Learning a new skill is fascinating, to say the least. It keeps your curiosity fueled and science has proved it to be healthy for both your career as well as your health.
Neuroscience has proved that constantly learning new skills is very good for your brain.
According to CCSU business & development, the density of the white matter in your brain increases by learning something new. As a result, you start performing much better in other tasks.
Moreover, learning something new reduces stress levels, helps us learn faster by keeping the neural pathways active as well as helps with delaying Alzheimer’s.
To learn all about why you should be learning new skills, check out this article.
But how do you acquire the skill of learning new skills?
In other words, what are the best ways to learn new skills?
In this article, we will go through the various methods you can apply to learn a new skill or skills. You can choose to do any one of these but the more you adapt to, the better you become at learning new skills.
Stop believing in the myth of having talent
Talent is both a myth and a reality
Let us explain…
It is no doubt that some people are naturally better at doing something like drawing or playing football. However, science has proved that through continuous practice, one can learn just about anything.
Not just learn but also become good at it.
These studies also prove that talent has very little to do with our genes and more with our actions.
Here’s an interesting case study about Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, an olympian
Eddie wasn’t very good at his sport of ski-jumping, in fact, he would consistently come last in all his events. But he never gave up and through dedication and pure sports spirits, he inspired many around the globe and kept competing in the Olympics.
There’s even a movie based on Edwards life called “Eddie The Eagle”
So the first step towards learning anything or any skill is to stop believing that you don’t have a talent for it and start understanding that humans can underestimate their ability to learn.
Forget about your learning style
Some people learn by observing or visually and others by doing.
What is your learning style?
The truth: it’s none.
As much as we would like to make it simple by saying that we learn in a certain way, all of us have the ability to learn various ways. In reality, the learning style has very little to do with our learning.
In a very interesting talk at TEDxUWLaCrosse by Dr. Tesia Marshik, she shares an intriguing fact: 40 years of research on learning styles has found that matching teaching styles to learning styles makes no difference at all.
In her own experiments, Dr. Marshik found that students learned the same way, regardless of the way the material was presented to them.
Dr. Marshik’s studies beg the question, “what is the best way to learn?”
Well… there is no best way to learn something. You simply learn by in various styles.
For example, you didn’t learn English by simply reading. You learned by watching others speak, reading books, writing, as well as watching movies and videos.
Learn by doing
Whether you choose to build a foundation or not, learning by doing is the oldest of ways that humans have been learning and growing – humans are a natural learner
What does it mean?
It means we learn the best by going all in, getting our hands dirty and by performing various tasks.
Moreover, you will learn much more at your workplace than you will be learning by getting good grades. So we suggest you read books in the morning but also undertake internships that will help you learn the skills you desire to learn.
For example, let’s say that you want to learn digital marketing while you are on your summer break. You can do so by searching for digital marketing internships on platforms like Frapp, Internshala, etc.
You can even enroll in online courses like My Captain’s workshops that not only educate you but also help you learn by performing various tasks.
Set a goal and make it big
The second way that can really help you make progress is setting a north star. Have a goal that motivates you to learn new skills as well as help you track your progress.
The goal can be as simple as landing a dream job or changing your lifestyle to be able to influence more people.
Having a goal not only makes it all more meaningful but once you start achieving those goals, you will find learning new skills to be worth it.
In addition to the above, having a goal even helps you understand what skills matter to you the most and which skills should you be focusing on learning at present.
Because you simply can’t learn them all.
This technique is amazing because it helps you stay curious and keep learning life-long. Once you achieve a goal, you won’t be able to help yourself out of setting a new one and start achieving it.
Learn by observing the PROs
The next way to learn is by observing the work of an artist. You will hear many people say that to be able to become a better writer you will need to read a lot of books.
Similarly, from being able to write captivating copies to win games in badminton, you will need to watch the pros do it.
The human mind has the tendency to critically analyze things that it observes and store the information. However, you can’t learn by simply observing. You will need to do some practicing or passively try to repeat how the PROs did it.
So start by mimicking the PROs and soon you will find yourself creating your own style, technique, as well as a process.
Test yourself and celebrate learning
Testing yourself is one of the most important ways to ensure that you really learned a new skill. It doesn’t matter if you are evaluating a self-test, testing helps you understand the areas you are lacking in and boosts the whole learning process tremendously.
Testing yourself is even better than re-reading the notes in making sure that whatever you learned stays stuck inside your head.
For example, say there are two students. The first one kept re-reading before the exam and the second solved the previous years’ question papers before the exam. Who do you think will be more prepared to pass the test?
A study by Elevate education even proved this…
Testing yourself time to time will help you utilize everything that you’ve learned rather than simply storing information within your head.
Lastly, once you pass the test, celebrate those victories. Celebrating is also a huge part of learning as it helps you stay motivated as well as keeps the entire process fun.
So don’t forget to buy yourself that bar of chocolate but first pass that mock test
Find a mentor
Having a mentor is the quickest way to get to the next level with your skills. A mentor offers you invaluable insights, perspective, experience as well as helps you navigate through the field.
To find a mentor, start by looking at the people that you are surrounded by. Your friends, family members, or even coworkers can all have something valuable to teach you.
“Every person knows something which you don’t”
Another way to find a mentor is by reaching out to experts in the respective fields. Just make sure you have something to give them back.
Ask yourself this,
What can you offer them that can make their life easier?
Even if it’s little, reach out to them with your offer. They are experts, they know that if they take you in you will be benefiting a lot.
Finding a mentor is difficult but in today’s digital world, it’s not so hard to know whom to look for. Search the internet and start shooting out emails and messages to the experts you can benefit from.
The last way to make sure that you are learning optimally is to keep taking breaks frequently.
Because the brain has two modes – focused and diffused. Both modes are equally important to be able to successfully learn something.
The focused mode allows you to learn about a topic or a topic in details but the defused mode is when your brain is able to put it all together.
For example, writers spend hours upon hours brainstorming about a story concept. But if you go ahead and ask any writer, they will say that they were only able to make a sense of their story when they were occupied doing something else.
It is very important to give your brain some time to relax. Here is a good technique you can apply to not only learn something new faster but also perform tasks better:
Have sixty minutes of distraction-free learning or performing a task, and then proceed to have a 10-15 minutes break. This will give your brain some time to stay fresh and avoid mental fatigue.