Monday, May 30, 2011

On Learning New Skills

Many apologies, friends and followers, for neglecting to post in some time. I have been busy with a new job, and have had to devote a large portion of my time to learning new skills.

Speaking of which...

Wikipedia offers the following knowledge of new skills: "The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves."

How does this apply to us? Simple. Learning takes three things: time, guidance, and willingness.

Part 1: Time

This one is relatively straightforward. According to Malcolm Gladwell's Ouliers, in order to master any skill, you must practice it for 10,000 hours. That's almost 3 hours a day, every day, for 20 years.

But what if you have no intent on mastering it? Much shorter, but clearly not as effective. I would say you need to do it at least three hours a day for six months. In a work environment this works out to 3 months of 6-hour shifts. At this rate you won't be the master at it, but you will definitely understand what you're doing at that point.

Part 2: Guidance

Anyone who has ever taught themselves a skill can tell you without a doubt that having a teacher is 100% easier. Yes, you can teach yourself a skill but you will never master it without guidance. This guidance can come from a book, a friend, or the internet, but without guidance you will hit a wall that you probably cannot overcome yourself. We are social creatures, and we can help each other.

Part 3: Willingness

This one is pretty straightforward, too. If you are not willing to put in the time, or seek out the guidance, you will never be able to muster the effort to continue. and even if you do, all of the effort in the world will not teach an unwilling learner. So to learn a new skill, you must be willing to learn!

I wish all of you a very safe Memorial Day.

1 comment:

  1. So, on your patence evermore attending, Following!