The First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman

How to Learn Anything...Fast

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📒 Notes

Rapid skill acquisition has four major steps: - Deconstructing a skill into the smallest possible subskills; - Learning enough about each subskill to be able to practice intelligently and self-correct during practice; - Removing physical, mental, and emotional barriers that get in the way of practice; - Practicing the most important subskills for at least twenty hours.

Ten Principles of Rapid Skill Acquisition - Choose a lovable project. - Focus your energy on one skill at a time. - Define your target performance level. - Deconstruct the skill into subskills. - Obtain critical tools. - Eliminate barriers to practice. - Make dedicated time for practice. - Create fast feedback loops. - Practice by the clock in short bursts. - Emphasize quantity and speed.

Ten Principles of Effective Learning - Research the skill 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. - Research the skill and related topics.

Sumup: In less than a year, I learned six complex skills. I’m not a genius or a freak of nature. I’m not naturally talented. I didn’t quit my day job. I didn’t drop everything and move to the other side of the world. I didn’t ignore my family. I just set aside an hour or so every day to practice, and I practiced in an intelligent way. Skills that began as a complete mystery became comprehensible in a matter of days, often hours. All it took was a bit of research and around twenty hours of consistent, focused, deliberate practice. You don’t need to pick many skills to acquire: just choose one. Take a skill on your “want to do” list and commit to trying it. Learn that language, play that instrument, explore that game, work on that project, cook that dish, create that art. It’s easier than it feels. Precommit to practicing that skill for an hour or so a day for the next month. Once you actually start practicing, you’ll always pick it up more quickly than you expect. Break it down, make the time, try new things, and your brain will begin picking up the technique automatically: that’s what brains do. When you get stuck or confused, test a new approach. Remember: once you start, you can’t stop until you reach your target performance level or the twenty-hour mark. Struggle if you must, but don’t stop. Show your grit, and keep pushing forward. You’ll get there: all it takes is practice.