17 Steps To Acquiring A New Skill Faster Than You Thought Possible
In the movie Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and group possessed to learn anything in the matter of seconds. To download the ability to fly a helicopter and fight like Bruce Lee. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize. Our current generation being marked as the age of knowledge and information, through the internet we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. Furthermore, the whole idea being a natural born genius is being questioned and replaced more with the gift of being able to learn a skill.
Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style rapid learning.
1. Deconstruct & Reverse Engineer
Break the skill that you are desiring to learn down into little pieces and master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill. For example, learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.
2. Pareto Principle
Identify the 20% work that will give you 80% of the results. In learning a language it does not take long to realize that there are a few very kew words that pop up over and over again. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words” for example and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.
3. Make Stakes (not steaks)
Establish and implement some sort of punishment for you in not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Place a bet with a friend to light that fire under your bottom.
4. Record Yourself
Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistake and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.
5. Join a Group
There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it is a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.
6. Time Travel
Visit the Library. Although everything is becoming more and more online, there are still such things called libraries. Whether it is a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically search out the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.
7. Be a Chameleon
Imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Mimic what you see. Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. Youtube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.
Follow one course until success! It is easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do. There are a lot of conversations calling to ditch the whole idea of multitasking as it has been shown to be detrimental and a myth. Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.
The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing. Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results.
10. Find a Mentor
Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made. Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning of a new skill. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.
11. Sleep On It
Practice your new skill within 4 hours of going to sleep. Josh Kaufman is a noted rapid learning expert and tells us that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics needed are ingrained at a quicker level.
12. The 20 Hour Rule
Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magical number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill. His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.
13. Learn By Doing
It is easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to do something and never actually get around to doing it. The best way to learn is to do. Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are continually physically engaged. Keep alternating between research and practice…research…practice…
14. Short Sprints
Rather than try to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and have a stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks and so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.
15. Ditch the Distractions
Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Before you sit down to practice, make sure whatever potential distractions are far from sight.
Otherwise known as brain enhancers. These cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements. Many student will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide, particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.
Every single little win that you experience on the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This will encourage you to press on toward the goal!
Most of all, have fun. Learning a new skill should be exciting and something you cannot wait to practice every day. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation. To love life is to continually be learning and challenging yourself.
Featured photo credit: seriousbrivia flickr.com
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