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I recently found myself amazed upon discovering how learning in dolphins takes place. They are trained using the method of approximations or incremental learning. The dolphin's desired behaviour during training is appropriately reinforced with a reward using a high-pitched whistle called a bridge.
The first step in approximations training includes the placement of an artificial target in the water. When the dolphin touches the target, a reward is given as a reinforcement of its behaviour. Then the target is set a little bit higher for the dolphin to touch; reward is only given if it is touched. The continued pattern of raising the bar of the dolphin's performance is repeated until it becomes second nature for it to attain a higher target each time.
If we want to attain our big objectives, whether in our professional or personal life, we first have to make small-scale targets reinforced with small-scale rewards. Once we have achieved our targets, we may start to raise our bar for more challenging targets. If we are committed to repeating the same behaviour numerous times, it will be ingrained in our subconscious mind, becoming second nature to us. This is the reason why winning is a habit of champions.
If you are yet to achieve your big dreams in life (e.g., write a book, start a global business, run in a marathon), start small by taking baby steps on a consistent basis. Keep reinforcing yourself with the right rewards. As the saying goes, ''We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.''
Do not wait for the ideal time or the ideal opportunity. Start where you are now and with what you have. Remember, you do not need to be great to start, but once you start and are consistent with it, greatness will be within your reach in due time.
• The first step to career success is mapping out objectives
• Slowly untick your objectives until you have achieved them
• Reward yourself every time you have done something right
Source: Kamran Ahmed Siddiqui, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Training Manager in a major Abu Dhabi Oil & Gas Company