Learning a New Skill

Published on 3 July 2023 at 09:59

According to Malcolm Gladwell it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That's 416 days if you dedicated 24 hours daily to mastering a skill. If you dedicate 8 hours every day to practice, it would 1250 days, or around 3 and a half years. Most of us don't have the time to set apart 8 hours daily to practice, but let's say you chose to practice an hour every day: that would be approximately 27 years. I'm not sure how accurate Gladwell's statement is, but I do know that learning a new skill takes time. Recently, I've picked up the guitar. I try to practice at least half an hour every day, and I'm already starting to see results. There are other factors that affect how fast someone learns something besides time, and it varies person to person. People learn in different ways, and some retain more information faster than others. This doesn't mean that not everyone can learn, just that everyone has their own pace. There are some things however that can help you make learning a new skill easier on the mind. This is what I've noticed from my own experience, and I hope it helps someone. 

1.) Be Consistent

If you've decided to dedicate an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to the new skill, make sure you stick by that. It'll keep you accountable and it'll mean you spend at least 3 hours on the skill you're developing. In my case, it also helps me not forget what I've learned so far.

2.) Patience

"This is a marathon, not a sprint", I can't remember where I heard that from, but I remind myself this constantly. A new skill won't develop overnight, be patient with yourself. Nobody was born being an expert at anything, and even the experts had to start somewhere.

3.) Don't Compare Yourself to Others

Learning is an individual experience, and the reality is that some people might have more time, resources, help, or simply have an easier time with learning that specific thing. Focus on your progress and journey, and if you do want to compare yourself to others, do it in a way that will build you up or inspire you to continue. For example, when you see or meet someone who can teach you a thing or two, take the opportunity and learn from them. Most people are happy to share what they know. 

4.) Have a Long Term Goal

I know that if I keep learning and practicing, I'll be where I want to be in a couple of years. I also know that if I don't practice, I'll never move forward, and I'll have regrets about what could have been. I know where I want to be in the future and that gives me the drive to learn in the present. If you don't have a clear goal, you might end up forgetting why you even started in the first place. 

5.) Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the process of learning, and everything that happens around you as you learn. Time doesn't stop, and you'll never be where you are at now again. This doesn't apply just to learning something new. 




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