Rub-Pat” – this is the tricky part of the new skill where 2 sub-skills required to gain micromastery rub against each other e.g. with intermittent fasting it is much easier if you have had a good night’s sleep but sometimes not eating after dinner depletes your glycogen levels which may make you wake in the middle of the night. Knowing this ahead can allow you to adjust your dinner to include a tablespoon of honey (which tops up your glycogen levels a little). If you eat too much honey though you will only enter Ketosis later the next day – so it’s a balancing act.
3. Identify Background Support required – every skill requires outside support in the form of tools or other people e.g. when home brewing beer it helps to ferment in a stainless steel or glass fermenter as it reduces any risk of plastic taint from a plastic vessel. It can also help to join a home brew club to exchange ideas and ask questions.
4. Recognise the visible payoff – you should only learn new skills where the visible payoff is enticing to you as this is the part that makes learning that new skill worthwhile and allows you to solider on e.g. making great sushi will be enjoyable to eat and will earn praise from others when you serve it up to fellow sushi lovers.
5. Find a way to make the skill repeatable – this way you will want to do it time and time again with the goal of improving e.g. when learning to brew an American Pale Ale at or under 3.8% you can try different recipes until you hit upon the ideal brew for your taste buds. As the term “Pale Ale” encompasses both Old World British Pale ales and New World American Pale Ales there is a wide menu to choose from.
6. Look for experimental opportunities – this is essential to make the skill interesting and provide the inspiration to continue improving e.g. with sushi making you can use different sushi rices, different fillings and even make different dipping sauces.
So my advice to stay happy and engaged with life is to pick up a new hobby and keep learning in an area or set of areas that interests you.