Skill Acquisition: What REALLY makes the difference?

What is one new skill you want to master this year?

No matter what you want to accomplish or experience in your life, there are a set of skills that can quickly help you get the outcome you want in a fraction of the time.

Once you know what those skills are, people who are serious about creating the results they want, develop a personal skill development plan (PSDP).

Think of your PSDP as the path you’ll take to go from where you are right now with that skill, to where you want to be.

A good plan can save you thousands of hours of learning.

Every skill is made up of sub-skills. And each skill has a verb.

For example, parenting is made up of sub-skills like:








Giving feedback


By identifying the key verbs that a skill is made up of, we can develop highly effective development plans to acquire those smaller skills.

Unpacking the first activity above, listening, we have conditions and further verbs that, when present, will create a high quality result.

For example, for listening, we can break this activity down into:

Being fully present

Directing awareness (to the person we’re listening to)

Resting attention

Hearing what is said


When we add in other skills from NLP, like creating rapport, paying

attention to what is said (and not said) and patterning to the person’s

non-verbal communication, we open up a whole world of possibilities to

listen more effectively.

Listening in a way that can have a profound impact on someone else.

And of course, learning to listen well can be extremely useful for many

other contexts as well. As we stack the skills we acquire, we create

higher level capabilities which lead to even better outcomes for

ourselves and others.

So what’s one new skill you want to master this year?

Feel free to let me know here and I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when we create new resources for you.

To your success,


PS: Trying to figure out what skills you should learn this year? Here’s a helpful tip I share with clients.

Take a goal or outcome you want and ask yourself:

“What are the handful of sub-skills that really make all the difference in possessing the larger skill I want?”

With most activities there are a handful of sub-skills (less than 20%) that

generate 80%-90% of the result. Focus on learning the most important

skills first.

If it's a new skill you are learning, a conversation with someone who has

already mastered that skill will help quickly identify what those sub-skills are.

By targeting the most important skills first, you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to produce disproportionate results. Try this out for yourself.


I'm Tom.

Everyone has something they’d like to change in their life. I’m here to help you transform the behaviours that get in your way so you can have the life you really want.

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