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Notes on How to Cram 2 Months of Learning into 1 Day

Last year I listened to Josh’s audio book, The Art Of Learning. It was a good listen but I found it quite long, with the key points drawn out.

This morning (28th June 2019) on my dog walk, I listening to Tim Ferris’ latest podcast, which featured Josh Waitzkin, 15 years on since writing his book. I found this to be very short, succinct and useful to gain an insight of Josh’s learning methods and ability to focus. Below are my notes I made along the way.


Heart Rare Variability (HRV) training has been a core method for measuring and improving performance throughout Josh’s Career.

Meditation has been a key part of Josh’s life since he was 18.

Use trigger training to get in the zone before any activity by attaching your peak performance in practice to a trigger like a few beats of a song or a breathe.

Use technology to learn your somatic state and where you are. Sometimes you don’t know you are slipping and need a gentle nudge. Like meditation, sometimes don’t realise you have slipped out of focus until you are a 2/10 on the focus ruler. Technology will allow you to realise at 9/10.

Structure your day proactively over reactively to optimise for learning and focus. Leave time for thinking and reflecting. Don’t squeeze it in on your walk to work.

End your day strong. The last few turns of the ski run are the most important.

Think about the most important question (MIQ) in what you are doing at the end of your day. Then, first thing in the morning, before you check Twitter (pre-input), brainstorm on it. Riff out some notes & ideas on Evernote or whatever you fancy.

Hemingway writes about this technique. He used to leave an open and unfinished sentence at the end of each day, which leaves a sense of direction. Afterward, he would drinking wine and relax, waking up in the morning with a clear idea of where to go next.

Before going to the bathroom, pose yourself a question and don’t check your phone. Try to answer this question before you leave. This trains you to focus on what matters most.

Over time you can check the MIQ gaps. What seemed like the most important then and now. Use the gaps to measure & improve your analyst & decision making skills.

Ideas for posing questions MIQ questions through-out the day:

  • “Do I intuitively feel like this is an ethical person”
  • “What is the biggest lesson to take out of this practice session”

Get into the rhythm of waking up with the solution.

Most people in business are always operating at an intensity of a 6/10. This is fatiguing and prevents you from opertaing at 10/10 when it’s important. The best martial artists are the most relaxed before a fight but the most intense during a fight. Similar to how relaxed a boxer is before a punch. With an undulating state of relaxed to intense.

Learn to say no and focus on your goal.

Make your goal is virtuosity. Train as if you were training for a world championship, even if you aren’t.

Getting away from the noise gives you more clarity and focus. In David Wallaces’ speech, “This is Water”, he highlights that fish don’t know what water is because they are always in it. We need clarity and head space in order to stand 3000 feet above our lives to understand and learn what matters most.

What matters most relates to self expression and why use self expression to make a good life. Josh’s idea of a good life is having unobstructed self expression.

It’s very easy to follow other people’s models but it can be disastrous. We are all different. Don’t live in someone else’s model, create your own. The art of self introspection is very important for developing your own models.