I recently listened to an inspiring TED talk by an author, Josh Kaufman. His life changed forever with the birth of his daughter in a good way. Like most parents, his life and priorities changed. Time became a rare commodity. Here lies a new challenge in his life, he likes to learn new things. How will he have enough time to invest to learn new and fun things?
Josh started his research. He found, according to most new books and articles, it takes 10, 000 hours to learn something new. The same as working on a full time job for 5 years. He researched further. He found some misconceptions about this theory. The 10,000 hours theory comes from a researcher who was doing his studies on athletes who reached to the top of their game by putting in the practice time needed to become an “expert”.
Josh, like the most of us, wanted to simply learn something new and be good at it. He discovered the 10,000 hour theory to be irrelevant if you want to learn and show improvement in a relatively short period of time. In order to learn something new and start getting good at it only really takes about 20 hours of focused time. The equivalent to 45 minutes of focused work a day for about a month. This seems to be a reasonable amount of time, for a person not pursuing an athletic goal, that’s it!
He presented a four step process that will increase the likelihood of success with the 20 hours of practice.
Deconstruct the skill – Break it into small pieces. More you can break apart the skill, more you can decide on the important parts of the skill you need to focus on and learn first.
Learn to self-correct – These could be books, DVDs or any other types of resources. Learn enough to practice and self-edit. Get better at it and notice when you make a mistake and correct it yourself.
Remove barriers to practice – This includes TV, video games, internet browsing etc. Use little bit of willpower to remove these types of barriers.
Practice at least 20 hours – set up a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Monitor your progress and your will be pleasantly surprised.
You now have the tools to effectively pursue your passion, or something you always wanted to learn. Josh Kaufman’s research shows that you can learn anything new. Start by deconstructing the skill you want to learn. Identify the key concepts and create a plan, learn to self-correct, use some will power to remove few barriers, put in the 20 quality hours of focused practice, and at the end you reap the benefits. The possibilities are endless.
The 20 Hour Plan To Learning Anything