There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; there are things we know we know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. – Donald Rumsfeld, 2002 United States Secretary of Defense
We all crave to be better at something. There are so many things to learn in today’s world, experience, though most people would instead stick to what they already know and not bother to leap and experience something new. After all, self-improvement is necessary to get ahead at work. Once you know what you want to be better at, then be it public speaking, using social media, or analyzing data — how do you start? If you are to ask somebody what may prevent them from learning a new skill, I am sure they would use time as an excuse. If you are serious about picking up a new skill and learning it well, and learning it on time, you can follow some general rules. Though, of course, learning techniques will vary depending on the skill and the person.
To ensure you get to success, listed here are 60 ways to become skilled at anything quickly to encourage you to get qualified.
- Be curious
Read anything and everything you can get your hands on – and the massive part of your reading should be reading that is hard copy (books, newspapers, magazines). This is because we cherish information differently when reading offline than when reading online. So ask yourself serious questions about what you’ve read, and it will lead you to read more things in different fields. So engage yourself in studying–reading books, online courses, attending college, watching videos, attending seminars and training programs, learning from other experts within the field.
- Be uncomfortable
You learn best when you’re reaching. Though Flow is excellent, it is not the best way to learn. When you want to be stretched to the edge of your ability, then it needs to be hard, and that’s how your brain grows. We learn when we’re in our discomfort zone and we’re struggling; that’s when you’re getting smarter. The more time you spend there, the faster you learn. It’s better to spend a very high quality ten minutes, or even ten seconds than it is to spend a mediocre hour. You want to practice where you are on the edge of your ability, reaching over and over again, making mistakes, failing, realizing those mistakes, and getting again.
- Check your readiness
When working on a new skill or competency, you need to ask yourself two things. The first is your goal attainable. Weintraub explains,
“There are certain limits to what you can learn,” For example, you may want to be a brain surgeon but not have the eye-hand coordination required.” The second thing is, how much time and energy can you give to the project? “It’s not like going to the pharmacy and getting a prescription filled,” says Weintraub. Self-improvement is hard work. Halvorson agrees: “Many people implicitly believe that if you have to work hard at something, it means you lack ability. This is rubbish.” Instead, recognize that learning a new skill takes extreme commitment. Unless your goal is attainable and you’re prepared to work hard, you won’t get very far.
- Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer
Break down the skill that you want to learn into tiny pieces and learn techniques to master several portions. The small details will come together to build up the whole skill. For example, when you want to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without strumming the chord. Once you can change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.
- Imagine yourself doing the skill
Make it a habit to expose yourself to performing the skill you are trying to learn. I have learned that throughout this, visualizing yourself doing the task boosts your morale, and you get more confident within yourself that you can master the skill exactly how you want to.
- Teach someone else
If you imagine that you’ll need to teach someone else the task you are trying to grasp, you can speed up your learning and remember more, according to a study done by Washington University in St. Louis. The expectation changes your mindset so that you go about more effective approaches to learn than those who know to pass a test, according to John Nestojko, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology and co-author of the study. Sleeping between two learning sessions significantly improves retention. Nestojko writes, “When teachers prepare to teach, they tend to seek out key points and organize information into a coherent structure.” “Our results suggest that students also turn to these types of effective learning strategies when they expect to teach.”
- Be cocky, but be humble
Once you passed the first few hours of exercise and are starting to pick up the skill a little better, feel free to act like you already have been doing it for a while. This is another way to boost your confidence and make learning, even more go a lot better. On the other hand, don’t let it set to your head. The worst thing you can do to your progress is too cocky because then you will feel like you know everything about it when the truth is that you probably have a lot more to learn. It’s okay to feel proud of how far you came, but don’t forget to keep moving forward. And don’t keep telling yourself that you don’t have any time to learn a new skill.
- Make sure it’s needed
Weintraub suggests you also make sure the skill is topical to your career, organization, or both. You may be jazzed up about learning how to speak in front of large audiences, but does your manager value that? Unless you need the skill for your job or a future position, it’s unlikely you’ll get money for training or support from your manager. Gaining a new skill is an investment, and you need to know upfront what the return will be.
- Complete short sprints
To force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, rather than work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. For this, your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs. One study found that the students who took two short breaks when studying performed better than those who didn’t take gaps between two groups of students.
- Know how you learn best
Some learn best by looking at graphics or reading, and others would rather watch demonstrations or listen to things being explained. Still, others need a “hands-on” experience. Halvorson says you can figure out your ideal learning style by looking back. “Reflect on some of your past learning experiences, and make a list of good ones and another list of bad ones,” she says. “What did the good, effective experiences have in common? How about the bad ones? Identifying common strands can help you determine the learning environment that works best for you.”
- Use the power of mental spacing
While it sounds counterintuitive, you can learn faster when you practice distributed learning, or “spacing.” In an interview with The New York Times, Benedict Carey, author of How We Learn, says, The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens says learning is like watering a lawn. “You can water a lawn once a week for 90 minutes or three times a week for 30 minutes,” he said. “Spacing out the watering during the week will keep the lawn greener over time.”
To retaining material, Carey said it’s best to review the information one to two days after first studying it. He said in the interview,
“One theory is that the brain pays less attention during short learning intervals.” “So repeating the information over a longer interval, say a few days or a week later, rather than in rapid succession, sends a stronger signal to the brain that it needs to retain the information.”
- Listen to conversations
Listen to debates and ask yourself questions about both sides of the discussion. It will be more effective to learn a skill.do you agree? If so, why? What are the facts being presented, and what are your opinions? Where did the presenter get their information from? Etc. You can find these questions and research them to gain skills faster. Ask people around you about what they know, or ask your friends and family what they think of you. Sometimes talking to people helps us gain a new perspective or learn something new. Listening to what people think of you or how they run their lives can shed a lot of light and alter our thoughts and actions.
- Find your motivation
Getting good at something takes time and effort. You may also experience some setbacks along the way. That’s why it’s significant that you find your motivation. It helps you go through the difficulties. My motivation for the contest is twofold. First, I want to challenge myself to be the best that I can be. Losing is fine as long as I have done my best. Second, I began to enjoy speech evaluation. I see it as the art of making a good speech even better. It’s challenging and fun for me. Whatever it is you do, find your motivation—having a strong why is essential.
- Train As You Fight
When I spoke to Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kenny, he told me, “Train like you fight.” You want your practice to be as similar to the real thing as possible. Not only will you be better prepared, but you learn much better when the context you practice in matches the context you will eventually perform in. How strong is this effect? Of course, insanely intense. Studies show that if you are drunk or stoned while studying, you will perform better if you are drunk or stoned during the test. While seriously impaired, you are looking for wasted time in more ways than one, as millions of students have learned the hard way. Still, generally speaking, we perform better on tests when in the same state of mind as when we studied, and, yes, that includes mild forms of intoxication from alcohol and arousal from stimulants.
- The sweet spot
You want to be successful 60 to 80 percent of the time when training. You know that’s the sweet spot for improvement. When learning is too difficult, we quit. When it’s too easy, we stopped then too. Consistently be upping the challenge to stay in that 60 to 80 percent zone. You don’t want to be succeeding 40 percent of the time. That’s flailing around. You don’t want to be growing 95 percent of the time. That’s too easy. You want to constantly be toggling, adjusting the environment so that you’re succeeding 60 to 80 percent of the time.
- Start small
Weintraub says Self-improvement can feel overwhelming. “You can’t take on everything. If you do, you’ll never do it”. Instead, choose one or two skills to focus on at a time and break that skill down into manageable goals. For example, if you’re trying to become more assertive, you might focus on speaking up more often in meetings by pushing yourself to talk within the first five minutes.
Put forward a fact or a reality, an idea or a conclusion – and see how other people react. Were you wrong? Have you chosen an unreliable source? Whether the information was presented in a comprehensive or biased manner? Did other people suggest checking out other data sources? Did the conversation lead to a new topic with new ideas? Find out the answers to the people you are talking to, whether they really want to learn or just want to validate their existing opinion.
- Start With What’s Important
“The hallmark of expertise is figuring out what information is important.” There are many components to any skill. Practicing all the skills doesn’t produce the same results. Bestselling author Tim Ferries of The 4-Hour Workweek said, “Do an 80-20 analysis and ask yourself, “Which 20% of these things I need to learn will get me 80% of the results that I want?” When Tim was learning chess from champion Josh Waitzkin, they did things the opposite from how most chess instruction works. “Josh would do things in reverse. He took all the pieces off the board and started training me with King and Pawn versus King. By doing these, he was teaching me not rote memorization of openings, but compelling principles what can apply to the entire game in many different circumstances.” So you’re practicing what’s essential. That’s extensive.
- Get the right help
Eliciting support from others can significantly increase learning. Find someone you trust who has mastered the skill you’re trying to gain and look beyond your immediate manager who has to evaluate you. Weintraub suggests you ask yourself: “Who in my organization, other than my boss, would notice my changes and give me honest feedback?” Then approach that person and say something like, “You are so comfortable with the skill, something I’m not particularly good at. I’m trying to work on that and would love to spend some time with you, learn from you, and get your feedback.” If you can’t find a mentor inside your company, look for people in your industry or from your network. “Ultimately, you want to go with the best teacher. Suppose there is someone in your organization who is able and willing to provide quality mentoring, then great. If not, seek outside help,” says Halvorson.
- Reflect along the way
For moving from experimentation to mastery, you need to reflect on what you are learning. Otherwise, the new skill won’t stick. Halvorson and Weintraub both suggest talking to others. “Always share your goals with those individuals who can provide informational or emotional support along the way,” says Halvorson. “Even if that person doesn’t have the answer, he can help you and keep you honest about how much you’re improving,” says Weintraub. Talking about your progress helps you get valuable feedback, keeps you open, and affixes the change.
- Stop reading. Start doing
If you keep the “Rule of Two-Thirds” in mind, then you need to spend only one-third of your time studying. For the other two-thirds of your time, you need to do the activity, practice and test yourself. The succinct your method is to the real thing, the faster you learn. Our brains evolved to discover by doing something, not by hearing about them. This is one of the reasons that, for a lot of skills, it’s much better to spend about two-thirds of your time testing yourself on it rather than absorbing it. There’s a rule of two-thirds. If you want to, say, memorize a passage, it’s better to spend 30 percent of your time reading it and the other 70 percent of your time testing yourself on that knowledge.
- Change it up
When learning a new motor skill, changing the way you practice it can help you seize it faster, according to a new study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In an experiment, participants were asked to learn a computer-based task. Those who used a modified learning technique during their second session performed better than those who repeated the same method. The findings suggest that reconsolidation is a process in which existing memories are recalled and modified with new knowledge that plays a key role in strengthening motor skills, writes Pablo A. Celnik, senior study author and professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. “What we found is if you practice a slightly modified version of a task you want to master,” he writes, “you learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the same thing multiple times in a row.”
- Explore your environment
It could be as simple as walking around the block and noticing, really noticing what is going on around you. Which building is becoming decrepit? Who are the people in the street, and what is their relationship to each other – for example, are the parent and child, siblings, etc. Make a point of noticing your environment.
- Find a role model
Watch the best people work, and it is one of the most powerful things you can do. It motivates and inspires you, and it’s how you were built to learn. Study the best to be the best. When we look at someone we want to become and have a self-explanatory idea of where we want to be, it uncovers a tremendous amount of energy. We’re social creatures, and when we get the idea that we want to join some illusive circle above us, that is what lights up motivation. “Look, they did it. I can do it.” It sounds fundamental, but spending time staring at the best can be one of the most powerful things you do.
25. Commit to the long term
Asking someone, “How long are you going to be doing this?” was the best predictor of how skilled that person would end up being. Merely committing to the long haul had huge effects. The question that ended up being the most predictive of skill was, “How long are you going to be doing this?” The commitment was the difference-maker. The people who combined commitment with a few practice skills went off the charts. So commit to the long haul. Don’t give up.
- Take a study nape
Nape is one of the habits of the most successful people in any field. Naps are steroids for your brain, and it isn’t for the lazy. Sleep is essential to learning. Naps are a tool that will make you the best. Napping is a high-performance activity. If you looked into the habits of highly successful people, you would see many naps, a lot of recoveries. It’s sort of our brains’ janitorial service. It helps us clean out the stuff we don’t want. It also helps us work on ideas while we’re asleep. Top performers use sleep as a tool. Downtime is essential for retaining what you learn, and getting sleep in between study sessions can boost your recall up to six months later, according to new research published in Psychological Science. In an experiment held in France, participants were taught the Swahili translation for 16 French words in two sessions. Participants in the “wake” group completed the first learning session in the morning and the second session on the same day. Participants in the “sleep” group completed the first session in the evening, slept, and then ended the second session the following morning. Participants who had slept between sessions recalled about 10 of the 16 words, on average, while those who hadn’t slept remembered only about 7.5 words. “Our results suggest that interleaving sleep between practice sessions leads to a twofold advantage, reducing the time spent relearning and ensuring a much better long-term retention than practice alone,” writes psychological scientist Stephanie Mazza of the University of Lyon. “Previous research suggested that sleeping after learning is definitely a good strategy, but now we show that sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves such a strategy.”
- Keep a notebook
Most people taking an ownership role in their talent development use the magical tool called a notebook. Keep a performance journal. If you want to get better, you need a map, and that journal is that map. You can write down what you did today, what you tried to do, where you made mistakes. It’s a place to reflect. It’s a place to capture information. It’s a place to be able to track your progress. It’s one of the most underused yet powerful tools that I could imagine anybody using. While it’s faster to take notes on a laptop, using a pen and paper will help you learn and comprehend better. Researchers at Princeton University and UCLA found that when students took notes by hand, they listened more actively and were able to identify important concepts. Taking notes on a laptop, however, leads to mindless transcription, as well as an opportunity for distraction, such as email. “In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand,” writes coauthor and Princeton University psychology professor Pam Mueller. “We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”
- Do contemplation
It’s not enough just to know what to do; you must also apply it. In my case, I did that by exercising evaluation. I watched speeches on YouTube and tried to evaluate them. I would take notes and practiced giving a two-to-three minute assessment of the address. It’s useful because it helps me realize issues to work on, such as managing my time. Drill what you have learned. The more you do it, the better.
- Know how to measure progress
To get good at something, you must know how good is measured. What are the metrics? How do you know that you are making progress? Knowing them will help you focus your effort.
I’m lucky because the contest has clear criteria. I know what the judges expect so that I can improve myself along those lines.
- Take risks
To get good at something, you must take risks. Not taking risks means not growing. In my case, I know that I could do wrongs such as going overtime and getting disqualified and embarrass myself. But that’s a risk I have to take if I need to grow. Don’t aim to be perfect because you may get discouraged if you fail. Instead, aim to be the best that you can be. There is nothing to regret as long as you have done your best.
- Learn a new language
Learn new languages without a particular need and develops and opens our minds. It is very beneficial to our academic and work environment. It allows you to get to know other cultures very well. And it is a significant skill.
- Make lists and write
Start your day with a to-do list, which will keep you organized and help you to be skilled. You will see that the days when you don’t make lists will be much less productive than those when you do them. Another essential skill is writing about your personal growth and commenting on what you have learned. This will motivate you to keep improving yourself. You can also write a journal, as it is a great way to learn from yourself. As you register, you are clarifying your thinking. Then read what you wrote from the perspective of a third person to learn more about yourself, and end of the day, you will find yourself skilled.
- Challenge someone
Competition is one of the best ways to grow up personally and to be skilled. We know that working together always makes tasks more manageable. Set a goal, such as losing weight, exercising, collecting money, etc., and challenge a friend to see who does it first. The two would earn more than they would have made if they competed with themselves by doing this process.
- Reduce the time you waste
I realize that the open chat program always wastes a lot of time. Now you can spend this time doing other better things. Do it only when you need to chat. During this time you gain other good skills. Very few are aware of television programs. For this reason, you can use the time spent watching television constructively for other purposes, such as connecting with friends, doing the work you enjoy, practicing, and so on.
- Figure out what you’re interested in
You need first to evaluate your current position. What do you know right now that you are close to being an expert in? You are probably already an expert, or close to one, at what you are currently doing, so you can quickly build upon that expertise and take it to the next level. This is a much more accessible, less time-intensive route to take than learning something entirely new. You’ll need to find out what does. Make this your priority. Whatever way you take, what you choose to be an expert in has to be inspiring so that the necessary reading and learning seem effortless to you because it resonates with every fiber of your being. Everyone has one; some have more than one–you just need to find it.
- Focus on one subject at a time
Get rid of your cluttered mind and focus on one subject at a time. You are overwhelming yourself by trying to learn so many things simultaneously, and it will only set you up for failure. If you want to become a website designer, begin learning how to build one form of website–say, WordPress–before taking on all the others. Once you feel comfortable with one, move to another. Before you know it, you will begin to feel like and be an expert website designer.
- Leave a bad habit
Are you not doing the exercises? Are you always late? Do you spend a lot of time in your armchair? Eat your nails? Do you smoke? To leave a bad habit, the first thing to do is to recognize that we have it. Then identify how it affects you, look for a substitute, and mostly avoid situations that motivate you to do those bad things. It is also essential that you reward yourself as you progress.
- Remember that practice makes perfect
Becoming an expert overnight is not possible and isn’t going to happen. So you are going to have to put a lot of work and dedication into becoming an expert at anything. Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in particular bound. While you may not have to devote that much time to become an expert, depending on the subject you select, you are looking at hundreds to thousands of hours of some or all of them. Practicing means doing what you are learning. Whereas in the above example of a website designer, you can adjoin what you have learned by creating websites on your own. By exercising what you know, you are going much deeper into what it takes to be an expert in that field, working out the knocks, investigating, and solving problems not covered through studying and instruction alone.
You are finding ways to document your searches. Create a blog or journal of the steps you are taking to understand many aspects of your newfound skills. Write or talk at a conference about tests and resolutions so that others can learn from you. Teaching others what you have learned will go a long way towards achieving your new field of expertise. The upside is that learning and becoming an expert will be fun and exciting if you find your passion and your thing in life. If this is not the case, you may have made a wrong choice, and you have to go back to the previous position.
- Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence allows us to be aware of and in charge of our emotions. Learn to become more aware of your feelings and responses to certain situations. Tres Roeder explains, founder and president of Roeder Consulting in Cleveland, Ohio, “Awareness is the foundational skill along the path to improved interpersonal skills.”
- Keep your emotions in balance
Sharpening your emotional intelligence can help you to keep your emotions balanced and boost your confidence. Notes Debbie Mandel, MA, stress-management specialist and author of Addicted to Stress, “To be in rhythm with others, you have to be in rhythm with yourself.”
- Recognize when you or others are stressed
Advises Mandel, “When it comes to dealing with difficult situations, keep in mind that “proper timing can lead to a better outcome. If you or the other person is stressed, you will lose common ground.”
- Resolve conflict in a positive way
A certain amount of conflict is unavoidable in any relationship, whether be it at work or home. Try effective ways to improve your people skills and resolve the dispute positively. It would be best if you focused on the present. Holding onto old hurts or grudges makes it hard to move forward and build a better future.
- Think about respecting the other person
It would be best if you were not controlling them. Mandel notes, “The goal is to adapt to situations and people, not impose yourself on them. You can show respect for other people’s opinions without agreeing with them,” Focus on compromise rather than on winning or losing. “In a constructive conflict, the goal is to aim for an equitable compromise. There are no winners or losers,” Mandel says.
- Learn to Listen to Others
Pay attention to inflection. “Research shows the vast majority of communication occurs at the non-verbal level,” “Pay attention to not only what people are saying, but also how they are saying it,” advises Roeder.
They are taking time to listen before you respond. When others are speaking, instead of listening to them, many people pay attention to what they plan to say next. To do this can cause you to miss key elements of the other person’s point and results in a lack of proper communication. So take the time to be patient and listen before launching into your point of view.
- Don’t interrupt
“Let the other person talk without interrupting. Focusing on what another person is speaking and making eye contact helps us understand what is meaningful,” Mandel notes.
- Ask for Feedback
You take a moment to ask for feedback; that means you communicate better, and you are more likely to hear and share ideas.
No one likes to be preached to. People don’t want to feel like they hear a lecture. By asking for feedback and other people’s opinions on a matter, you show that you are willing to listen and explore different points of view.
- Maintain a positive attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude makes understanding easier. Asking for feedback shows that you have a confident and positive attitude. “People gravitate to positive people because good moods are contagious,” Mandel says.
- Respect and Be Aware of Cultural Differences
We need to understand eye contact. In our culture, direct eye contact often indicates sincerity, while in another culture, it could be considered rude. And another fact expects some misunderstanding. In cross-cultural communication, it is best to go slowly and step back instead of getting disappointed. In our culture, we like to get to the point. In other cultures, it may be significant to establish rapport before discussing potentially controversial issues. Keep these differences in mind can minimize your melancholy if and when you encounter any snags in communication.
- Seek out New People
Meet new people. It can enhance your creativity, and help broaden your perspective on life, and improve your emotional intelligence. You need to use body language. And pay attention to non-verbal communication cues such as good posture, appropriate contact, and friendly gestures.
- Be aware of the situation around you
“That includes awareness of yourself, awareness of others, and awareness of the situational context within which the relationship is occurring,” Roeder says. Keep external factors in mind, such as potential stressors and distractions; this can make it easier to help navigate new situations with people you don’t know very well.
- Maintain Relationships
To respect others, you must respect yourself. “Self-respect means to know what you uniquely bring to the table. When you feel good about yourself, you will be positive and affirming to others,” Mandel says. You should have the right attitude toward others. The emotional intelligence needed to maintain relationships, and it is more than just people skills, involves having the right attitude. This includes expecting challenges along the way, keeping things in perspective, having a sense of humor, and not taking yourself too seriously.
- Challenge yourself
One of the handy ways to learn something new and practice it is to teach and share how to do it. So spread what you know with your team, your manager, or your co-workers. You can force yourself to do it by putting a “teaching” date on your calendar or agreeing to lead a formal training session a few months down the road. With objectives like those, your learning will be much more focused and effective.
- Be patient
Halvorson says, “Too often, we approach a new skill with the attitude that we should nail it right out of the gate.” The reality is that it takes much longer. “It’s not going to happen overnight. It usually takes six months or more to develop a new skill,” says Weintraub. And it may take longer for others to see and appreciate it. He says, “People around you will only notice 10% of every 100% change you make.”
55. Make Stakes
Do establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to donate to a charity. You hate if you do not meet your goals, or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.
You need to keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment.
- Record Yourself
Watching yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very useful for musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.
- Join a Group
There are considerable benefits to learn in a group. You are not only able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, so get connected with other like-minded individuals.
- Time Travel
You can visit the library. Though everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.
Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom aching in the ancient texts.
- Ditch the Distractions
You need to make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid learning progress. That means ditching any social media, the temptation to check any email. Because the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Before you sit down to learn new skills, you must make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.
For every single and small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will get release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. So have a piece of chocolate and pat yourself on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.