Challenging myself to be a pro at typing and developing a pitch-perfect ear

Written by Arindam Dawn

Jul 1, 2019

Takes about 6 minutes to read ⏱

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.” ― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

This is my first blog post on my personal website. Wow, I am finally doing what I used to think and procrastinate all these months and years. Have a personal website and share my experiences with the world. So last month I took out some time and started my technology blog (codecusp) where I write about things I know about technology as a developer in simple words. I took another step and purchased my personal domain and started off on a mission to overcome my fear of writing!

When it comes to writing and even most of the skills I know, I am the victim of the impostor syndrome wherein you think you can never be good at it and have this feeling of inadequacy. I beleive reading quality books and articles on medium have helped me a lot in overcoming the mental hurdles and giving things a try. I have realized that there was some problem with the way I learnt things and how most of us learn. There is actually something called Learning to Learn and believe me it’s a life-changing lesson and gift.

I decided to give myself two new and interesting challenges to achieve every month with the aim to develop a subsequent habit. I will also share my experiences and obstacles I come across and the materials that I use.

I am starting in the month of July 2019 and over the next year, I will try tracking my learning process each month and see how much I can achieve in a year.

The challenges I am taking up this month

This is the first month. So I am taking up two skills which are very dissimilar in nature but are the ones in my wishlist for quite some time.

I have thought about mastering this skill since college. Most of us who work on computers every day are quite good at typing but typing fluidly without noticing the keys makes you a pro and you can take your productivity to the next level.

Music is something which fascinates me a lot. During my childhood I got myself trained in Tabla (an Indian classical percussion instrument). I learnt to play the guitar while in college and thus have some preliminary knowledge about music. However, I always find it difficult to recognize musical notes with precision and I used to look in awe at people who could easily tell the musical notes just by hearing. Having a pitch-perfect ear puts you in a different league altogether. Just by listening to any sing or tune you can identify which key it is in. Again this is something which very few people can do with precision. I will try to test myself on being able to attain something close to a pitch-perfect ear.

Resources that I am using

Is it so easy to master a skill in a month?

While it’s true that it almost takes 10000 hours of practice to master something as per the famous 10000-hour rule, if you break a big skill into smaller chunks and try mastering that, it takes surprisingly less time to be good at it. I was fascinated when I saw a TEDx talk by Josh Kaufman about how you can grasp a skill in only 20 hours of deliberate practice provided you split those 20 hours into 25-30 mins every day for around 30-45 days. Don’t try cramming 20 hours all at once. Chalking out 25-30 mins every day is quite easy even on a hectic schedule.

I find myself fortunate to come across a wonderful free course (most of the good things in this world comes free of cost!) while reading an article on Medium. The course is called Learning to learn. It is an online course on Coursera. It changed my perception towards Maths, Science and learning in general.

What motivated me to do this?

Over the years I have noticed that I have a trait to pick things up relatively quicker than most people such as playing the guitar, basic piano, photoshopping, web development, singing, photography, drawing etc. but I have the tendency to move to a different skill before forming a strong habit and I eventually discard it.

As a result, I can say I have the preliminary to sort of intermediate knowledge of quite a lot of things, but I often struggle with the basics of most of the skills though I am able to demonstrate or perform the skill to an extent. As a result, the impostor syndrome kicks in quite often. I started reading a lot of articles and books on productivity, learning and related topics in general.

So I decided to take up small challenges, two at a time every month and publicly share my experience and journey. In this way, I shall have a liability to reach my goals and also get rid of my resistance to writing!

I hope you enjoyed reading the post. Do share your thoughts and opinions. I shall honestly appreciate both positive and critical feedback.

Also remember, have lot’s of fun and take out time for yourself and family. That will help you learn better.

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