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Micromastery: New Skills for Breaking Your Stagnancy

There are times in our lives where we feel like we’ve hit a wall – where something about our life or situation feels stagnant. Feeling “stuck” in a place that feels less than optimal can be frustrating. In these moments we are quicker to respond with irritability, anger, sadness, and pessimism. If you feel like you’re stuck and can recognize it, the next step is to do something about it. Being willing to change stagnancy takes a lot of energy in itself, and you first have to own your truth about feeling stuck. Once you overcome that hurdle, what’s next? There are several things that you can do to overcome “stuckness”. One approach to get past this lackluster point in your life is to try micromastery. Kelsey Osgood writes about her own experience on feeling stuck and how she overcame it through trying micromastery. This blog post will reflect on Osgood’s article and how you can apply this concept in your own life.

Sometimes, there is no avoiding a period of stagnancy. You could be doing everything in your power to stay on top of life and everything it throws at you. Sticking to healthy routines, providing daily/weekly structure for yourself and your family, staying organized, achieving goals at work, and balancing your finances – you could be doing all of these consistently and more, yet you could still end up feeling sad or unfulfilled. If you feel that this is something you’re experiencing, trying micromastery could be a good outlet for breaking your stuckness. The concept of micromastery is “working to develop competence in a single, concrete skill”. Writers Tahir Shah and Robert Twigger developed the term. Twigger then wrote his book, Micromastery: Learn Small, Learn Fast, and Unlock Your Potential to Achieve Anything. The title itself lends a clear outlook on what micromastery is – an approachable way to learn valuable skills that can be used throughout your lifetime.

Micromastery is not about spending countless hours/days/years becoming an expert at something. It usually requires less commitment, depending on the skill you’re trying to learn. A micromastery can be learning to grill a perfect steak, for example. You don’t also have to choose something mundane or practical – you could learn photography or learn how to blow glass. The skills learned through micromastery are often simple and repeatable; therefore micromastery can be very worthwhile.

To increase the pleasure of the experience, you can also do micromastery with your partner or with a friend. It’s not necessary to do it with another person, but inviting someone along your learning process can decrease any feelings of isolation that you may have, and it can also help strengthen your current relationship with the individual. In addition to increasing relational bonds, on the individual level, micromastery can help boost your confidence and self-esteem. Learning a new skills feels empowering, and all of these elements can improve your overall mood.

Micromastery can also have health benefits. Once you become more absorbed by the learning process of the new skill, you can enter a “flow state”. This term was coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszmentmihalyi, and it’s a state in which people are so engrossed in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. With all of the endless tasks that we set up for ourselves, and the distractions that come in our way, putting your mind into an intense concentration-state is like a breath of fresh air for your brain. A “flow state” is similar to meditating, therefore it can help improve focus and decrease anxiety. Research also points out that challenging yourself intellectually might be able to prevent symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Micromastery clearly has several health benefits for the mind!

If you’ve been feeling stuck lately, consider trying micromastery as a means to get you out of your funk. There are endless options of what skills you can choose to learn. Make it a fun, no-pressure type of obligation. If you feel that diving into micromastery might not be for you, therapy is also a great resource for getting yourself out of stagnancy. Contact Symmetry Counseling to get set up with one of our compassionate clinicians today!

Kelsey Osgood’s article, Why You Should Try Micromastery, was referenced for this blog post.

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