I've tried a few things in my lifetime. Some of them I have been good at, and others have caused me to fall flat on my face like Bambi. I've learned how to play the drums, how to do door to door sales, speak/act on a public stage, create YouTube videos, work out, and the list goes on.
I've always enjoyed learning new things and throughout the years I started to realize that any venture you plan on undertaking will have certain universal truths that can help you be successful. And save you a LOT of time.
I could write an article on each of these, but I want to give you something comprehensive.
Without further ado, here are my "Ten Commandments of Learning."
1) Be Passionate
No matter what you are going to try, you have to have passion. It has to invigorate you.
If your venture doesn't excite you then at some point you are going to lose interest and motivation. You don't want to get into something that you will eventually drop and forget about.
If the thought of sewing doesn't excite you, pick something else. This should be common sense but you would be surprised how many people do things with a lack of passion.
Maybe they want to impress other people or they think it's something they should learn.
Don't do something for any other reason than fulfilling a passion. Otherwise the results will be lack luster and you will waste your time.
2) Learn From The Professionals
We are lucky to live in the internet age. There are thousands of qualified people giving out free information at every turn.
Instead of just jumping in head first without knowing anything, take a little bit of time to research some people that have already succeeded in your venture and allow them to be digital mentors.
If you have a credible professional closer to you then great, learn in person. Unfortunately most people won't have that luxury.
You can find hundreds of YouTube videos, blogs, magazines and podcasts on any topic.
This will save you a lot of time spent learning things the hard way. These people have already learned things the hard way, use them as a resource.
Get a digital mentor, or ten, and get cracking.
3) Start Small (*ere ere* Break it down now) My impression of DJ scratching.
I can not stress how important this one is. Learn the absolute basics first, master them, and then move on to the next stages.
When I was teaching people how to do door to door sales I would focus on one thing at a time. Usually I would start with body language or voice projection.
I wouldn't even worry about the pitch, closing a sale, or any fine details for a while.
Before any of that, they had to learn the basics.
When you learn an instrument you don't start off playing Mozart. You don't even learn a song right away.
First, you start by learning how to hold it, how to play scales and how to take care of it.
Learn what the basics are and then master them.
4) Fall Into A Phase
If you want to learn something effectively you have to immerse yourself in it. Willingly accept that this is something you love and for a time it will take up a lot of your attention.
People might become annoyed when they notice that you talk about this venture a lot and you relate everything back to it, but this will help integrate it into your very being.
I learn everything by going into phases. Right now I am in a positive thinking and willpower phase. I watch YouTube videos about it, listen to audio books, meditate, do positive affirmations and a whole list of other things.
When you go into a phase you may partially neglect other parts of your life and that's fine because right now you are focusing on something important to you.
You also have to realize that this venture won't be your main focus for your whole life, but after it is over the lessons you learned will be integrated into you and will help you in any other endeavors.
Allow yourself to fall into a phase and you will learn ten times faster.
5) Dedicate An Allotted Daily Time to Practice
So you have allowed yourself to fall down the rabbit hole and you are deep in a phase.
You spend time learning about your venture, and immersing yourself in your venture, but you must ensure you practice it.
All the theory in the world isn't worth anything if you never practice and you need to set aside a daily time slot to do so. It has to be everyday, non-negotiable.
It can be an hour, or ten minutes. If you think you don't have enough time to practice, then make the time.
Wake up a half hour earlier and do it then, before the birds are chirping and the world is breathing down your neck.
This goes hand in hand with being in a phase because you might not be able to do this for your whole life.
But right now, you need to do it. Get it done everyday, no excuses.
6) Connect With Others On The Same Path
I am a firm believer that you can't do everything on your own.
You will run into other people while you are venturing down your path. Use their help.
Ask them for advice, get them to practice with you, have discussions with them, and allow them to be a part of your immersion process.
You can find these people on forums, in YouTube comments, or in everyday life.
If you surround yourself with people that have the same interest you will always have a second perspective and a motivator.
7) Allow Yourself To Fail
I'll let you in on a little secret.
Anything you have ever done, you have failed at. From speaking, to walking, to brushing your teeth, and everything in between.
The first thirty times you tried walking you literally fell flat on your ass.
So why do we associate failure with embarrassment when we are older?
I guarantee that if you fail at anything one hundred times, you will be better at it than ninety percent of people.
You will learn a bit about yourself, and your craft, every time you fail.
The difference between the master and the beginner is that the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.
8) Teach Another Person
This is the part of the puzzle that most people never fit in. In order to truly internalize a skill you need to teach it.
This will force you to look at the learning experience from every angle and examine your craft down to the smallest details so that you can answer any question.
When you teach someone else something that you have learned, they will experience obstacles that you may not have experienced. You will learn from their failures just as you learned from yours.
Not to mention that you will be helping someone and making the world better. Each one teach one.
9) Keep It In Your Thoughts
Before you go to bed and night and when you wake up in the morning make sure your venture is on your mind.
Imagine yourself at the end of your journey, a master of new skills, a more resilient version of yourself.
Remind yourself why you started, and why you will persevere through any obstacles.
I like to do this by having daily affirmations. Before I lay in bed at night and before I get up in the morning I repeat a chosen phrase to myself. I close my eyes and visualize my goal as if I am already there.
The mind is a powerful thing and whatever you focus on the most is what will come to fruition in your life. Make sure it is your goal.
10) Be Humble
Never assume that you know more than anyone else. Take criticism gracefully.
Take the positive out of everything that you can and leave the negative behind.
You must always view yourself as a student, learning as much as you can from all sources.
It is essential that you remain humble and open, otherwise you will not be in the state required for optimal learning. If you are closed minded and arrogant you won't grow.
These are my ten commandments for learning.
I live by them every day. They will give you the foundation to build your dreams on.
Learning something new is always scary, but if you remember that the commandments are always the same you will feel as though you are walking a familiar path. It's a beautiful stroll, isn't it?