From experience, I would say you shouldn’t quit something until you get 3 or 6 months into that skill. I mean 3 – 6 months of consistent, day in day out practice. Maybe that’s 1 hour a day or more.
- You also shouldn’t quit if you don’t see any progress. Because It’s like going to the gym once or twice and thinking you should be the most jacked up guy with guns huggin’ the sleeves. It doesn’t work that way.
Only after going to the gym daily, hitting hard and heavy weights, do I see any improvement in my own body. The results begin to trickle in after a few months of work. For me it’s the magic 3 month mark.
It’s also important to have another skill as reference. If you don’t, then you’re going to wind up as a bad audition on American Idol where they have these nuts who can’t sing just embarrass themselves.
Using another skill as reference
Maybe it took you a few months to get the hang of speaking the basics of a foreign language, or it took you a few months to get proficient in martial arts.
- If you don’t have a previous skill then you’re flying blind and you might end up being that person that should have quit a long time ago. Bad street performers who don’t make any money are a good example.
From my own experience, I know exactly what to look out for and I know whether or not to continue improving a skill.
Foreign Language example
When I was learning Japanese, I would study hundreds of vocabulary words at a time using a program called Anki. It’s a flashcard program and you can quickly burn through an entire list of words.
After weeks of cramming and studying these words, they never came out whenever I was speaking with someone in Japanese. I would always think of the perfect word I should have used after the conversation.
Around 3 months later, those words that I crammed for, came out naturally in my everyday speaking. At the time I didn’t even know I was using them because it felt like second nature.
- After 2 years of being immersed in a foreign language, I noticed this same pattern happen over and over. I would study my ass off, fail at producing those words during a real conversation, then 3 months later I was using them naturally.
This pattern also emerged for every other skill I’ve attempted to learn.
For the guitar, I would learn blues licks from Albert King and Jimi Henrix. I would study these licks but when I went to improvise they wouldn’t come out right. Only after a few months did they start to sound natural and I was able to put my own spin on them.
Quitting a skill means turning it into a leftover skill
Just because you quit a skill doesn’t mean you can’t use it in the future. Scott Adams has a great book on systems vs goals in his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. It’s a great read.
Adams’ is a big fan of systems instead of trying to be the greatest at one skill.
Having multiple skills you’re decent at can be just as effective as being good at one.
I’ve quit countless skills. Quitting a skill doesn’t mean you’re a quitter. It just means you’ve got more tools to work with for you’re next project.
Having a blog, involves multiple skills. You’ve got to be able to write and string sentences together coherently. You’ve to figure out how to be productive and grind every single day.
You’ve also got to pay attention to your site design otherwise, readers will be turned off from reading.
If you notice, I’m not Hemmingway, but I know how to get my point across. I’m not an expert at SEO, but I know how to do ‘just enough’ to get by.
Again all of these skills add up. What are yours?