The speed at which we learn anything can determine the quality of our lives.
Imagine if you could pick up that skill you’ve always wanted to learn, in a matter of months versus years. How would that affect your life?
Countless learning experts and researchers have shown us that it is possible to learn anything in a fraction of the average expected time, it’s just a matter of following the right framework.
Now, I’m not promising any miracles here. You are going to have to put in the work, sweat, and blood to get to where you want to be.
But if you decide to take these 6 frameworks to heart and apply it into your learning process, you’ll get there a lot faster.
1. Know your outcome
The rest of the steps that follow in this article is useless if you can’t get this step right. Ask any successful person in their respective industry and they’ll tell you that they had a clear, specific vision for what they wanted to achieve.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” -Tony Robbins
Let’s say you wanted to learn a new language. Think about how you would feel if you were to speak Spanish fluently today.
- What opportunities will become available by speaking fluently?
- What would you do if you could speak this language fluently right now?
- Will you have a deeper relationship with your family/friends? Grow your business? Enjoy your travels more?
This visual, goal-setting exercise triggers dopamines into your brain, allowing you to gain momentum and energy to move mountains.
More importantly, it helps you understand your “why” for this specific skill or knowledge you want to acquire.
Anyone can figure out the how and what, with the amount of information that’s available online. But only you can figure out your “why.”
2. Model the best
“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” -Pablo Picasso
No matter what you want to learn or accomplish, there’s someone in the world that has already achieved what you want.
In other words, there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel. As Tony Robbins puts it:
Many great leaders have proven that the fastest way to master any skill, strategy or goal in life is to model those who have already forged the path ahead. If you can find someone who is already getting the results that you want and take the same actions they are taking, you can get the same results.
It doesn’t matter what your age, gender, or background is, modeling gives you the capacity to fast track your dreams and achieve more in a much shorter period of time.
In today’s information age, your mentors and coaches can be in the form of biographies, books, videos, and the abundance of knowledge that’s available for those who seek it. There’s dozens of solutions, such as Clarity to help entrepreneurs, CreativeLIVE to help photographers, or Rype to help language learners.
If you seek it, you will find it.
3. Immersion, immersion, immersion
Remember when you first learned how to drive?
When you first started, you probably had thousands of things running through your mind (including how you can avoid crashing your car!).
This is because we haven’t immersed ourselves enough yet. But after getting behind the wheel for the 100th time, we no longer have to think about the small details of knowing how to turn your lights or how hard to push on the brakes, and we’re relying mostly on muscle memory to perform the same functions.
A study done on professional violinists back up the law of immersion and the 10,000 hour rule popularized by Macolm Gladwell. The difference between “good” and “professional” players was 2,000 hours (10,000 versus 8,000).
While the 10,000 hour rule is still being debated by several learning experts, it doesn’t defeat the fact that immersion through repetition of the task at hand is the only way to achieve mastery. There are no shortcuts.
4. Get immediate feedback
Let’s say we’re driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and I gave you the fastest car in the world (I’m not much of a car guy…)
If you took the wrong exit off the highway without knowing it, the speed of your car is irrelevant. In fact, it’s a significant disadvantage at this point to have a faster car, because it means you went off course further than anyone else. This is one of the biggest cost opportunities that we face, when we’re learning something.
We try to learn everything ourselves, without seeking the feedback of others, only to realize that we were way off-course. I can’t tell you how many times I see this problem in entrepreneurs who fail to talk to customers only to launch a product that no one wants.
Like the fast car, the learners who have been trained to learn fast are facing the biggest danger. Think about what else you could have learned in that same timeframe, instead of learning the wrong thing.
Whether it’s finding a mentor or coach who has achieved what you want, or even your grandma who can give you an outside perspective, seek the feedback of others as quickly as possible. The speed of your feedback loop is correlated to the speed of your success.
5. Drop what doesn’t work
Most of us understand the deadliness of multitasking, but we still continue to do it. A study on multitasking showed that it takes an average 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back your full focus, once distracted from the task at hand.
Given that most people work 9 hour days and face a new distraction every 5 minutes, that’s a deadly statistic to face.
Since multitasking is so deadly and our focus is limited, one way we can maximize our output is to drop what doesn’t work.
The easiest way to do this is to apply the Pareto’s law into your task. In almost anything we do, there’s a few vital tasks that give you the majority of your desired results.
- 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of the people in your life
- 80% of your income comes from 20% of your tasks
- 80% of your knowledge comes from 20% of the mentors, books, or solutions
While the exact 80/20 ratio will vary in every situation, the principle is clear. Only a few things matter, and your job is to know which ones do and which ones you should drop.
6. Go long
In the popular autobiography of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he states that successful people do only two things:
We’ve discussed the importance of repetition, but mileage is often far more important. If we could analyze the number of potential talent, businesses, or innovations that have been buried due to a lack of persistence, it would be shockingly surprising.
Whenever we’re learning something new, we all go through the same learning curve — no matter how hard we work or how talented we are.
For people who don’t understand that “The Dip” is only a natural part of the learning process, it’s easy to lose motivation.
In fact, “The Dip” is when the majority of people quit — just moments before their biggest breakthrough results.
Don’t quit on your dreams just because you’re not getting the results you desire in this moment.
If you have a clear vision, someone to model, and embrace massive experimentation, there’s no reason not to give up.