There are times in life when you realise that you need to up your game and learn a new skill. It might be for personal development, career advancement, or just because it’s something you’ve always wanted to know how to do. The good news is that you can learn any new skill, fast!
Everyone learns in different ways. So, taking a moment to identify and understand your own learning style helps with your personal self-development. While the fundamental principles of learning a new skill apply across the board, you’ll need to adapt them to suit your style.
For instance, some people learn better by watching videos and tutorials, while others prefer to study books about a topic. So, the first step you need to take is to analyse your own tendencies and preferences and adapt your learning to suit your own personality, habits, and traits.
How to Learn a New Skill Fast
The 7 general principles for learning any skill fast are:
- Believe you can do it
- Set clear and realistic goals
- Start now
- Reward yourself
- Choose the right skill
- Break the skill down
- Optimise your efficiency (the Pareto Principle)
No matter what it is that you want to learn, you can apply these principles to supercharge your abilities in any field of life. From learning a musical instrument to setting up a successful business, following these principles will help you learn these skills fast.
7 General Principles for Learning Any Skill Fast
1. Believe You Can Do It
A positive mental attitude goes a long way in life and that most definitely includes learning something new. When you believe that you can do something, it’s far more likely that it will happen!
Where the mind goes the energy flows
So, when you’re approaching a new skill, always stay positive and confident in your ability to learn it. Try to find the fun in the process! The skill is a puzzle to solve, rather than an obstacle to overcome.
The way that you mentally frame the experience has a huge impact on how effectively and therefore how quickly you can take in new information.
2. Set Clear and Realistic Goals
When approaching a new skill, you need to set yourself a clear goal from the start. This includes putting a timeframe on your goal. For example, you may decide that you want to learn conversational level French within the next three months, or the basics of Bitcoin trading within one week.
Once you have defined what you are aiming to achieve, it’s easier to break the skill down into sections and set aside the necessary time each day to reach your goal.
3. Start Now
It’s easy to make plans and schedule things in your diary for later. But when it comes to learning a new skill, the best thing you can do is just start right now! If it feels like a daunting task, break it down into bite-sized chunks and dedicate an hour a day to it. As you start to become more confident with the skill you can begin to extend your study/practice sessions. Just make a start and don’t stop until you have achieved your goal.
4. Reward Yourself
Learning doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it should be fun and fulfilling! After a good study or practice session, reward yourself. Whether that means relaxing and watching a great movie, going bowling with friends, or splashing out on a lovely meal in your favourite restaurant, you should always treat yourself for a job well done!
This provides good motivation for future learning sessions. On a subconscious level, it also tells your brain that learning a new skill leads to great outcomes, even in the short term. This kind of psychological association can have amazing results! It helps both in terms of information retention and personal motivation when taking on a new challenge.
5. Choose the Right Skill
There’s probably a long list of skills that you would like to learn. But of those, how many are you willing to work to achieve? When thinking about the type of skill you want to learn, ask yourself if it’s something that you’re passionate about and whether you can use that skill to improve your daily life.
If you select a skill you’re passionate about learning, you’re much more likely to stick with it and achieve the results you want. And a skill that improves your life will be much easier to learn because you’ll see the results in a practical, real-world way!
6. Break the Skill Down
When approaching a new skill, it’s important to understand that you’re actually learning a bundle of complementary skills. For example, if you wanted to learn how to blog successfully, you’ll need to learn:
- Research and data gathering skills
- Writing, compositional, and proofreading skills
- How to network, build contacts, and create backlinks for your site
- Social media skills
- How to use WordPress
- Photo selection and basic editing skills
- Personal discipline, determination, and scheduling skills
So, if you want to learn how to blog, you can start by focusing on each of the individual parts of it. You can put aside 30 minutes a day to practice your writing, take an online course in photo editing, and watch a few free videos on how to use WordPress.
If you stick to this approach, within a matter of weeks you’ll realise that your writing has improved, you know how to use WordPress, and your photo editing is starting to look genuinely professional. You’re learning how to blog, and so much more!
7. Optimise Your Efficiency (The Pareto Principle)
There’s a valuable principle that you can apply to your learning called the ‘Pareto Principle’. Also known as the 80/20 rule, it says that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts. You can apply the Pareto Principle to learning a new skill. After you’ve broken it down into its component parts, focus your efforts on the most important components.
So, in our example of learning to blog successfully, improving your writing skills might be a priority to yield the best results. If your blog is highly pictorial, then photo editing is the second most important element to focus on.
It’s critical to focus primarily on the fundamental aspects of the skillset. Not only to optimise your efficiency but also so you don’t lose motivation. It’s easy to burn out and lose motivation if you don’t manage your time effectively. Once you start to master these key skills and are feeling comfortable with them you can start to branch out and begin to study the more peripheral skills.
You CAN Learn a New Skill Fast
We’ve all had different experiences at school and in other learning environments. Some people may have had negative experiences and find they now have an aversion to learning new things. If this is you, you can still overcome the past and design a new future for yourself where you start to pick up new skills quickly.
The Myth of Talent
One of the best ways to overcome past negative learning experiences is to abandon the myth of talent! The myth of talent tells people that they are born with specific skills. This is the idea that, if you aren’t lucky enough to have them naturally, then you can never learn them later.
This is completely false, so don’t believe it for a moment. You can learn anything you put your mind to with hard work, a good plan, and an unshakable determination to succeed.
Start the Cycle
As you begin to progress in your learning journey, your confidence will grow, and you’ll start to have much more faith in your abilities. This creates a cycle that helps you spiral upwards while you expand your skills and knowledge. So, what are you waiting for? Start learning that new skill today!