How to Learn A New Skill: A Real-World Guide to Mastering Anything - Deepstash
How to Learn A New Skill: A Real-World Guide to Mastering Anything

How to Learn A New Skill: A Real-World Guide to Mastering Anything

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How to Learn A New Skill: A Real-World Guide to Mastering Anything

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From the moment we are born, we are always learning new skills. We see it in formal capacities in school or on the job, and informally, like learning from you buddy how to grill a steak.

However, learning is a skill that we can improve upon. The growing number of self-taught professionals is a testament to that.

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Tony Robbins

“One skill you want to master in this day and age we live in, if you want to have an extraordinary life, is the ability to learn rapidly.”

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Be very selective in the skill you're trying to masker to avoid sabotaging your success:

  • Make sure it's applicable: The perfect skill either solves a problem you have or scratches an itch you have.
  • Be very specific: Specific goals are easier to pursue than vague counterparts. To set yourself up, narrow your skill down as much as possible. Ask what specific problem are you trying to solve, and find out what aspects you find most fascinating.
  • Make sure you love the process, not just the outcome: Pick a skill where the road is as exciting as the outcome. Then plan out celebration points along the way.

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In school, your teachers worked out a lesson plan and made sure you were aiming in the right direction. When you're teaching yourself, you have to do it yourself.

  • Deconstruct and select: Every skill can be broken down into pieces. Find out what are the minimal learnable segments you should start with for success and focus on that first.
  • Find a mentor: If you're unfamiliar with a skill, you may not know what is worth learning from the start. Find a mentor to help you.
  • Stop learning and start doing: Once you know the basics, put them into practice wherever you can.

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To save the time of both of you, consider asking your mentor these questions:

  • Thinking back to when you were just getting started, what parts of your skill were the most frustrating to learn?
  • Which of those do you use on a daily/weekly basis, and which have you forgotten?
  • What parts of your skill did you worry about the most when you were getting started that you now feel are unnecessary?
  • When looking at other experts in your field, what specific capabilities help you distinguish experts from non-experts?

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To make it count, practice deliberately. Focus on specific elements and work on them until they improve.

Don't go all out, dedicating every waking moment to your new passion. Pace yourself. You will not only avoid burnout by spreading out your training, but you will also increase your performance.

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Feedback is vitally important to evaluate how well you're doing and to identify areas for improvement. Faster feedback is always better.

  • Share work publicly: Even if it feels scary, sharing your work is essential for improvement.
  • Be very specific: Pick a particular element and ask for direct feedback.
  • Ask for negative feedback: "What is one aspect that could be improved?"
  • Don't make it about you: It's helpful to remove yourself from the question when asking for feedback. "What is the one thing I could've done" makes the feedback more personal and may make the person hesitant to give critical feedback.

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You could follow all the advice, but if you give up after two days, you won't make progress.

  • Make a plan: When exactly are you going to practice?
  • Tell others about it…maybe: State your goal as a commitment rather than moving towards the finished product. The former commits you to an attitude while the second may indicate that you've already taken steps, which may cause you to slow down.
  • Join a group: Groups are very motivating and make you more likely to persevere.

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