Throughout your career you will need to learn new skills. Gone are the days where you get an apprenticeship and learn the skills that you hone over your career. Career development relies heavily on how quickly you can learn new skills. Additionally, you will move jobs and need to learn new working practices, technologies and methodologies. I am sure that Noah, my son, will need to learn skills that I cannot even imagine. Over time, you may move into leadership roles which have an array of new skills that you will need to master. Learning how to learn is even more important if you go down the path of running your own business. Therefore, it is essential that you master the ultimate meta-skill of rapid skill acquisition!
We have all done it, procrastinated that is. It is in our DNA to naturally fall into easy-on-the-brain type activities. And when learning something new you are right in the crosshairs of the danger of procrastination! That is because learning something new is difficult. We are all predisposed to want to do something less taxing on the brain. This danger of procrastination flows throughout the workday. Individual productivity is at threat due to procrastination. Harnessing the meta-skills associated with rapid skill acquisition will help you conquer procrastination. Think of all the tasks that you have sitting on your todo list now. Now think of how great it would feel if you could kick procrastination and tick them off.
A lot of learners follow tactics in learning that can waste a lot of time. For example, reading whole books all the way through without taking effective notes. I know in the past I have been guilty of this. At home, I have a library of books at home that I know I have read but cannot recall their main arguments. It would have solidified my learning if I took action on the tactics suggested as they come up.
Time sat in class can be wasted if you are not focused on what you are trying to achieve. Learning how to get the most out of classes can catapult your learning journey.
Learning Advanced Skills.
Sometimes there will be an advanced skill that you need to learn or have your sights set on. For a lot of people that is exactly how the advanced skill remains – a never achieved vexing goal. Learning how to breakdown a skill and extrapolate a learning plan will give you a roadmap to learn complicated skills.
Learning quicker is fun and you will want to learn more and more. This will increase your ability to learn even faster. Skills stack and overtime will open the door for more varied skills and opportunities. Skill acquisition can become a hobby allowing you to access a wide range of interests.
For example, since starting to touch-type during lockdown my ability to quickly produce this blog has made the whole process more enjoyable. So I want to get better at it and learn how to improve my writing abilities. Again skills stacking on top of each other.
Conquering the fear of learning.
More advanced skills can really put people off and leave them stagnant in their life and in their careers. By better understanding how we learn you can overcome the fear of learning something new. Developing a personalised system of learning will allow you to take more effective action in your learning journey. Better that than getting caught settling or procrastinating your life away.
I used to be a chronic learner for the sake of learning. I would read books or watch YouTube videos to learn something that wasn’t immediately applicable to me. This meant that I missed out on one of the major techniques in rapid skill acquisition: practical application.
By becoming confident in rapid skill acquisition processes you will be able to learn more effectively when you need to. Then you will be in a better position to apply it in your career or to overcome the problem. Just in time learning means you are not wasting time. A new skill will be fresh in your working memory and allow you to tackle problems more effectively.
Unrecognised benefits of RSA .
Learning how to learn will develop meta-skills that are applicable in fields outside of academia and research. Two key components of rapid skill acquisition are asking effective questions and recognising patterns that are applicable across contrasting fields. Knowing that your brain can make these connections and exploring them when they do can lead to breakthroughs. Exciting creative ideas can flow between disciplines that you might not have been open to in the past.
Could you become the next Einstein?
Einstein’s breakthrough theories, it has been suggested, were due in part to his time working as a patent clerk. In that role, he would have to quickly understand the patent application and produce a one-page summary of the idea. By learning to cut out the fluff he trained his brain to recognise the simple summary of a problem. Learning how to summarise key ideas, concepts and methodologies will make you faster. It may also lead you to new approaches or methodologies that are even simpler!
From my time in recruitment and working with apprentices many employers are always on the lookout for action takers. Activity over perfection is often preferred in the world of business. Taking action by applying learning engrains action orientated behaviours. A valuable skill in anyone’s skillset. The action taken helps engrain the understanding of the concept, skill or methodology and leads to faster acquisition. Taking action by default is a very sought after skill.
Becoming a rapid skill acquisition practitioner can help you build a robust set of meta-skills no matter your profession.
We have explored how learning how to learn can impact your life and career. We have not explored the actual processes and tactics necessary to learn quickly. If there is enough interest following this blog then I will write an ebook as a practical guide.