Gaining mastery when learning any new skill requires time, but I want to show you how you can gain mastery within the shortest possible time. I recently decided to re-learn swimming after a long while and within two visits to the swimming pool, I have made significant progress that even those who frequently visit the pool to train require a longer time.
What are the most important tips for gaining mastery of any new skill in the shortest possible time? Here are some of my recommended tips.
1. Understand the basics
Most people would want to do the big things immediately but they don’t know that the basics are what you need to get a grasp of the bigger things. Learn to patiently understand the basics. There is no point in trying to skip a step because you want to be fast. If you efficiently learn the basics, you would make more progress than someone who decides to jump ahead of you from the beginning.
2. Ask questions
Again, many people believe they know all it takes already. They don’t think about what they do not fully understand, and even if they do, they are too proud to ask questions. Asides from trying to learn based on the information you have gathered, you should also try to reflect on things you may not have understood, and ask your teacher(s) specific questions. That way, you learn faster and more effectively.
3. Read the manual, if available
Not all skills come with a pre-written manual but if the skill you are learning has a manual, do well to read it. I have severally experienced cases where I had struggled to find solutions to something from other sources when it was right there staring at me in the manual. If possible, devote a good time to studying the manual even before you start practising.
4. Devote time to practising
Have a routine practice time. There is no substitute for practising. I might have promised you that you would learn a skill in the shortest possible time but that is not to exclude practice from the picture. Whatever knowledge you may have acquired, you need to nurture it by practising with it. That way, it becomes a part of you which is essentially the goal of mastery.
If you do not have enough time to practice, which I expect you should make out, you can always practice what you have learnt in your head, as though you are simulating how it would be in real life. This method particularly works for people with a very busy schedule, like me.
5. Relate what you are learning to what you already know
The best way to remember what you are learning is to link it with what you already know. This is the best way to consolidate memory but very few people know this. If you want to be fast with learning your new skill and be able to remember what you are learning, you should link what you are learning to what you already know.
For example, understanding that you need to relax your body and form a spindle shape like that of a fish when learning how to swim will help you to master the act of swimming faster than someone who is mechanically just learning how to swim.
6. Discuss your ideas with a friend
When you discuss your ideas with a friend, you test your knowledge and you have a chance to get more insights from what they would say too. Discussions are very important when it comes to learning anything because it also helps you test yourself on what you know and what you don’t know. Authorities have also said that you learn faster when you teach what you have studied. A discussion gives you an avenue to share what you know while consolidating what you already know.
7. Observe those that are ahead of you
One of the fastest ways to learn any skill is by watching those that are ahead of you. There is so much more you’d learn simply by observing than you would if you read the biggest books about that skill. This is where apprenticeship remains one of the best ways to learn a new skill. The more you observe, the faster you eventually become at learning that skill.
8. Ask for critiquing
It is easy to waste time doing something in error. Without asking for a critical third opinion, you are very likely to proceed in gross error without knowing it. This is why it is important to ask someone, especially one that is more experienced, to critique your work or activity. Never feel too proud to ask for criticism on any new skill you are learning.
9. Review and critique your past performance
You don’t necessarily have to have a critique before you get constructive criticism. Sometimes, you can do it by yourself. Gauge your previous performance with the new knowledge you have acquired today and see how you can improve on them. That way, you have a standpoint from where you can improve yourself and gain mastery within a very short time.
10. Make the sacrifices
Nothing great comes without a measure of sacrifice. That includes learning a new skill within a short time. You need to pay the sacrifice of practising consistently. You might need to let go of your party time and leisure because you have to practise your new skill. If you diligently do this, you should not have any problems meeting up with your senior peers within the fastest possible time.
Things that can slow down your learning pace
Some of the factors that can slow down your pace in learning a new skill include, but are not limited to the following:
- Lack of committed teachers: Teachers are scarce. That means you have to learn new skills all by yourself most of the time.
- Absence of the right tools: In the absence of the right tools, you are forced to learn using improvised and less efficient tools which can affect your learning pace.
- Busy schedules: This can affect your devotion to practising your new skill.
- Cost of training: Training might be expensive and you might be forced to drop out without continuing.
- Low motivation.
- Inability to understand the right approach: This is what this post tried to address–to gain an understanding of your new skill, those tips above will be very helpful.
The Role of Perseverance
Even when you don’t grasp what you are learning, perseverance keeps you pushing without giving up. And of course, there are going to be such times when it feels like you are not making progress.
Perseverance is the ability to continue your vocation when it seems not to be yielding encouraging results. It is an important requirement for achieving success because it helps one overcome the frustration and desire to give up when things are not going the way we plan.
Perseverance has a strong role to play in learning a new skill, such that if you persevere enough, you would eventually be a master in your game, and if you don’t persevere enough, you might end up not getting anywhere at it.
In the words of Peter Drucker, “The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.” It becomes important to learn how to learn a new skill, and better still, to learn it fast enough.
To learn a new skill quickly, you need to be open to learning, ask questions, relate your present knowledge to your past works, and observe those ahead of you, amongst others. Also, learning a new skill requires a lot of dedication and perseverance. You saw the role of perseverance in learning a new skill.
Lastly, it is possible to learn a skill quickly without the need to spend years learning the same thing. These strategic tips would help you stay ahead of your peers when learning any new skill of your choice.