Today on the podcast:

Nick Velasquez is a Colombian-Canadian best-selling author known for his book, Learn, Improve, Master: How to Develop Any Skill and Excel at It.

He is the founder of, a website dedicated to teaching people principles and strategies on learning, creativity, skills development, and mastery.

His writing has been featured in outlets such as TIME, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Thrive Global. Nick speaks multiple languages and spends his time between Tokyo and Montréal.

I really enjoyed this conversation and is definitely for anyone interested in how to learn things quicker and what books you should consider reading to potentially improve your quality of life.

Episode Outline

  • 03:30 Why Nick wrote his book and who it is for
  • 05:30 The myth of “you either have it or you don’t” – genetics and weight loss or building muscle
  • 11:34 Deliberate practice vs repetition and why they are not the same thing
  • 16:11 Why exploration is key to starting anything new
  • 22:39 How Nick did research for his book
  • 24:24 Our favorite authors and books we both recommend and love
  • 28:57 Misconceptions around memory and tying emotion to your learning – the perfect deadlift example
  • 37:45 The secret to mastery
  • 41:56 The myth of motivation and how thinking about it the wrong way hurts your progress
  • 45:02 What Nick is most excited about right now


  1. Usain Bolt Track & Training
  2. Takumi – a 60,000-hour story on the survival of the human craft

Key Points

  • There’s a common myth out there that we’re either built to do something or we’re not. We usually talk of it in terms of “talent”. In the case of fitness, we call it “genetics”. Yes, genes are a real “limiting factor”, but you can improve or build upon what you have. For example, a shorter person may not make it to the NBA, but the actual skills of dribbling, shooting, and rebounding have little to do with height. You may not be the best, but you may have a shot to be among the best with hard work. In any case, it’s always worth it to strive to be your best.
  • Deliberate practice is not the same as repetition. There comes a point where your progress will come to a standstill and you’re merely going through the motions. This happens whether you’re striving to build muscle, learning to play a new instrument, or practicing your driving skills. If you keep doing what you do, you’re going to get what you’re always getting. At some point, you have to raise the bar or train a completely different skill to continue to augment your existing level of skill at a given thing. That is what separates deliberate practice from mere repetition.
  • Attitude is key to mastery. It’s not the gold medal that will make you act like a champion, but acting like a champion that will win you the gold medal. Awards signify the recognition of a master, not the making of one. Motivation is cheap. If you want to master anything, you will not do so by waiting to become motivated. Emotion is fleeting; purpose is forever. As a famous writer once said: “I hate writing; but, I love having written.”

Powerful Quotes by Nick

  • It doesn’t really matter if you have it or you don’t. You’re just going at it for yourself. It’s your own path. You don’t know where it leads; but, the only way to find out is if you take it.
  • What is it that you really want to achieve? If it’s something that really burns inside, you don’t really care how long it’s going to take.
  • It’s important to see the process behind every skill, and that’s when we get to decide, “I want to do this,” or “I don’t want to do this.”
  • There are no impossible standards – only unreasonable efforts.
  • Emotion improves learning.
  • We are supposed to develop the attitude of a master before we become one.
  • The gods of mastery demand human sacrifice, and it can only come from you. But, if you’re lucky enough to have found your calling, then it’s a sacrifice you willingly make.

Guest Post

Nick Velasquez

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