Reading "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman.

3 Key Ways To Improve Anything (I Think)

I run Mattmade and everything that goes with it out of my home, and shipping the items that I sell is obviously a huge part of it, which again, is out of my home. With that in mind, I was recently selected to participate in a program for Canada Post to help improve their shipping services. The program was downtown and while getting ready this morning, I decided that it made more sense to take the subway rather than drive (Between Toronto morning traffic, parking downtown and all that stuff, I wasn’t into it).

With about an hour and a half of commute time, I could either bring my Nintendo Switch or my tablet (So either games or reading). I haven’t soaked up a lot of reading aside from a few pages each night, so I grabbed my tablet.

I’m currently reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, a fascinating dive into the two systems of thought and it helps shed light on why we think the way we do in both the intuitive system and then the more logical system. Books like these don’t spell out obvious life lessons for you, but they help give you the tools to better understand why things the way they are and then you can go ahead and apply them to your life. I dig that stuff.

So between reading on the subway and assisting in a program to improve shipping services, I wanted to share 3 fundamental (and different) ways that I like to improve that maybe you can apply to something in your life, whether it’s a skill, a habit or routine, or something in your business. I hope it’s helpful.

Improve by Learning

It’s 2019, knowledge is basically up for grabs. Here are 5 ways that I learn something new:

  • The internet. Start with Google and YouTube. There are free courses and resources on mostly everything. Simply start by googling what you want to learn and subscribe to tutorial YouTube channels.
  • Books. Libraries aren’t just for kids. The Toronto Library (for example) shares all of its combined resources for anyone in the city. So if you need a book, ebook or audiobook, it’s available, you just may have to put a hold on it. I use Libby to listen to free audiobooks available in our library network for free.
  • Communities of expertise. Whether it’s a club in real life or simply a Facebook group. There are people who want to teach and others that want to learn. Tag along for the experience and when you know enough, pay it forward.
  • Friends. There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve got friends better than you at something. If that isn’t true, make a few new friends.
  • Go to the store. Whatever you want to learn, there’s a shop that specializes in it, and they usually have experts there. Want to get into nutrition? Visit a nutritional shop. They’re into it too. Want to learn about painting? Visit a craft store. You get the point.

Improving starts with wanting to do something better, so the list above is a good start. With all of the knowledge in the world, it’s no good if you don’t practice it though…

Improve by Doing

With little or no knowledge, you’ve got to try. If you don’t give something a shot, you’ll never get better. It’s like a fresh grad student thinking that they’re super good at business, but everything is theory until the rubber hits the road.

This is where you make mistakes, turn back to your notes and actually get better. Malcolm Gladwell references a theory that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on something in his book The Outliers, and Allen Gannett takes that a step further in his book The Creative Curve by noting it can take 10,000 hours of purposeful practice to be good at something. Gannett explains that when you work on something, you should mindfully improve and get better in perfecting your craft. These two books are both great reads by the way.

Improve by Getting Feedback

As you continuously try to better yourself, accept any and all feedback. Not all of it will be what you want to hear, and not all of it will be true but average out your feedback and take it into consideration as you are on the path to improving, learning something new or offering a new product or service into your business. After that, rinse and repeat.

Circling back to the Canada Post study that I was involved in today. As much as I complain about service or shipping costs, Canada Post is doing something right by asking their users for honest feedback on the tools that they’re offering. I can imagine the folks at Canada Post went through a similar process in improving their systems.

Now ask yourself…

How are you making changes and improving aspects of your life and business or side hustle?