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Last Updated on May 6, 2020

How to Learn Anything Fast? Take These 5 Powerful Steps

How to Learn Anything Fast? Take These 5 Powerful Steps

Put an average Joe next to someone of success and you’ll find that the latter had more knowledge to get to where they are today.

While there’s only so much time in the day to learn new skills, you can accelerate how fast you learn something. Whether you want to learn a new language, understand real estate, or learn how to start a business, the person who can learn faster will always have the upper hand in life.

So, how to learn anything fast? Here are 5 powerful steps to learn anything faster.

1. Method Beats Hours

When it comes to learning something new, the method will always beat the number of hours you put into something. This isn’t to say that the number of hours isn’t important, but you should choose which method will give you the best results.

For example, let’s say two people were driving from Boston to New York City. It doesn’t matter how skilled or committed the first driver is. If he’s driving a beat-up pickup truck and the second driver has a Ferrari, the first driver will lose.

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Your method is the vehicle that will become the engine of where you want to go. With anything you want to learn, there will be dozens of available methods to follow, and “experts” to learn from. This means that you want to spend a lot of time understanding who you’re learning from, what credibility they have, and how it fits with your learning style.

2. Apply the 80/20 Rule

As a reader of Lifehack, you’ve probably heard of Pareto’s Law.

It is a concept developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto which explains that 80% of your desired outputs will come from only 20% of your inputs.

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    While the exact ratio varies from situation to situation, you’ll find that:

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    • 20% of people in your life will lead to 80% of your happiness
    • 20% of your customers will drive 80% of your sales
    • 20% of your learning methods will lead to 80% of your results

    When it comes to learning, it feels like there’s so much we don’t know, so it’s easy to jump around everywhere. This will only lead to wasted time. What you want to do is focus on the one or two things that will drive the needle for what you want to achieve and double down on them.

    For example, if you’re learning Spanish to travel this summer, instead of learning how to write or read, you should learn how to speak Spanish. Or instead of trying to please a dissatisfied customer that’s only paying you $37/month, you should add 10 times more value to a customer that’s paying you $1,000/month.

    3. Learn by Doing

    Immersion is by far the best way to learn anything. And as research shows, it turns out that humans retain:

    • 5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
    • 10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
    • 20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
    • 30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
    • 50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
    • 75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
    • 90% of what they learn when they use it immediately.

    Think back to how you learned to play basketball, ride a bicycle, or swim. Instead of watching tutorial videos or reading a textbook on how to do something, the way to learn faster is to get into the trenches and gain experience through making mistakes.

    4. Find a Coach

    From business titans to professional athletes, the people performing at the highest levels all have one thing in common: they have a coach.

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    According to best-selling author Seth Godin, there are five reasons you might quit in anything you do:

    • You run out of time (and quit)
    • You run out of money (and quit)
    • You get scared (and quit)
    • You’re not serious about it (and quit)
    • You lose interest (and quit)

    Having a coach allows you to see the blind spots that you couldn’t see before, and guide you through the tough times that inevitably come when you’re learning anything new.

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      A coach doesn’t have to cost $1 million a year, like what Tony Robbins charges, or even $1,000. If you’re trying to learn a language, you could have a language coach you work with. If you’re trying to learn an instrument, it could be finding a private teacher to help you.

      The point is, you’re not going at it alone. And having someone that’s keeping you accountable can take you miles further than doing everything yourself.

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      5. Process Over Performance

      Doing the work is often the hardest thing for most people. A common mistake people make when they’re learning something new is to focus on performance over process. It’s hard to see any consistent results until you’ve put in a significant amount of work upfront.

      For writers, this is sitting down and writing 500 words a day — no matter how bad it may turn out. For athletes, this is waking up every morning and training — no matter how groggy and sore you feel. For language learners, it’s forcing yourself to speak the language every day — no matter how many mistakes you make or how uncomfortable you may feel.

      “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” — Woody Allen

      Taking small steps may not sound sexy, but it has been the proven path to follow for anything you’ll want to achieve in your life and business.

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      Featured photo credit: Anna Earl via unsplash.com

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      Sean Kim

      Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

      How to Learn Anything Fast? Take These 5 Powerful Steps 7 Best Language Learning Apps and Websites What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers? 7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers 7 Best Languages to Learn to Stay Competitive

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      1 How to Use Deliberate Practice to Be Good at Almost Anything 2 Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily 3 How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier 4 How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything 5 How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible

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      Last Updated on October 5, 2020

      How to Use Deliberate Practice to Be Good at Almost Anything

      How to Use Deliberate Practice to Be Good at Almost Anything

      I first came across the principle of deliberate practice in the book Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. According to Anders Ericsson,[1]

      “Deliberate practice involves stepping outside your comfort zone and trying activities beyond your current abilities.”

      What that means is breaking down the skill you want to acquire into separate components and developing your skills, so you master each individual part of the skill. Deliberate practice is not practicing something over and over and not pushing yourself to improve.

      In this article, you will discover how you can make deliberate practice work in your everyday life and achieve your goals faster, even when you lack innate talent.

      How Deliberate Practice Works in Everyday Life

      Imagine you want to become a better presenter. Deliberate practice requires breaking down the presentation into different sections.

      For example, you could break down the presentation into the beginning, the middle, and the end. Then, you would work only on the beginning one day. You would practice the tone, the pauses, and even your movement at the beginning of the presentation. On another day, you might practice the transition from beginning to the middle, etc.

      The opposite approach would be to mindlessly run through the presentation over and over again until you memorize the script. This type of practice might help you to memorize your script, but you would not necessarily deliver a great presentation. It would likely sound forced and over-practiced instead of dynamic and natural[2].

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      Do Lots of Deliberate Practice

        In my teenage years, I was an aspiring middle-distance runner. During the winter months, we ran a lot of long distances on the road as well as cross country. The purpose was to develop our overall stamina and basic strength.

        As the summer approached, we transitioned onto the track and did a lot of 10 X 600 meters with 60 seconds rest between runs. Here, we were working on our speed endurance, a key factor in performing well at middle-distance running.

        Six hundred meters was not my racing distance. I ran 800 and 1,500 meters, but those 10 x 600-meter training sessions were a form of deliberate practice to develop the necessary skills to be able to perform at our best in a crucial part of the race—the middle.

        How to Use Deliberate Practice

        There are specific steps you can take to get good at deliberate practice and achieve a high level of performance for a specific goal.

        1. Break it Down

        Whatever skill you want to acquire, you need to break it down into different parts.

        Imagine you want to become better at writing. You could break down the writing process into creating eye-catching beginnings, strong middles, and inspiring endings.

        If you were to work on the beginning part of the writing process, you could practice different types of introductions. For example, you could try starting with a quote, a detailed description, or a personal story.

        Anything you want to practice can be broken down into smaller steps. Identify them and put them in a list to make sure you stick to the right order of things.

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        2. Create a Schedule

        Now that you know the steps, you should create a schedule to keep yourself motivated. Studies have shown that having a set deadline helps improve motivation by offering feedback on how close or far you are from a goal[3].

        For example, if you want to learn to play the guitar, try scheduling an hour each day to start practicing the chords. You can set yourself a deadline to learn your first song within three months.

        Find what schedule feels doable with the lifestyle you have. This will help you experience continued improvements through purposeful practice.

        3. Get a Coach

        One key part of deliberate practice is toget feedback from teachers or coaches.

        In our writing example, you could ask a friend or a person you know who reads a lot, and ask them what they think of your beginning. Ask them how you could improve it. With the feedback in hand, you can then go back and rewrite the introduction to make it even more eye-catching.

        If you were to develop your presentation skills, you could practice your opening with a colleague or friend you trust, and ask them for feedback. The key is to listen carefully to the feedback and then to go back and fine-tune your practice so you push your skills further.

        If you do not have access to anyone who can provide you with honest feedback, you can video yourself performing your presentation and do a self-critique. It is hard to watch yourself at first, but after you get over the initial shock, you can watch dispassionately and see how you move, sound, and perform.

        Do you use your tone and energy to make it interesting? Are you conveying your message clearly? Are you using too many filler words? All these questions will help you to improve your craft and skills.

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        Earlier this year, one of my communication clients asked me to review and coach his senior leadership team on a presentation they were to give to the CEO of the company, who was visiting Korea. After going through their individual presentations with them, I felt there was no passion, no emotion, no pride in what they had achieved over the previous twelve months.

        Because they had rehearsed their presentation alone with no coaching or feedback, they had focused too much on the script and missed the important energy and passion.

        I advised my clients to look at their scripts and think about what they were proud of and what they were excited about in the coming year. That one, small shift in perspective quickly put the energy and passion into their presentations.

        Getting feedback is an important part of getting the most out of deliberate practice.

        4. Use the Internet to Get Anonymous Feedback

        Another way you can get feedback is to put your writing skills online in the form of a blog post and ask people to give you feedback on your writing style. Or, you could record yourself and upload the video to YouTube. I began a YouTube channel three years ago, and this allowed me to improve my presentation skills through self-analysis.

        I have also received a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, which I reviewed and corrected where I felt the criticisms were justified. An example of this was my introductions to my videos. When I first began, my introductions were long and rambling.

        I received a lot of feedback about this, and I soon shortened them and learned to get straight to the point. It has helped me to sharpen my message.

        Bonus Tip

        The role of deliberate practice is

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        to accelerate your learning skills. With learning languages, for example, traditionally we would buy ourselves a textbook and learn grammar principles and long lists of vocabulary. Once we had some basics learned, we would then practice speaking and writing sentences.

        If you were to apply deliberate practice to your language learning process, you would find someone—preferably a native speaker of your target language—and talk to them. They would correct you and advise you where you can improve your pronunciation and intonation.

        Chris Lonsdale talked about this when he delivered his TEDx Talk on how to learn a language in six months. All the advice he gave in that talk was based on the principles of deliberate practice:

        Final Thoughts

        Whatever it is you want to master and improve your skills at, when you use the power of deliberate practice, you can quickly become better than the average and achieve top performance.

        Developing your skills in the area of communication can give you huge advantages in your workplace. Learning and mastering anything new can give you the skills to stay relevant in your industry.

        As we go through the disruptive changes of the “fourth industrial revolution,” the onus is on you to develop yourself, and engaging in deliberate practice is one way you can give yourself the advantage.

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        Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

        Reference

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