One of the things that I enjoy is learning new things.
How long does it take to acquire a new skill?
You know what I found?
10,000 hours?! Nooooooo!
I am never going to be able to learn anything new ever again.
But that's not true.
The 10,000 hour rule came out of studies of expert-level performance.
Professional athletes, world-class musicians.
The folks at the tippy top of their fields put in around 10,000 hours of practice.
But that last statement, it takes 10,000 hours to learn something?
It's not true.
This is the learning curve, and the story of the learning curve is when you start you're grossly incompetent and you know it.
With a little bit of practice, you get really good really quick.
And then at a certain point, you reach a plateau, and the subsequent gains become much harder to get.
How long does it take from starting something and being grossly incompetent and knowing it to being reasonably good?
Here's what my research says:
20 hours, that's it.
You can go from knowing nothing, if you put 20 hours of focused deliberate practice into that thing, you will be astounded at how good you are.
20 hours is doable.
It's about 45 minutes a day for about a month.
There's a method to doing this.
The first is to deconstruct the skill.
Decide exactly what you want to be able to do and break it down into smaller and smaller pieces.
The more you're able to decide what are the parts of this skill that will actually help me get to what I want, you'll be able to improve your performance in the least amount of time possible.
The second is learn enough to self-correct.
Get three to five resources about what it is you're trying to learn.
It could be books, could be courses, could be anything.
What you want to do is learn just enough that you can actually practice and self-correct.
Noticing when you're making a mistake and then doing something a little different.
The third is to remove barriers to practice—distractions, television, Internet.
And the fourth is to practice for at least 20 hours.
Now, most skills have what I call a frustration barrier.
By pre-committing to practicing whatever it is that you want to do for at least 20 hours, you will be able to overcome that initial frustration barrier and stick with the practice long enough to actually reap the rewards.
That's it, it's not rocket science.
The major barrier to learning something new is not intellectual.
The major barrier is emotional.
Feeling stupid doesn't feel good.
And the beginning of learning anything new, you feel really stupid.