One Sunday night about 7 months ago, I was sat on the floor of my living room, tired, angry and frustrated… I had been trying to film my first YouTube video – attempt after attempt, failure after failure… I sat in a heap and decided that setting up a YouTube channel was impossible… There was so much to learn… getting the lighting right, how to edit and produce… never mind how ridiculously uncomfortable talking in front of a camera was.
This was a world where I was a novice and I didn’t have a clue where to start.
Imagine a world where, whatever you wanted to learn you could do so quickly and effectively… where you can achieve a high level of mastery, at pace. Imagine the edge that will give you in your life.
What NOT to do
Don’t spread you focus and desire to learn too thin. What I mean by this is that it is easy to be frivolous with what you want to learn. Superficial desires and multiple areas to learn in will lessen your ability to master anything.
Put simply… you only ever have 100% of your attention and focus available to you. The less focus you give to things the less you will get out. This applies to any aspect in life – so with learning here is a quick example… If you want to learn 10 things and you give them equal attention, then each area gets 10% of your focus. If you only want to learn in 1 area, you can give that 100% of your focus.
This is a crude example, but does demonstrates a key principle… Focus on less things to achieve mastery quicker! Lets just have another quick example, to hammer home this idea…
Could you complete a jigsaw puzzle quicker if
A: You focused completely on the one puzzle
B: You had to complete two jigsaw puzzles simultaneously?
How to learn faster
Have a deep connection with what you want to learn
If what you want to learn is connected to your purpose or vision then it links to something bigger, it links to a better, brighter future in your life. It will link to who you want to become… If it is real to you and means something important to you then it will be easy to commit yourself to it.
Learning because you have been told to or because you think you should do, will limit your commitment… The simple fact is you won’t put 100% effort into mastery if it doesn’t have a clear link to why it will benefit your life.
When you know what you want from your life, you will know what you have to learn and have to master to get what you want.
If you want to learn faster – figure out your purpose, figure out who you want to be – It will give you a level of commitment and work-ethic that will dwarf anything you could achieve without a purpose.
Never… ever… start from scratch. It is the slowest way to learn! No matter what you want to achieve and learn about in your life, there are people out in the world who have done similar things to what you want to do.
Copy them! Read books, go on courses, watch videos and go on line and research. There will be so many examples of how to rapidly improve your achievement and skill level in your chosen area, it would be crazy to start from scratch and try to teach yourself from square one.
With my example of setting up a YouTube channel… If I had tried to work out how to set up the lighting for my videos on my own via trial and error… then I probably would still be struggling now! However I watched a few videos and within days became competent enough to set up a decent lighting system. I learnt…. really fast…. by copying and modelling from experts.
What do you want to master? What do you want to learn? Who does that really well already? What do they do? Model it!
“The more I practice the luckier I get”
Lets be clear… gaining knowledge and learning are two different things. Gaining knowledge allows you to understand the process and the theory. The way we learn… the way we master (no matter what your learning style) is by immersion.
Absorbing yourself totally into practising is the only way to master anything… You know this from when you were a child… think about it… How did you learn to walk?
You had a clear purpose… You modelled what you saw from others around you… then you immersed yourself into practising. You put in the time, you never gave up, you kept on learning… you eventually mastered it.
The more you practise the faster you learn it… want to learn faster? Practise more?
The only thing we failed to mention about learning to walk was… feedback… the people around you gave lots of encouragement and gave feedback that was honest, constructive and had your best interests at heart.
Re-creating that feedback support network in adult life is critical to learning faster! Who in your life do you trust, is honest and will offer supportive and constructive feedback?
Utilise these people to help you get better… The feedback you get from people who only have your best interests at heart will help you more than you can imagine.
Remember… Any feedback that can help you get better… take it and use it.
Any feedback that isn’t focused on your interests of getting better or doesn’t fit with what you want to master… You are allowed to discard it!
The old saying is feedback is a gift… Do you cherish and utilise every gift you have ever been given? No… you utilise the gifts that benefit your life… It’s the same with feedback.
It is common sense advice, make your goals time-bound, give them deadlines… create leverage and a sense of urgency. Although this is common sense, it doesn’t mean it is common practice… Do the things you want to learn have a deadline on them?
When you create a sense of urgency, it increases the focus you give it and stops you being distracted – It gives you the extra leverage to apply all of your focus on the areas that are important in your life… Make sure you build in consequences and rewards too, for added motivation.
Imagine a world where, whatever you wanted to learn you could do so quickly and effectively… where you can achieve a high level of mastery, at pace. Imagine the edge that will give you in your life . That world is available to you right now…