You needn’t achieve major feats to feel accomplished – seeking out small, simple skills to master with your hobbies can increase your confidence, happiness and cognitive ability.
It’s often said that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something. But while you might not have the time, or the inclination, to become a grade 8 pianist or a fluent Italian speaker, the new concept of micromastery makes learning new things easier and a lot more fun by encouraging you to aim for smaller, more manageable achievements. What’s more, it has just as many benefits for your brain as undertaking a bigger challenge.
The term was coined by Robert Twigger, author of Micromastery: Learn Small, Learn Fast and Find the Hidden Path to Happiness (£12.99, Penguin Life). He was influenced by spending time in Japan, observing the widespread practice of ‘kata’, which breaks things down into small, perfectible exercises. ‘Aikido exercises influenced me,’ he says, referring to the Japanese martial art. ‘Each one is a mini-skill in itself, rather than just a move.’ So, thinking about how this might apply to everyday life here in the UK, you could say that rather than setting a goal of ‘learning to cook,’ micromastery would means simply excelling in one aspect, such as making a flawless omelette, before moving on to the next thing.