The parallel growth lifehack

Why is it important to challenge yourself on different levels? It’s possible to design your own learning process, so you can then apply the same principles across all aspects of your life. This enables you to take learnings from one situation and apply them to a completely different situation, with measurable results.

One of my favourite podcasts is The Tim Ferriss Show, and he recently hosted Josh Waitzkin to talk about parallel growth (more specifically, about “Beginner’s Mind, Self Actualization, and Advice from your Future Self”.  Josh is a high performer across many fields ranging from Chess to Martial Arts. In the interview he discusses how he is more a master of the art of learning itself, and is able to transfer principles he learned as a chess master to martial arts and other aspects of life.

It’s great to have a name for it. I utilise parallel learning myself, and I’m sure we all do in different ways. I have been a long time yoga teacher, come from a business background and recently became a multi-sporter, applying the following lessons I’ve learnt over the years:

  1. Find your purpose. Set a goal, then break it down into small, achievable milestones.
  2. Mindfulness and focus. Resolute determination comes from your mindset, and meditation can help you develop calm confidence.
  3. Fake it until you make it. A cheap kayak and an even cheaper bike off TradeMe? No worries, you are still a multi-sporter. Believe in yourself and build the capabilities you need to be able to achieve your goals.
  4. Do the mahi. You need to do the training/work and make sure you are delivering to the best of your ability. Keep in mind that those rest days are just as important so you actually make it to the start line.

This all got very real on Day 2 of the Coast to Coast in quite miserable driving Southerly rain on a very full Waimakariri River. I was absolutely determined to get to the finish line, acknowledging the challenge ahead and breaking it down into two smaller goals; “stay in the kayak” and “get to the next landmark”. This absolute focus was essential for getting me successfully through a very challenging section.

Whether getting through the Christchurch Earthquakes, or getting through a challenging business experience with a new startup, the mindset is the same. Building focus and determination in one aspect of your life can “spill over” into other aspects of your life.

How can you utilise parallel growth?