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

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.”

Tony Robbins

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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

https://doist.com/blog/learning-new-skill/

doist.com

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Key Ideas

Improvement with learning

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.

Tony Robbins

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.”

Select your skill carefully

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.

Choosing your own direction

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.

Questions to ask a mentor

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?

Not all practice is created equally

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.

Tighten feedback loops

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.

Stick to your practice

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Albert Einstein

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much an..."

Albert Einstein

"Our brains evolved to learn by doing things, not by hearing about them. This is one of the reasons that, for a lot of skills, it’s much better to spend about two thirds of your time testing yourself on it rather than absorbing it."

"Our brains evolved to learn by doing things, not by hearing about them. This is one of the reasons that, for a lot of skills, it’s much better to spend about two thirds of your time testing yourself on it rather than absorbing it."

Telling Others About Your Pursuit

It can keep you accountable, but it can also lead to a false sense of completeness. One way to avoid sabotaging yourself is to state your goal as a commitment rather than progress towards the finished product.

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Have a reason to study

Have an end goal in mind when you're learning.

  • What do you want to do with this information?
  • How is it going to improve your life?

Even if ...

Find the right instructor

Set some time aside to see what courses are available.
Take advantage of any free lessons, watch the introductions to their classes and see if the instructor will be a good fit for your skill level and speed.

Don’t binge

Watching online tutorial videos can become addictive. Keep in mind that you are trying to learn something, not get distracted.

How long you would be able to study depends on the density of the subject and the level of your knowledge about the subject.

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"In a fast-moving, competitive world, being able to learn new skills is one of the keys to success. It’s not enoug..."

Heidi Grant Halvorson

Check your readiness

Learning a new skill takes commitment. And there are certain limits to what you can learn. So, before starting working on a new skill, ask yourself:

  • If your goal really is attainable
  • How much time and energy you can give to this process.

Make sure it’s needed

Make sure the skills you've chosen are relevant to your career, your organization, or both. 

Gaining a new skill is an investment and you need to know upfront what the return will be.

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