8 hours? Are you kidding me? It takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill!
10,000 hours of deliberate practice is the amount of time it takes to be a top performer in a highly competitive field, according to Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers.
In the past 13 months, I’ve proven time and again that you can learn valuable soft and hard skills in about 15 to 20 hours of practice. And I’m talking about starting from nothing. I’ve learned 39 new skills in the past 13 months. But I’m not the only one who has experimented with that. My original inspiration came from Josh Kaufman’s TEDx talk, The First 20 Hours — How to Learn Anything.
Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, Oprah, and many more top performers dedicate a lot of their time to learning a variety of skills that allowed them to be where they are today. All of them have achieved much because of what they’ve learned and what they know. They are not more intelligent, they just dedicate more of their time on learning most valuable skills.
I was very careful in choosing skills that are as applicable today as they will be 100 years from now. In fact, the skills that follow were useful or would have been useful thousands of years ago as well.
Each of these skills can be learned to a level in which you can be good enough in it in under 8 hours of practice — one full work day!
But be careful, practicing any skill for long hours will not yield the results you expect. Your brain doesn’t assimilate new knowledge that way.
The first skill in the list is the basis of every other skill you’re going to learn for the rest of your life. It’s no surprise then that I listed it as the #1 skill to learn to thrive in 2019 in my highest performing article yet.
Do you want to change your life forever?
Start with the following skills, in no particular order, with the exception of the first one:
- Learning to learn
- Public speaking
- Forming good habits
- Mathematical thinking
- Coordination and flexibility
1. Learning to Learn
When I started my journey to learning, I was slightly disorganized and didn’t fully understand what I was getting into. With practice, I understood the importance of knowing how our brain truly works. Today, learning anything new isn’t as hard as it used to be.
Just this month, I’m learning how to write a book in Spanish, composing epic music (starting from zero knowledge in music), developing backends in the Go language, and salsa dancing (again, starting from zero knowledge of dancing).
If that sounds overwhelming to you, it should, at least for now.
And it may seem to you that I’m spending 100% of my time learning these skills, but the truth is that I’m only just practicing 30 minutes each every day. In 15 hours of deliberate practice, I’ll be able to do each of these where I’ll be confident enough to say I’ve acquired a skill.
The reason I’m able to do that is that I’ve learned to learn. While that obviously comes with practice, here’s how you can do this too:
How do I learn it?
It would take a whole book to teach you how to learn to learn. To keep this article at a respectable length, I’ll refer you to this other story I wrote which details the keys aspects of learning to learn:
The first 8 hours:
Watch 30 minutes of the Learning to Learn class on 2x speed for 16 days.
How can it change my life?
Learning new skills increases your motivation, makes you more adaptable, relatable, interesting and helps you get better jobs and earn more money.
Just yesterday, I led a workshop where every member learned to create their own online store and made money on that very same day! Who would have thought that it’s something I would have taught someday in my life!
But it’s not just me. One of the most inspiring members of my SkillUp your Life program, Prithviraj, learned to swim and that led to him getting a new awesome job, greatly increasing his salary and improving the lives of his parents and other people surrounding him.
Read his most inspiring story here.
What are some resources I can use today?
The 30-second habit
The 5-hour rule
Coursera: Learning to Learn
Book: How We Learn