Rules of Accelerated Learning, #9: Imitation

penguins image imitation accelerated learning

Friends naturally imitate each other. (image CC Swamibu)

This is part of an ongoing series on the fundamental rules or “patterns” of accelerated learning. Each rule is very contextual; these are not silver bullets or cure-alls.


When you’ve chosen your desired skill and are observing a skilled practitioner performing it, or you’re an instructor demonstrating a skill for your students…

You can’t know how well you’re understanding and absorbing something until you try it for yourself.

  • No matter how much your head knows, your body is the final arbiter on whether or not you can do something.
  • Every skill, even the most technical, has a physical element; humans are embodied learners.
  • Imitation is a skill in its own right; it takes keen observation and self-awareness.
Therefore, imitate fluent experts (or at the very least, someone who can do well what you want to learn), and improve your ability to imitate through practice.
  • Do what the fluent expert is doing, in real time, right along with them, as they do it.
  • Observe and adjust your learning environment according to how well you or your students are imitating – IMITATION is the surest boost to SIGNAL STRENGTH for finding your FLUENT EDGE. If you are struggling with imitation, you’re struggling with the skill.
By doing IMITATION you’ll often find you are instantly overwhelmed; you’ve chosen too big of a piece of skill to tackle. This is great information; NARROW SCOPE accordingly, until you’ve found a truly BITE-SIZED PIECE. You may also find that you simply can’t tell what the fluent expert is doing at a particular moment; boost SIGNAL STRENGTH, get closer, ask them to slow down according to SLOW/FAST, request they only perform BITE-SIZED PIECES – however much they are willing to accomodate you, make the most of it. This is the back and forth dance of applying CONTRACT and the rules of play according to context; this the skill of FLUENCY HUNTING.

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