It’s a total myth that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. When we’re talking about people, that is.
However old you are, it’s never too late to start learning that thing that you’ve always wanted to learn. Whether that means learning a language, teaching yourself to play the piano, or finally figuring out how to paint.
Whatever it is that you’re interested in doing, remember that new skills are possible to learn and master if you have enough interest. We’re going to talk through some methods that you can use to learn new skills, giving you a little boost on the road to self-improvement.
Tricks to Learning New Skills as Quickly as Possible
Anytime someone sells you the idea that you could “learn anything in five days or less,” it’s probably a sham. Different skills require different amounts of effort and attention, and that means different lengths of time.
Mastering a language, for example, would take a little longer than figuring out how to knit. Learning to play an entire ACDC album on guitar might be slightly easier than understanding advanced music theory.
Additionally, you should use specialized routes to particular kinds of learning. For example, you might work with LMS consulting to improve your company’s knowledge on a subject while you would practice the violin on your own time.
The point is, the skill you want to learn will come with its own unique way of practicing and discovering. With that in mind, let’s jump in:
1. Establish Routine
It’s a bummer but it’s true. Disciplining yourself to sit down and practice your skill is the most important factor in your growth.
If you aren’t doing things regularly, you’re not going to see the kind of results that you want to. You could practice every single day or you could give yourself a couple of hours per week.
You don’t have to stress yourself out, but make sure you’re putting in a little extra effort. It’s important to keep your new skill from becoming a sore spot in your mind. Think of all the little kids who grew to hate the piano because their lessons were boring and extremely difficult.
Give yourself some slack, but make sure that you sit down and do the work when you say you will.
2. Consult with People Who Know
Seek out people who already know how to do the thing you’re trying to learn. They’re bound to have some insight that you might miss in books or online lessons.
Additionally, it’s nice to have someone who you can bond with over a particular activity. That way, you’ll have more incentive to get to practicing and hold yourself accountable for progress.
In some situations, you might find that you can do your newfound activity with your friends. Games like tennis or chess are skill-based and require you to have some company.
3. Shake Your Ego
If you’re a person who tends to be really good at everything they try, you’re going to have to accept that you can’t master everything immediately. You might get the knack for a thing right when you start, but your learning curve will steepen.
When things get tough, we often make excuses not to continue. Whether that means you stop practicing because you’re tired of failing, or you stop seeing the point of continuing while things get tough, try to keep your goals in mind.
You’re going to fail, and that’s totally natural. Nobody can be expected to breeze through everything without adversity. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you can’t do something after a while.
Take your difficulty as an exercise in growth and reflect back on it when you finally master your skill.
4. Explore Different Learning Styles
Some people are visual learners, some people prefer to read, and others prefer to work hands-on. There are a million ways to learn things and everyone has their own unique way of getting it done.
Don’t let one particular format limit you. Try out different online exercises, books, lessons with friends, or whatever you can find. The more ways that you reinforce the information, the more likely it is to stick.
5. Find a Partner in Crime
Why not learn the skill with a friend who’s interested in improving as well?
As we mentioned before, having someone around to hold you accountable is a really important factor. When that person is also on the same learning trajectory as you, it makes things a lot more enjoyable for both people.
You can bond as friends and also come out with more refined skills because you had each other to bounce ideas off of.
6. Set Clear Goals
Before you jump into practicing and learning, make a structured plan for yourself. Why do you think teachers and professors have their lessons and coursework planned out well in advance of the beginning of the school year?
Things move more smoothly and efficiently when there’s a plan in place. That way, you can keep yourself motivated to achieve your goals without having to figure out what to do next.
7. Take a Step Back
Sure, your goal might be to win a chess tournament or play one of Eddie Van Halen’s solos, but that doesn’t mean there’s space for enjoyment in the middle.
Once you start learning your skill and getting comfortable, use the skills you’ve learned! You don’t have to be a master to start participating.
Get out and play your friends in chess, join a band, or go to the health club and play someone in tennis. Keep practicing, but don’t forget that you now have an intermediate skill that you can enjoy all the same.
8. Explore the Culture
Any craft or skill that you’re interested in is bound to have a rich culture behind it. Any kind of art form, sport, or hobby is the result of thousands of other people who were interested as well.
Find out what kind of history and community there is around the skill you’re trying to learn. This will help you find interesting people and appreciate the craft in a deeper way.
9. Get Back on the Train
One form of failure is the tendency to slip out of your habits. You might practice every day for a month, only to slip up and quit practicing a few weeks later.
The same goes for dieting or exercising, or really anything that requires discipline and dedication. It happens to everyone! Don’t get too down on yourself if you find yourself losing interest from time to time or choosing not to practice.
The most important thing is that you pick it back up when you realize you’ve slipped. Take the next step and remember your goals.
Interested in More Life Hacks?
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Explore our site for all the information you need to take your next step in the right direction.