A Universal Theory of Skill Development: Introduction (1)

In this series, we interrogate the underlying concepts, processes, and methods which drive skill development in any field. By looking at the universal problems faced by all performers, we can expose the fundamental struggles which unify all of us.

Goals of the Interrogation

The goal of exploring the universal skill set is twofold:

1. Provide evidence for my argument that all performers share universal personality traits, which enable them to pursue their challenges using a universal skill set.

2. Provide insight into the challenges performers face so that we may contemplate them consciously, and in response, refine our methods further.

Desire, Traits, Methods, Challenges, Skill, and Performance

On the surface, it appears that each skill a person may learn is very different. For example, a musician must learn about music theory, practice one or more instruments, practice composition, and so on. But, football player must focus their attention on developing speed and strength, learning to throw and tackle, etc.

But, regardless of the skill being learned, there is an underlying structure which we all share, which facilitates our development as performers.

Briefly, our underlying desires motivate us to move through the process of skill development, to achieve performance. What distinguishes those with higher vs lower levels of performance is the ability to tackle challenge by utilizing methods. Personality traits have a large impact on an individual's capacity to develop skill, but social and economic factors cannot be understated, either. Ultimately, there must be a combination of desire and privilege within a person's life in order for them to develop skill through the universal methods.

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