Learn valuable and profitable skills in 15 to 20 hours or less.
After deliberately learning 50+ news skills in the past 18 months, I uncovered varied ways to make learning new skills enjoyable, useful, and most importantly, life changing.
Here’s the one thing you should know right away: It’s not as scary or as hard as it seems. I’ll show you the best ways I’ve learned to learn new skills, all in this article.
A lot of us learn a bunch of new skills on a regular basis, without thinking much about it. Learning a new skill is very much an activity our brain does “without our consent”.
The core of this guide is at section 5, but it’s strongly recommended that you read the preceeding sections to truly understand how your brain works (in a very general sense), what exactly is a skill, and why you should learn them.
Table of Contents
1. Quick intro: Learning and the brain
2. The Essential Guide
3. What is a skill?
4. 7 reasons for learning new skills
5. 4 Steps to learn new skills in under 20 hours
6. Should I aim for mastery?
7. Where do I take it from there?
9. Appendix A: Examples
10. Appendix B: Resources
Quick intro: learning and the brain
In this article, I won’t go into the scientific details on what happens in your brain and where. I’ll use common terms like “brain” and “memory”, to make this more accessible for everyone to read.
Ultimately, what a skill really is is a series of connections in your brain. As you practice a set of actions, your brain creates these connections for you.
While that may seem like great news, that’s not always the case. The brain doesn’t discern what is good and what is bad for you. That’s how bad habits get created. It just records your actions and stores it in your memory.
It’s also the reason why we think that new skills are hard to learn: we don’t make the right connections in our brains. We don’t do the right actions that make the learning of a new skill easier.
As such, I really want to put emphasis on a word I used in my first sentence above: “deliberate”.
When you deliberately focus your efforts on doing the right actions to learn something new, you direct your brain to create the connections you want it to make.
And that’s powerful.
The Essential Guide
This article won’t be focusing on any specific skill except for the skill of learning how to learn. The principles you will learn in this guide will apply to any skills you want to learn, from motor skills to intellectual skills.
It will also teach you the reason why it’s so important to diversify your skill set, especially in this century.
This guide you’re about to read is the culmination of the 120+ articles I have written on the subject, the learnings I’ve made through my own experimentations, the books I’ve read, the courses I’ve completed, the data I’ve collected from SkillUp Academy, and the data I’ve collected from various expert sources.
It’s the ultimate guide to help you on your journey to skill development.
Are you pumped?
I know I am!
What is a skill?
Here’s my favourite definition:
The ability to do something well
Simple and to the point. But let’s still dig deeper into it:
“Ability” shows a certain level of proficiency.
“to do” implies action (critical point).
“something”, while vague, shows that anything can be considered a skill.
“well” indicates a scale, likely 5+ on a scale of 0–10, but not necessarily 9+. Again, critical point.
Is writing a skill? You bet, but that’s not a very practical skill to aim to learn.
It turns out, skills really are just a set of sub-skills. What is the skill of writing then? It is the combination of the following skills, and then some:
Typing or handwriting
Imagination (fiction and non-fiction)
and many more!
A skilled writer will have proficiency in all of the above skills and more. In writing, and in as many other skills, it helps to have knowledge in other fields to actually have content to write about.
The above list holds the key to some learning to learn principles we’ll talk about a little further below.
But do the exercise, if not now, then shortly after, of thinking of a skill and breaking it down into its smallest components. It’s the kind of exercise that will teach you the habit of thinking smaller for your bigger thoughts, ultimately motivating you to achieve your ambitious goals. Refer to the section on building SkillUp Trees to push that even further.
Source: Danny Forest
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash