You can learn new skills incredibly quickly as I'm going to share a four-step process that can be used to learn any skill whether it's related to school or your future career or whether it's just a fun one like learning guitar, cooking. You can break that skill down, so you can learn as much as you need on the most important parts and then start practicing them effectively to gain basic proficiency fast.
This process applies to any skill because at its core skill development whether it's physical like basketball or learning as your intake information about the skill. As you practice it, you're forging new neural pathways in your brain. Connect them with other neural pathways and you're strengthening them overtime. As you do this, you are moving into the three-stage model of skill acquisition. With the cognitive stage you're just learning about the skill and you're just forming those neural Pathways, then it moves into the associative stage where we will be doing a lot more practice and now, you're able to sort of self-reflect, pick up mistakes and change things.
Based on those mistakes, eventually you move into the autonomous stage. It is not that point where you have mastered the skill. It’s basically able to things automatically and this autonomous phase takes a long time to get to Mastery. It takes a lot of hours of practice but that doesn't mean you're doomed to spend thousands of hours in the beginning phases because if you know how to structure in the learning and practice the processes the right way, you can make a surprising amount of progress in a very short time.
In his book “The first 20 hours”, author Josh Kaufman argues that you can learn basic proficiency in almost any skill that exists in less than 20 hours of dedicated practice and his process for doing this breaks down into a series of four distinct steps. I want to issue you a bit of a challenge.
Take out a piece of paper and create a plan going through each of the steps and then start putting them into action so the first step in the process is to deconstruct the skill. Basically, you break it down into its component parts. Prioritize those parts based on your goals within that skill area. For example, talk about playing the guitar with a lot of people. You can play the guitar in lots of different ways like the different music genres. You might want to just play a few different songs or maybe you want to be like Dragon Force guitarist and be ripping solos all day long. These are very different skills, so I am breaking it down into individual sub skills like chord scales picking technique, reading tabs, and understanding musical intervals.
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