How To Develop Any Skill Following Success Mentor Darren Hardy’s 5-3-1 Plan

2 months ago   •   2 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
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Darren Hardy is an investor, success mentor, and former publisher of Success Magazine.

During his time at the helm of the publication, he interviewed hundreds of leaders and high achievers in an effort to distill their wisdom for his readers. People like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Coach K, and several others spilled their secrets to him. Not only did he publish some great interviews, he took notes.

And he used these notes to develop his own tools and strategies.

Enter the 5-3-1 plan

I was fortunate enough to have Darren as my mentor for several years (from 2015 to 2020 or so) and I know he swears by this method for personal growth and development.

He says that in order to learn or develop a new skill, you need to immerse yourself in it for a certain period of time. At least 90 days but it can be longer. In his Living Your Best Year Ever book, he recommends making this skill the "theme" for an entire quarter.

First, decide what the theme for your quarter will be and then craft your plan.

The 5 represents the number of books you will study on the subject during the quarter.

Notice I said study, not read.

Let's say you want to develop your leadership skills this quarter. Think of it as taking a leadership class in college. Except this time, you'll put together your curriculum, starting with these 5 books.

You will read, dog-ear, take notes, summarize and fully immerse yourself in these 5 books and these books only during the quarter.

The 3 represents audio programs you will study on the subject – Remember those tapes your dad listened to in the car? Just like those tapes.

Your brain learns better through different stimuli.

While audio programs are not as common as they used to be (I still have mp3's of Jim Rohn's seminars in my iPhone!), the concept remains the same. If audio is not your thing, try online courses. Sign up for 3 and study them.

Finally, the 1 is a seminar or live event you should attend on the subject during the quarter.

Ideally, you want this to be an immersive event, lasting at least a full day, preferably a weekend, and off-site.

Again, the goal is full immersion. Getting you out of your day to day environment so you can consume the information in a different manner. You'll discuss your ideas with others learning the same things and you'll enrich each other.

This works for any skill you want to develop.

In the years I worked with Darren, I met people (at his live events, of course!) who followed this plan to become better spouses, learn marketing, improve their diagnostic skills, become more productive… You name it.

One quarter of full immersion into any skill and you have no choice but to improve it.

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