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Figuring out How to Learn Any Skill in Record Time

I remember, even while I was still in school, consciously making the decision that I would not be going to university or be pursuing a specific career path. I had no idea what I wanted to be and to be frank, the only time I ever thought about it was when people would ask me.

I wasn’t particularly good at school, I was a sportsman and more than anything I wanted my independence. For me that meant making money for myself and so as soon as I was out of school I started my first job. For many years I figured I would be drawn to something and then I would go about pursuing the relevant education required.

7 years later I still had no clue. Nothing was calling to me and so when an opportunity to travel to the UK on a working visa came along, I didn’t hesitate.

Discovering Accelerated Learning

That decision brought me to a moment on a train ride to work when I came across an advert for a Life Coaching Course. It was still a very new subject at the time but I was immediately drawn to the possibilities of it. It ended up being an expensive but thoroughly enjoyable extended therapy session but it was in this environment that I came across Accelerated Learning. I was intrigued by the overall idea of it but that was sort of where it ended. Sadly I approached it more from an entertainment stand point than realizing what I had discovered.

It wasn’t until many years later while on a year sabbatical, still wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life, that I stumbled onto online learning. I had attempted to start out in internet marketing and as I was doing so I would be trying to teach myself all the various facets by watching video courses from people all over the globe.

The first realization I came to was that I actually enjoyed the web development more than I did the marketing and decided to pursue that as a hobby. In doing that I came across Lynda.com and I was hooked.

In the comfort of my own home, in a coffee shop and even on holiday I could take these courses and teach myself exactly how to do the things I was interested in. It was actually during this time that I registered this domain name thinking that I would create a similar online learning business.

The biggest challenge for me came when I just couldn’t get enough of learning. I took course after course after course while still not finding what it is that I wanted to try specialize in.

Then, a few months ago, a friend told me he was reading the 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. I had heard about the book before but that wasn’t what grabbed me. It was around that time that Tim Ferriss had released Tools of Titans and I came upon it walking into a bookstore. Because of what insights my friend said he was gaining from his book, I stopped to check this new one out. It gripped me instantly. I quickly bought a Kindle edition and started going through it immediately. I was hooked.

The book is a fantastic read and there are so many resources you can easily get your hands on. Working through the material over the past few months has dramatically improved my way of thinking and how I am approaching many aspects of my life now. What has stood out significantly though is the ability to accelerate your learning.

It has been said that we have the ability to learn just about anything in 6 months or less. There is even a school of thought that it requires only 20 hours. I have watched a fair number of YouTube and TED Talk videos on the subject while exploring this topic for myself. It appears that if you know how to learn then you can master any skill in record time.

Sign me up!

There are a number of skills I would like to improve upon as well as add to my repertoire and if I can become, even modestly capable in 6 months or so, it’s a very appealing idea. If it works then I am excited about what I could accomplish over the next couple of decades!

I am going to explore hands on what the possibilities are and I am going to document the most helpful resources, tips and techniques I come across along the way.I look forward to learning how to learn faster. My goal is to learn from the best global teachers I can access in order to quickly up-skill in whatever subject matter I am looking to deep dive into.

These are just a few of the videos that held my interest in Learning to Learn

The Starting Point

The first part of this process I think will be figuring out how best to tackle this. I own The First 20 Hours and I will use this as a starting point to better grasp the key components of learning faster. I do know that one of the key ingredients I have at my disposal is the eagerness to see some immediate improvement in skills I really want to get better at, so I will look to give these a try first.

Before I get to that though, I have understood from the material so far that the ideal first step is to learn how to learn.

In my research I came across an online course on Super Learning which provides a foundation to improve reading speed and memory retention. It seems logical that having this skill set will allow me to get through more content and retain more of the knowledge as I gain new abilities.

I went through the entire course fairly quickly. I didn’t complete all the requirements as I went because I wanted to ensure this is going to be useful to me. It has been fun and exciting to see what the possibilities are.

You can check out my full review.

As an example, I learned how to memorize the order of the planets in our solar system in 5 mins and have fully retained the information 5 days later without having to check any notes or go through the process again. Fascinating! Do you know them?

Check out the video below to find out how. This is the kind of added resources they share from the course.

So now I am ready to decide what outcome I am looking to achieve here. The most obvious is that I want to measurably improve my memory and speed up my reading so that I can get to more valuable content quicker and also ensure that I can retain the information I am exposed to. This is a bit too abstract though.

Ideally I want to see how to use this knowledge in a very practical way. Learning how to memorize the planets or a deck of cards is great fun but I want to be sure not to waste valuable time on this if it cannot be transferred to a practical application in the short term. I hold a Channel Sales Management position in my company and deal with a lot of sales people across the country.

I would like to improve their understanding of our products in a way in which they can have meaningful presentations with their prospects adding value to the business conversation. I know that I want to try do it in a very specific way with just one of the key features in our range. It is quite a broad topic and so I know that it would ordinarily require a significant amount of effort on my part to become proficient in understanding it. Which is probably why I have been putting it off for so long.

I also know that I do not want to become a bottleneck for their sales cycle. I am only likely to see them every 4-6 weeks and as such I have to be able to teach the content in such a way that they can retain the knowledge easily for themselves so that they are not reliant on me all the time and can efficiently relay the value to any potential customer in any situation.

I am also going to start learning how to play the guitar.

Well that’s the idea anyway. I am going to give it 2 weeks so I can digest the course content thoroughly and make a start of learning the subject matter. Let’s see how I go.