7 Most Common Reasons We Stop Improving At Our Jobs

Scott H. Young
Mind Cafe
Published in
6 min readMay 23, 2024

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My new book, Get Better at Anything, came out two weeks ago. The central idea of my new book is that three factors determine how quickly we can learn: 1) seeing examples from others, 2) doing practice ourselves, and 3) getting feedback on our work. These ingredients may seem simple, but getting them right is often tricky.

Based on the research I explain in my new book, this post outlines seven common reasons why our efforts at improvement stall — and how we can get unstuck.

1. You don’t know the right technique.

Almost everything we know comes from other people. Science, art, business and culture are all cumulative efforts that build upon the hard-won methods and insights of the past. Therefore, the most fundamental difficulty we encounter in improving is not knowing (or not having access to) the best methods for solving a problem.

Consider solving a Rubik’s Cube. The possible combinations of the 3×3 cube are vast — over 43 quintillion possible configurations. Assuming each move takes a second, trying them one by one would take longer than the age of the universe. But with the right technique, any configuration can be solved in under twenty twists.

The starting point for any improvement effort, therefore, is to figure out how…

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Scott H. Young
Mind Cafe

Author of WSJ best selling book: Ultralearning www.scotthyoung.com | Twitter: @scotthyoung