Do you know how to learn a new skill? and what is the best and easy way to do it?
The First 20 Hours is the kind of book you must read to get an idea about, how to develop/ learn a new skill. The Author of this Bestseller book is Josh Kaufman– who is also the author of another best-selling book The Personal MBA.
However, Originally this book seems to be inspired by the 4-Hour Chef (another bestseller book on skill learning and development).
Josh Kaufman suggests that in order to acquire/develop any new skill we must follow these 4 (FOUR) steps;
- Deconstruct – it is an act of deconstructing a whole skill into the smallest possible sub-skills which can easily be followed and learned
- Learn – in this step we try to learn each deconstructed subskill to be able to practice intelligently and self-correct while we practice.
- Remove – We try to remove any barriers/distractions such as physical, mental, that get in our way of practicing these sub-skills.
- Practice – it is the most important step, we must practice subskills for at least 20 hours.
The book recommends that if you want to get good at any skill. You must try to practice it in a real-life environment/context with all the required resources. just studying or getting peripheral information about a skill that you want to develop is not enough. Practicing a skill in context helps you to make this new skill more automatic like learning to drive a Car- which initially requires more focus but with time and practice you drive automatically without being alert.
Top Ten principles of rapid skill acquisition that we must follow in we want to learn a new skill in a suggested time.
- Choose a lovable project
- Focus on one skill at a time
- Define your target performance level
- Deconstruct the skill into subskills
- Obtain the required tools
- Eliminate any distraction/ barrier to practice
- Make dedicated time for practice
- Create fast feedback loops
- Practice by the clock in short bursts
- Emphasize quantity and speed
So, If we want to develop new skills, we must select one skill at a time. Then channel all our focus and energy on that particular skill to learn or develop that. While considering all the above-mentioned principles. Must practice at least 90 minutes each day until we have completed recommended 20 hours. Because skills are the result of deliberate, consistent practice, at every subskills-stage. The faster and more often we practice, the more rapidly we will be able to acquire new skills.
Josh Kaufman describes all these principles with his own learning and how he applies them to acquire new skills. He mentioned his recent acquired skills like Programming, Yoga, Touch Typing, Windsurfing, Go- an old Chinese strategy game and Ukulele.
Checklist for you for learning new skills in this book.
- Research skills and related topics
- Jump in over your head.
- Identify mental models and mental hooks
- Imagine the opposite of what you want
- Talk to practitioners to set expectations.
- Eliminate distractions in your environment.
- Use spaced repetition and reinforcement for memorization.
- Create scaffolds and checklists.
- Make and test predictions.
- Honor your biology.
Scaffolds are planning structures that help us approach skills the same way every time.
Here are the major skills that you need to develop
- soft skills
- interpersonal skills
- time management
- communication skills
- skills for resume
- leadership skills
- active listening
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By: Shoaib Ahmed