Quick Tips On Learning More Things Faster
This is part 5 of a series I call: “You Are, Or Will Become What You…”. See at the bottom of this story for links to the previous ones.
If I had to choose a theme or a quick phrase to describe my last 8 months, it would have to be this: “Self-Education”.
In the past 5 months alone, I’ve released one book (with more coming up soon), one video game, one online store, a Saas company, and more.
But that’s only the result of me educating myself to learn a more diverse set of skills.
What’s the best way to apply things you just learned?
Put it in action of course!
Sometimes that means changing ways you do things, sometimes that means creating new things.
I created new things, and improved on things I was already doing.
If we were to break down the different skills I needed to learn to make all of the above possible, I would come up with a list like this:
These are some of the skills that, in the past 8 months, I’ve intentionallypracticed and learned.
As a list like that, it may seem a little broad. But most of these took over 8 hours of planning before even putting them in motion.
“Think things through, then follow through” — Eddie Rickenbacker
I may not have mastered any of these, but I’m at 80% “mastery” on a lot of them.
As I re-read that list for the nth time, I realized that I’ve become what I learned. Reading that list, I see a lot of “me” in there. I can do these things. I could write articles on any of these subjects.
So what I’m proposing you to do is go through that same exercise of listing the skills you recently learned, are learning, or will be learning in the near future.
Do you see that your skills portrait who you are, or will become?
That could be sad news to some of you, or good news to some of you.
The way I see it, it’s all good news.
Let me explain.
If the skills you listed are not pleasing to you, take it as a motivator to change that. My older brother once told me:
“You’ll never do anything in life” — Unnamed brother
Phew, that’s pretty harsh!
He told me that years ago because all he saw was this sad teenager playing video games all day on his couch. Here’s my list of skills back then — with exaggeration:
- Mastering video games.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the most confident kid. But after hearing that, I had to prove him wrong.
And that’s what this exercise is about.
If you’re sad about your own results, prove yourself wrong!
Learning new skills, it turns out, is not even that hard.
Danny, are you crazy? Learning new skills is freaking hard!
Let me argue differently: mastering a new skill is freaking hard!
Being “sufficiently proficient” at something can be done in about 15 hours of constant practice.
I’ve tested that with my 3 new skills a month approach for over 8 months now. I’ve seen myself and others have similar results.
And here’s why “sufficiently proficient” matters:
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery
If you’re competing at master level for anything in life, you have to be a top 1% to become extremely successful. You have to be the best in the world!
Now combine 3–5 skills together in creative ways. How many other people in the world have the same skill set?
I hope you see that the subset of people you’re competing with is much lower, meaning more chances for you to be doing great.
Doesn’t that make you a little more remarkable?
Learning More Things Faster
I have a secret for you:
The best way I found to learn faster is to learn more
Probably not what you wanted to hear right? Yet it’s exactly how top people like Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and more learn faster. Because they already know so much.
Let me give you a very simple example.
Suppose you know a language deriving from latin. Let’s say French. Now compare learning Spanish or Italian, as opposed to English, or Chinese.
Spanish and Italian are much easier to learn coming from French, right?
And any polyglot will tell you, the more languages you know, the easier it is to learn new ones.
Everyone agrees, right?
If so, let me forgo the scientific explanation here, but trust me when I say that the same applies to other types of knowledge.
So here’s my suggestion to you:
- Learn one or more “basic” skills this month (practice each for 30 minutes, consistently). Become “sufficiently proficient” in it. Aid yourself from my worksheet here: dannyforest.com.
- Learn something “different enough” the next month.
- Repeat step 2 for a few months. Maybe for 4–5 months.
- Realize how much faster you assimilate concepts due to the diverse knowledge you’ve acquired for the past few months.
On step 4, when I stay much faster, I mean exponentially faster! Do that for 8 months like I have. I often surprise myself with how quickly I sometimes pick up concepts that other people find hard to grasp.
Start with Physics before Math and you’ll struggle as hell. Understand Math really well, then learn Physics. Much easier, right?
Trust me, it’s not as hard as you think it is. Planning and executing consistently are key.
Get yourself an accountability partner! Someone who will follow you in doing the same process. It doesn’t have to be the same skills.
In this article, I’ve shown you how to figure out what your current/near future skillset is and realize how it represents who you are or will become.
I showed you how you can use that as a motivation to stop procrastinating and start learning.
I also proved to you that skill learning is not that hard, and showed you examples of how to make it easier, and faster.
I hope you learned something!
Now it’s your turn.
Go ahead, start the month right and learn yourself a few new skills!
You can do this!
First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/you-are-or-will-become-what-you-learn-8ee83c2e145a