Erika Andersen on Be Bad First, Part 4

In the book, Be Bad First: Get Good at Things Fast to Stay Ready for the Future, Erika Andersen shares her mindset and techniques for learning new things well and quickly.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 4: Aspiration: Ya Gotta Wanna

In this chapter, Erika Andersen discusses the false assumptions we often make about our aspirations and what we can do to change our level of aspiration. She offers the following observations and recommendations for us to think about:

The first false assumption about aspiration is believing we want to do things we actually don’t want to do. We often confuse being interested in the possibility of something with actually wanting to achieve it.

The second way we confuse ourselves about the nature of aspiration is that we sometimes do things while believing and saying that we don’t want to do them. When we do something we don’t want to do very much, we see it as the best option available.

In summary, we only do those things that we want to do more than any other available options in a given situation. In situations where we can benefit from learning and new knowledge, we stay with the tried and true.

There are two techniques we can use to motivate ourselves to learn something or to ignite our own aspirations:

  • Imagine the personal benefits to us learning it
  • Envision a “possible world” where we are enjoying those benefits

A model of “imagining a possible world” can involve four steps:

  1. Pick a time frame for success.
  2. Imagine yourself in that future.
  3. Describe what success looks and feels like.
  4. Select the key elements.

Begin by deciding on a reasonable time frame for success, a point by which we could reasonably expect to be reaping the benefits of our new learning.

Give our minds free rein to create a three-dimensional piece of a possible future where we are experiencing those benefits.

Think about the benefits we identified and imagine that they have come to pass. Then, describe what that looks, feels, and sounds like.

When we have a relatively robust picture of the future we want, we choose to implement the key elements. The elements are parts of the future that are the most enticing and motivating to us.