You’re here because you want something. There’s a chance that you’re bored and got here randomly. Or more likely, you’re here to learn something.
No matter what it is that you want, the fact remains that you need to learn something to get whatever it is that you want.
But have you ever thought about what goes into learning a new skill?
Have you ever wondered if it was possible to take a mental learning shortcut?
We’ve all heard about the now infamous 10,000 hours of practice you have to put in to master a skill. And there is some truth to it, you have to put in some work and time to master something.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend 10,000 hours. There are ways to ‘hack’ your learning so that you can learn anything 10x faster.
If, instead of mastering a skill with 10,000 hours of practice what would you do if you could skip some of that? Instead of 10,000 hours it becomes 7,000? Or even 5,000?
That’s what we’ll cover today. How to master a new skill like a child-prodigy.
What It Feels Like to Learn Something New
When trying to figure out something completely new to you it often times feels like jumping into the ocean when you can’t swim.
Like there’s this bottomless, unknown pit of information threatening to drown you. Or even like trying to find El Dorado without a map.
It’s tough to handle sometimes.
But then you start reading a little bit here and there, start practicing some and soon enough it’s no longer an ocean. Instead of swimming in an ocean of endless information you’re playing in the kiddie pool.
Except without the pee.
But how do we get there?
We’ll cover the three secrets in a moment but first let’s look at what is happening inside your brain. Or you can skip ahead if you prefer.
Your Brain When You Try to Learn a Skill
Your brain is made of things called ‘neurons’. These neurons are what transfer information from place to place in your brain. You can think of them like tiny little trains.
A quick Google search says that your brain is made up of around 100 billion neurons.
Neurons move information around in your brain through pathways called ‘synapses’. An easy way for me to think of them is like a train track.
When trying to learn something brand new everything seems overwhelming at first. This is because there isn’t any train tracks for your trains to move around!
Trains in Action
Think of a time when you tried to learn something brand new.
For me, the example that always comes up is the trumpet in the Jr. High School Marching Band. I was already an alright drummer but I wanted to try out another instrument. The instrument I chose was the Trumpet.
I was terrible at the trumpet.
It must have taken me a whole week just to figure out how to make sounds come out of the stupid thing!
Whatever your example is, my trumpet experiences will probably sound familiar to you.
Not only was learning this thing tedious but it didn’t feel like I was even making progress!
Eventually I quit the trumpet and went back to the drums.
The reason that we struggle with learning new skills at first is because we don’t have any train tracks (synapses). Therefore, we have to build them from scratch.
Whenever you practice something, or try reading about it what you’re essentially doing is building these train tracks.
And it takes a lot of fucking work to build a train track! But once built everything becomes easy.
Once the train track (synapse) is built your trains (neurons) can freely move between point A and point B.
That’s why everything is so slow at first. When you try to learn something new you are literally rebuilding a part of your brain!
That’s the science behind what’s going on, but what about the techniques?
How to Build Your Train Tracks Faster:
“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil.” – Henry David Thoreau
Before building your person train tracks, you have to figure out why you’re building them.
Because learning a new skill is a lot of work. We’re going to cover how to do it faster so it isn’t as much work, but it’s still a lot of work.
Therefore, the first step to learning is to figure out your personal why.
Whenever I started learning about women and people in general it was because I was lonely. I wanted to make friends and I also wanted to take women as my lovers. In short, I wanted to level up my charisma and my charm to bring people into my life.
I wanted to create a strong desire in a woman so that she would try and put the moves on me.
It took some time but I eventually got there through online dating. Then I started working on other ways of meeting women, and even now I still work on new things.
After that, I wanted to learn what it took to make friends whenever I wanted,.My why for that was to have people feeling like I was their best friend within minutes of meeting them.
That’s the short version of my personal why to learn about people.
Whenever a subject motivates us deep in our core, that’s when our brains run on full blast. It’s like recruiting the neighbors to help you build your train track.
Everything becomes easier and faster. Knowledge seems to take on a life of its own and you find yourself learning by accident. Making connections between things that you’re not even sure how you figured out.
That’s what desire does. That’s what a need to learn does. Even Robert Greene, author of Mastery agrees that passion is a big factor in learning.
Another Way to Think About How to learn
Compare two different people together. They’re both equally as smart and they both want to learn Italian.
One person starts learning through apps and by reading things here and there. Perhaps they even practice with their friends sometimes when their friends let them.
But the second person goes about learning Italian differently. They don’t download any apps or buy any books.
Instead, the second person moves to Italy!
The first person just wants to learn Italian.
The second person, however, needs to learn Italian just to survive!
That’s why it’s imperative that you figure out your personal why. What motivates you to learn something? Once you can figure that out you will shortcut the infamous 10,000 hours down to 8,000 hours or even less.
- Quick Note: I’m making these numbers up for explanatory purposes only.
An Instant Dose of Motivation
Learning a new skill will always have boring parts. That’s the second reason why it’s important to figure out your why.
Because the thrill of learning something new will fade after a few weeks. We’ve all had this happen to us and I know that I’ve been there.
At first everything is so exciting when learning something new. But then the cold reality starts to set in that it won’t happen as fast as we want. And then we give up.
We’ve all been there, which is the second reason you have to figure out your why.
If you don’t you will quit. And you will never get what it is that you want.
Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted women and I wanted friends. I was sick to my stomach of being so alone and I was damn sick of being horny 24/7.
Those were powerful motivators for me. I didn’t want to learn advanced social skills. I needed to learn them.
When things got tough, when things didn’t happen as fast as I wanted them to and I wanted to quit this ‘why’ kicked in.
I won’t lie to you, there are times in my journey where I’ve cried. I’ve gotten pissed off and bitched and whined until I was blue in the face!
But after calming down and getting some rest I would be right back at it the next day.
Your personal why will force you to keep moving forward during the hard times. During the boring times when everything seems like it’ll take forever your personal why will keep you going.
In fact, I had just such a moment before sitting down to write this article.
I got sunburned earlier today. I worked hard all day on other projects and didn’t even get much sleep last night. Yet here I am, pounding away on my keyboard and back on the grind.
Why Do I Do This?
There are a few reasons why I’m still here writing this out today.
To keep things brief, here is a short version:
- I’m excited to share what I’ve learned
- The information itself is inspiring to me because I’m constantly learning new things when I write these articles. Some of it I already knew in the back of my mind but couldn’t say. Some of it is brand new to me
- Learning, for me at least, is the motivation. It’s a big part of my personality and every day I love learning new things. Not only that, but I want to share what I’ve learned!
- Helping as many people as possible
- I love helping people. To know that something that I’ve done has impacted and changed someone else’s life for the better is like a hit of drugs for me. In some ways, I’m addicted to it
- And if I want my next fix then I have to drag my ass out of bed and start typing words onto the screen
- And yes, I want money
- Part of my motivation is financial. I want to help people but I also need to be able to pay my bills and buy nice things
Some of those reasons might seem shallow to some people, or they might even resonate with you on some level.
That doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what motivates you?
I’ve spent a lot of time harping on this because it’s THAT important!
All the greatest techniques in the world won’t help you unless you’re motivated to push through the bad times. Of which, there will be plenty. Likewise, if you’re truly motivated deep in your core to figure something out, you will learn it with or without help. It might take you a longer time if you decide to do it on your own, but you will get there eventually.
Having ranted enough, let’s get to the techniques!
3 Secrets on How to Learn Like a Child Prodigy
1. Deliberate Practice
I know what you’re thinking “Well duh”. But hear me out!
What I want to talk about specifically, is how to practice.
Because some people will go out and mindlessly do whatever it is that they want to do. This isn’t how people learn though. When people go out and ‘practice’ in this way they might eventually reach their goal. Possibly…
If they do reach their goal of mastering a skill it will be double or triple the infamous 10,000 hours though.
If what you want is to reduce the amount of time it takes to master a goal, you’ll need to employ what I call ‘deliberate practice’.
What is Deliberate Practice?
Deliberate practice is that you go excruciatingly slow where possible. It means that you pick apart and analyze everything that you can.
For example, when I wanted to practice my shooting in basketball I had to work on my form. I got close to the basket and practiced my shooting form. I went as slow as I possibly could. Then I would move back until I eventually started doing this at the three-point line.
This was done to force my brain to pay attention to the smallest of details. Where was my elbow at? How did my wrist flick through on the shot? What about my finger placement? Were my feet positioned how I wanted them?
On and on it went where I would pick apart everything about my body while shooting. It took a little bit of time, but I saw a MASSIVE amount of improvement in an EXTREMELY short amount of time.
The brain is a machine built to recognize patterns.
The pattern I needed to sear into my brain was that whenever my body and shot flowed in a certain way, the ball would go into the basket. After drilling down my shot to such a slow degree, I would speed up. Then I would speed up a little more and a little more until it was ‘game speed’ (speed I would shoot in an actual game).
I may not have been the fastest, most athletic or even the best player on the court (some of the time I was). But I would be damned if I wasn’t going to be the best version of myself that I could be.
It Works for other skills too
It’s the same for any skill in life. Women is another example, though it’s more difficult to slow everything down because you’re dealing with another person (though learning to text women still works this way because you can take your time to reply).
However, you can still dig into the rest of deliberate practice.
But first, let’s look at the other aspects of deliberate practice. What else was I doing besides going slow?
other aspects of deliberate practice
Besides going slow, you’ll notice a few other things that I was doing. I was relentlessly picking apart everything about my shot.
I wanted to know what my weak spots were. And I wanted to know what my strong points were and everything in between.
For me personally, I noticed that in my shot that whenever I positioned the ball just right in my fingers everything else would go smoothly. But if I didn’t have the ball the way I wanted it there was nothing else I could do right it seemed like.
After I noticed that I became ruthless in always positioning the ball in my hand how I wanted. I turned my weakness into something that would help me.
The same works when learning how to be better with women, trying to make friends or even trying to become a dominant man. Which you can learn more about here or by clicking the picture:
In regards to women, I noticed that some of my earlier sticking points were eye contact and touching with women. I, personally never had a problem in talking to women but I did have a big issue with both eye contact and touching them.
Therefore I had to work on that until I no longer had a problem with it.
A New problem
After having a few bad years in a row (in life) I noticed that when I came back to talking to women that I was too serious. I had huge issues with being playful and just being warm and charming! It’s no wonder I had such a rough welcome from women after coming back to them!
It wasn’t until I set my pride down for a second and analyzed what I was doing differently from a few years ago. I had worked on myself to the point where I am a much more attractive man than a few years ago. Yet women seemed to enjoy the old me more than the new me.
It drove me crazy trying to figure it out. That was, until it hit me that I wasn’t being playful and I certainly wasn’t being charming. There was no warmth to my person because of the rough few years I went through.
After fixing that I’ve noticed a COLOSSAL difference in how women react to me now and my results have gotten a lot better as well.
That’s the power of deliberate practice.
It can help turn you from a zero into a hero. In addition to making it faster to learn a new skill it makes it more fun. Because constantly getting rejected or losing or failing is no fun.
You need successes to help motivate you.
If you’re not getting what you want try to figure out why. Be as harsh as you possibly can.
But first, don’t get the wrong idea with that.
What I mean by being harsh to yourself is asking yourself questions like these:
- What did I do wrong?
- Where did I go wrong?
- What did I do right?
- Is there anything that I could have done differently?
Things like that. Basically, taking an unhealthy level of responsibility towards yourself to figure everything out.
What I DO NOT mean is to start thinking negative things about yourself.
Mastering a new skill is a constant process of adjusting your process. You yourself are not a failure. However, if you’re not getting what you want in life then that does mean that your process is a failure.
I’m not saying that you have to change who you are, and I don’t want you to change who you are. But you do have to do things differently if you want different results.
That’s what deliberate practice is. It’s drilling down exactly what your process is, what your process does right and what it does wrong. Then profiting off of your hard work.
2. Break It Down
Let’s go back to my basketball example.
Whenever I started practicing my form I broke down the overall shooting skill down to its smallest parts.
That means that while practicing, I wasn’t practicing my shooting. I was instead practicing my foot placement. It meant practicing how to flick the ball, where to put my hands, my waist, everything about my body.
These were completely separate skill sets for me to learn that went into the overall skill of ‘shooting’.
With women that meant that I had to learn how to approach a woman in a way that she would enjoy. That meant that I had to be able to keep a conversation going. When and where to make some jokes, as well as why to make them.
It also meant that I had to learn how to ask women out in a way that would get me the most yeses possible. Learning how to be great with women also meant that I had to learn how to touch women, and when/where in the interaction as well as learning eye contact.
Again, learning how to be good with women was the overall skill just like learning how to shoot a basketball. But within that overall skill lies layer after layer of additional skills to master.
How Skills Are Like The World
Learning a new skill is a lot like the world in general. Everything in the world is made up of many different parts that you can break down and understand.
Think of the computer or phone that you’re reading this on, for example. Within this amazing piece of technology is a massive amount of different parts.
If even one of those parts have a problem then the whole system (phone/computer) collapses.
There are the parts that make up the screen. Then there’s the internet part of it all as well as the battery and all the other things.
Then, within those parts of the system lie an entirely new layer upon layer of things doing their part.
You can even go down into the layer of atoms. Everything in this world is made up of atoms. Even atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.
We’ve even found out that it can get even smaller than that!
Why Am I Telling You This?
I’m sharing all of this with you because if you approach mastering a skill like this, you will learn much faster. In our hypothetical 10,000 hours we’ve already cut out a massive amount of time.
By figuring out why you want to learn a skill, you’ve shaved off a few thousand hours. Deliberate practice will shave off even more hours.
Then, by breaking down a skill into the smaller parts, you shave off even more hours.
Instead of it taking you four whole years to master something, you instead can do it in three, or even two or one!
That means that you have three or more years to enjoy a skill you’ve mastered. Which means less frustration, less headaches and more success.
You can start living the life you’ve always dreamed of years faster than you otherwise could. If you learn how to learn like a child prodigy 😉
It’s tedious at first, but once you get into the habit of doing this you’ll start doing it naturally.
3. Get a Mentor to Learn Everything They Know
There are a lot of other things you can do to learn faster. But getting a mentor is one of the best ways to shave off a huge amount of hours on the 10,000 hours rule. And even SkillsYouNeed agrees:
Financiers learn from watching expert traders, writers improve their skills by reading the work of great authors, sportspeople reach the top by watching their opponents and idols. In fact, learning from experts – whether in person or virtually – can be more productive than taking courses or extensive solo practice.
Learning from professionals is a passive exercise. The active part is keeping your eyes open for shortcomings in your own technique and putting in the required work to correct missteps.
The reason is because mentors are able to point out things that you might not notice yourself.
For basketball, it was my follow-through. I was banging my head against the wall until my cousin, who is a great basketball player, pointed out what I was doing wrong.
This one simple thing that completely escaped my notice changed my entire shot!
The same is true of any other skill you want to master. Find someone that has already mastered it and try to pick their brain.
This is something that you are already partially doing! By reading this you are learning from me!
Mentors have a way of helping us discover things that we are missing. Remember what I said in the beginning about what it feels like to learn something new?
It’s like trying to find El Dorado without a map.
Mentors have a way of providing a map to us. Imagine how much easier it would be to get to where you want to go when you know where to go!
It sounds simplistic, but it’s something that I myself have to remember sometimes.
If we don’t know how to get where we are going then we are going to take a lot of wrong turns. If we manage to get where we want to at all.
This mentor doesn’t have to be me. We all have different styles and there are many ways to skin a cat.
A lot of different ways work when we are talking about navigating the realm of social interaction.
That’s why I do the reviews of other sites that I do. I want to give you as many different ways to learn as I possibly can!
This article is already getting long, so I want to thank you for sharing in your journey of life with me.
Before ending this article I would like to do a quick re-cap with you:
- Learning a new skill is tough
- You are literally re-wiring your entire brain. It might not be the sexiest advice in the world, but it’s the truth: take it slow. It’s annoying at first, but it will help you consistently achieve better results. Where will you be in a year if you get a little bit better every day? Your future self will thank you for what you do today
- Find your why
- If you don’t know why you want it then you’ll never stick with it. It doesn’t matter how devoted you are because it will seem pointless without understanding why you are doing what you’re doing
- Practice deliberately
- Analyze everything that you can. Target your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths
- Break it down
- Master the parts that go into a skill and you’ll have mastered that skill
- Find a mentor
- Mentors can propel you forward faster than anything you can do on your own
Keep Moving Forward