How do we master learning and change? By learning how to learn skills fast.
Because it is through skills that we can become a new person.
Creating identity change is a challenge. Especially when we are trying to achieve something over the long term.
So how can we accelerate the process?
The solution is to focus on mastery of valuable skills. Because skills are always cultivated in order to change who we are.
For example, to become..
A person that lives a healthy lifestyle you have to learn about:
- Different foods and maintaining a good diet
- Training and working out effectively
Someone that is productive you have to learn about:
- Time efficiencies, deep work and avoiding distraction
- Prioritizing and balancing workload
A social person with a valuable network you have to learn about:
- Emotional connection, rapport and body language
- Network strategies and conferences
A confident person in public speaking you have to learn about:
- Communication and how to express yourself charismatically
- Other people that have done great speeches
To become a grounded / happy person you have to learn about:
- Meditation, breathing and mindfulness
- Active gratitude and reflection exercises
So by learning the skill, we can become the person.
Ultralearning Strategies to learn skills fast
Scott Young, author of the book Ultralearning poses that we can drastically increase our progress of learning a new skill by utilizing various learning strategies. When we use the strategies, we can focus on acquiring knowledge in a self-directed and intense way that will help to accelerate our progress.
So if we learn skills fast, the faster we are able to grow as human beings, pushing our limits of who we are. Because, Scott adds, "when we learn intensively we are doing hard things, particularly things that involve learning something new - this really stretches your self-conception. "
In other words, deliberate practice helps us to expand, enhance and improve valuable skills that we need to become a different person.
Learn skills fast with Ultralearning strategies
Scott Young provides 9 strategies for Ultralearning in his book. Below are few of these strategies and tips are mentioned to help you sustainably change your lifestyle.
Learning strategy 1. Meta-learning
To truly understand and visualize the change you wish to see in life it is a good idea to draw out a mind map. You can do that for free here.
For example, here is a mind map for lifestyle improvement.
By looking from a higher perspective on the mind map you get to know exactly what skills you need to develop to achieve the goal.
The mind map reflects the bigger picture and on the one hand tells you about all the critical success factors that have to be present. On the other hand, it also allows you to identify pitfalls and obstacles that have to be avoided.
Learning strategy 2. Focus and Deep work
Concentration means doing work without distraction. So instead of focusing on a task, focus on putting in the effort. For example, for each 30 minutes on the clock for the next 2 hours, spend 20 of them doing what you have to do. Make small time blocks and learn to push yourself within that time block to truly focus on the task at hand.
Another good idea is to buy a sandglass as a cue to make the 15 minutes as tangible as you can. So when the sandglass is turned, you focus on what you have to do and nothing else. By using deep work in the right way, intense learning sessions won't be interrupted.
Learning strategy 3. Direct and deliberate practice
Learning something deliberately means focusing on the skill through direct contact. As a result, slight arousal is created because you are pushing yourself with a challenge that is just above your skill level.
Individuals who practice deliberately focus on four steps of the process. They plan, practice, perfect and perform to go through the cycle of intense learning. Thus, deliberate practice can become a very credible basis for creating identity change. Here are some intense learning practices and experiences to get out of the comfort zone:
Deliberate practice for Lifestyle improvement
Go to the gym for an extended period of time or two times in one day. Only eat A-grade food and focus on excellence in every detail that counts. This way, you will know what it feels like to be doing your best to excel in every detail.
Deliberate practice for Productivity improvement
Start doing direct practice by staying inside one whole day working from morning till evening. Sacrifice everything for this one day and do what is required of you to experience how it makes you feel. Once you do this, how does 3 hours a day sound? Much easier.
Deliberate practice for Social improvement
Immerse yourself by setting the goal of talking to 20 random people in a day. Compliment them, or say something for the purpose of just saying it. Obligate yourself to improve your social skills through direct exposure.
Learning strategy 4 & 5. Feedback and Drills
Feedback is imperative to improve performance.
Use feedback to judge the trajectory of your performance. Because it doesn't matter where you are but where you are going.
Feedback drills are useful to attack your weakest points. Can you break down the complex skills into sub-parts? Can you improve the weaknesses where you are being held back the most?
Learning strategy 6. Experimentation
Experimentation is about testing hypotheses and exploring the possibilities. Actually, the 15th century meaning of an "experience", was derived from from the Latin root experimentum, "test or trial."
Put in a different way, experimentation is putting your thoughts to the test without fear. It's about trying out new ideas, methods, or activities that can help you to experience something new. In other words, experimentation allows you to experience a new part of yourself, creating identity change in the process as you become familiar with new experiences.
Development is a gradual process
In short, becoming a new person isn't something that is done in a single day. But with Ultralearning strategies you can maximize your learning capabilities. You can take on new personal projects and stretch your self-conception. So learn skills fast by practicing deliberately, and stick to it with identity habits.
Young, S. (2019). Ultralearning