How do we learn things quickly?


How do learn things in a way that allows us to go from knowing absolutely nothing about a skill to being really good in a very short period of time? There’s one idea that keeps coming up over and over and over again , TEN THOUSAND HOUR RULE. It takes 10,000 hours to learn something. It’s not true, and thank goodness, it’s not true. The order of magnitude of going from knowing absolutely nothing to being really good is about 20 hours, not 10,000. And the method very broadly has 5 steps and they’re very simple.


  • Establish what your goal is: – The first is decide exactly what you want. What you want to be able to do? What is it going to look like when you’re done? What are you going to be able to look at yourself and say, “I did this thing that I’ve always wanted to do.” What goes it look like? The more clearly and completely you’re able to define exactly what you wanted to able to do, the easier it will for you to find the ways, to accomplish that desired end result as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Deconstruct the skill: – The second thing you do is what I call deconstructing the skill. Most of the things that we think of as skills aren’t really just one skill. They’re bundles of smaller sub skills that we use in combination with each other. Instead of trying to learn the global skill, you break it apart into these smaller parts and the practice the most important sub skills, things you’re going to use most first.
  • Research: – Now, the third part is researching. Researching just enough that you’re able to identify the most important sub skills, but also understanding and being able to self-correct as you’re practicing. Go out and find 3 to 5 books, courses, DVDs, trainers, people or resources that can help you do that initial deconstruction. Now, the trick is don’t allow that research to become a form of procrastination. The beat approach is to pick 3, 4, 5 resources. You don’t go through them completely. You skim them. Identify the ideas that come up over and over and over again. Those are the things that you should know so you can self-correct as you practice and those are the sub skills that you should probably practice first.
  • Remove barriers to practice: – The fourth part is removing barriers to practice. Making is easy to sit down and actually do the things you want to get better at. In our lives, we have thousands of distractions. During the practice process, turn off the TV, block the internet, close the door, and turn off your cellphone. Remove the distraction that can take your focus away from whatever this thing that you’re trying to practice is and make sure that time that you have set aside to practice in a way that was going to make you better is as undivided and focused as possible.
  • Commit to 20 hours of practice: – And fifth and very importantly, pre-commit to at least 20 hours of focused deliberate practice before you begin. And that’s really it. There is no magic to it. It’s just focused strategic effort invested in something you care about and something that is going to be rewarding to yourself. Learning, the process of learning, is not difficult. What we’re doing in this process is really just removing all the frustrations, all of the barriers, all of things that get in the way of us sitting down and doing the work. Even in the busiest schedules, if you can clear a half an hour to 45 minutes a day to sit down and finally learn that thing that you’re always wanted to learn, you will astounded, absolutely astounded at how good you’re become in a very short period of time.

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