Amateur Hours

Nir Eyal:

… we not only build skill but we strengthen our willpower. Studies have demonstrated that rewarding your brain with small “success experiences” builds willpower over time. Once the MEA [Minimal Enjoy Action] turns into a habit, it allows for expansion into slightly more advanced behaviors, such as walking for a few minutes more or increasing the pace. Through consistent practice of the MEA, both skill and willpower are increased until doing what once seemed difficult, becomes easy.

Eyal hits it on the head on how to become an amateur at something: engage in an activity on a sufficiently regular basis, with that engagement based on some kind of pleasure in the activity, and you’ll eventually become an qualified amateur at the activity in question. The degree to which one is an amateur varies, of course, with there being gradients of expertise within amateur communities.

We can’t all be responsible for creating the mountain bike, as just one example.