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  • Hey what's going on guys?

  • So today we are tackling

  • how you can learn new skills incredibly quickly.

  • Over the course of this video,

  • I'm gonna share a four step process

  • that you can use to take any skill,

  • whether it's related to school or your future career,

  • or whether it's just a fun one like guitar or cooking,

  • and break that skill down

  • so that you can learn as much as you need to

  • about the most important parts

  • and then start practicing them effectively

  • so you can gain basic proficiency really really fast.

  • Now this process we're gonna talk about

  • applies to any skill,

  • because at its core,

  • skill development, whether it's really physical

  • like basketball

  • or whether it's really mental like mathematics,

  • it's all learning.

  • As you intake information about the skill,

  • and as you practice it,

  • you're forging new neural pathways in your brain,

  • you're connecting them with other neural pathways,

  • and you're strengthening them over time.

  • As you do this,

  • you move though what's called the three stage model

  • or skill acquisition,

  • which starts with the cognitive stage

  • where you're just learning about the skill,

  • and you're just forming those neural pathways.

  • Then moves into the associative stage

  • where you're doing a lot more practice,

  • and now you're able to sort of self reflect

  • and pick out mistakes and change things

  • based on those mistakes.

  • And eventually you move into the autonomous stage.

  • At that point you have mastered the skill,

  • and it's basically able to be done automatically.

  • And this autonomous phase takes

  • a really long time to get to.

  • Mastery takes a lot of hours of practice.

  • But that doesn't mean you're doomed to spend

  • dozens of hours in the beginning phases,

  • because if you know how to structure the learning

  • and the practice processes the right way,

  • you can make a surprising amount of progress

  • in a very very short period of time.

  • In fact, in his book The First 20 Hours,

  • author Josh Kaufman argues that you can learn

  • basic proficiency in almost any skill that exists

  • in under 20 hours of dedicated practice.

  • And his process for doing this breaks down

  • to a series of four distinct steps.

  • And in a second we're gonna go over those steps,

  • but first I wanna issue you a bit of a challenge.

  • If you're sitting there watching this video,

  • and you have a skill you've been wanting to learn,

  • use this framework to create a plan for doing that.

  • Once the video's over,

  • take out a piece of paper and create a plan

  • going through each of the steps,

  • and then start putting it into action.

  • So the first step in Kaufman's process

  • is to deconstruct the skill.

  • Basically you break it down into its component parts,

  • and then you prioritize those parts

  • based on your particular goals within that skill area.

  • Now to give you an example

  • let's talk about playing the guitar.

  • A lot of people want to play the guitar,

  • but there are lots of different ways to play the guitar.

  • There's tons of different musical genres,

  • you might want to just play a few different songs,

  • or maybe you want to be like Slash

  • or like DragonForce guitarists

  • and be rippin' solos all day long, right?

  • These are very different skills.

  • So, by breaking it down into individual sub-skills,

  • chords, scales, picking technique,

  • reading tabs, understanding musical intervals,

  • you end up with a list of building blocks

  • that you can then prioritize and take action on.

  • The second step in Kaufman's process

  • is the education step.

  • Basically at this point you want to take each sub-skill

  • that you've prioritized and learn enough about it

  • that you can practice well

  • and identify your mistakes and self-correct.

  • Now notice I said enough about each sub-skill,

  • not as much as you can about each sub-skill.

  • Because I know personally I'm the kind of guy

  • who will walk into Barnes & Noble

  • and look at every single book on the shelf

  • related to what I'm interested in,

  • and think, I should buy every single one here

  • and read them all before getting started.

  • And that's just not how good skill development works,

  • especially if you want to do it quickly.

  • You need to learn just enough about each sub-skill

  • so that you can start practicing,

  • getting your hands dirty, and making mistakes,

  • because then you're gonna know what you should correct.

  • Alright, step number three in the process

  • is to eliminate any potential barriers to success

  • or barriers to your progress and your practice.

  • And in my mind,

  • the most likely thing that's gonna get in the way

  • of your practice is a lack of motivation in the long-term.

  • So, find a way to motivate yourself on a constant basis.

  • Maybe it's having an accountability partner,

  • maybe it's joining a forum where you can talk

  • about your interest,

  • or maybe it's just making a record

  • of every single day you practice

  • so you can see a chain developing

  • that you don't want to break.

  • Alright, so skill has been deconstructed,

  • learning has been done,

  • and barriers have been sliced in half with a samurai sword.

  • We are now on the fourth and final step of the process

  • which is simply to practice deliberately.

  • In The First 20 Hours,

  • Josh Kaufman's rule is that you should practice deliberately

  • until you've achieved your goals for each sub-skill

  • that you prioritized,

  • or until you've hit 20 hours of dedicated practice.

  • And what he recommends

  • is that you actually practice by using a timer or a clock,

  • and track the amount of hours you put in.

  • Because when you're practicing something difficult,

  • it can be really really easy to overestimate

  • how much time you spend practicing.

  • Now that we've gotten through the four step process,

  • I want to give you a few additional tips

  • you can use to make your skill development journey

  • even more successful.

  • And the first one is to identify the work

  • of somebody who is a master

  • or somebody who is where you want to be.

  • Analyze that work as best as you can,

  • and then try to imitate it.

  • Now a lot of people are gonna say,

  • this is copying, this is ripping people off,

  • but actually as long as you're not passing off

  • this work as your own,

  • this is how a lot of people learn their skills.

  • And in fact in Japanese martial arts,

  • there's a concept called shuhari

  • that is exactly this.

  • And in music, it's the same.

  • The famous jazz trumpet player Clark Terry

  • believed that imitation was in fact

  • an essential part of becoming a great musician.

  • And he told his students that music learning happens

  • in a three stage process,

  • which he called imitate, assimilate, and innovate.

  • Here's what he said about the role of imitation.

  • "By imitating the players you love,

  • "you'll begin to understand the music

  • "on a deeper level and begin to see a personal sound

  • "develop in your own approach to improvisation.

  • "Questions that can't be answered

  • "by music theory or etude books,

  • "like how to play longer lines or how to articulate

  • "and swing, will reveal themselves as you start

  • "to imitate the masters."

  • Part of the reason this tactic works so well

  • is it gives you a method to go way way beyond

  • your comfort zone and your current level of skill.

  • Because if you can take something that a master made,

  • and you can analyze it from every angle,

  • you can probably recreate certain aspects of it

  • even if you don't know exactly what you're doing

  • or why you're doing it.

  • Then later on as you're kinda backfilling your knowledge

  • by learning the theory and all the fundamentals,

  • you're gonna be able to say,

  • oh that's why I did that, or that's how I did that.

  • I didn't understand it at first, but now I get it.

  • And I kind of have like a rung to pull myself up

  • because I did that work in the first place.

  • The Stanford mathematics professor Ravi Vakil

  • called it backfilling.

  • And here's how he described it in terms of mathematics.

  • "mathematics is so rich and infinite

  • "that it is impossible to learn it systematically,

  • "and if you wait to master one topic

  • "before moving on to the next,

  • "you'll never get anywhere.

  • "Instead, you'll have tendrils of knowledge

  • "extending far from your comfort zone.

  • "Then you can later backfill from these tendrils,

  • "and extend your comfort zone."

  • Of course, another way to learn from the masters

  • is to simply be taught by them.

  • Which is why another way you can really accelerate

  • your skill development process

  • is by finding a teacher or a coach or a course

  • that you can take.

  • Now I know from personal experience,

  • having a coach or somebody who can tell you your mistakes

  • is probably the most valuable thing in the world.

  • But you don't have to let geography be a limiting factor

  • in your access to teachers

  • because there are 100s of 1000s of tutorials

  • and online courses that you can use for basically

  • any skill that you're trying to learn.

  • And one place where you can find those courses

  • that I wanna let you know about

  • is Skillshare, who's actually the sponsor of this video.

  • Now Skillshare is an online learning community

  • that has over 12,000 courses in a ton of different subjects.

  • And I've actually been taking a few of those

  • in After Effects animation,

  • but they also have courses in photography,

  • graphic design, logo design,

  • and things like cooking, guitar, presentation skills.

  • In fact, they have a presentation skills class

  • from Simon Sinek who gave probably my favorite

  • TED talk of all time.

  • But one of the reasons I really like Skillshare

  • is that it gives you the ability to get feedback

  • from both your teacher and from other people

  • who are taking the same course.

  • There's two ways it does this.

  • Number one, below the videos in any course you're taking

  • there's a comments section.

  • And if you ask a question, you can get an answer

  • from the course instructor.

  • But also, most of the courses on Skillshare

  • have a participation component.

  • Basically there is a project section of the course

  • where you can upload your own work for feedback.

  • Now a membership to Skillshare

  • is normally around $8 a month,

  • which is right around the same price as Netflix,

  • and potentially a lot more useful.

  • But, if you wanna get three months

  • of completely unlimited use on Skillshare,

  • you can get it for 99 cents by using the link

  • in the description below,

  • and I'll have a few more details about that

  • at the end of the video.

  • Before we end this video though,

  • I've got three additional tips for you.

  • And all three of them

  • relate to making your practice sessions

  • more effective and more useful.

  • The first one is find a way to record

  • some of the practice you do.