Tim Ferriss, author of the recent release, The 4-Hour Chef, insists in his keynote, “You can become word-class in something in 6 months or less” if you learn to learn the right way. In his many experiences, he's broken down the process of successful learning and shared a few key tips with session attendees:
Only focus on what you can model. If someone is genetically predisposed to gain muscle, for example, that’s not something you can imitate, so don’t get caught up on it.
Deconstruct complex skills into its parts. Learn the bits piece-by-piece, i.e. learn the sounds or basic word structure of any language in order to master a large portion of that language quickly. Find the “minimum effective dose” or the smallest amount of skill required to provide the greatest usefulness or benefit.
Avoid failure (for a while). For the first five or six session of learning something, avoid those things you know cause you to fail. This helps ensure you won’t quit the first few times out of the gate and proves you can succeed.
Add high stakes if there aren’t any. Can’t stick with your goal? Try writing a check to your least favorite organization/cause and send it to a friend who promises to mail that check to the organization as a donation in your name if you fail to reach your goal. That’ll motivate you!
Focus. One of the biggest impediments to success (in learning or anything) is saying “yes” to too many things.
In The 4-Hour Chef, Ferriss breaks down the "simple path to cooking like a pro, learning anything and living the good life." Sure, it wasn't about digital or marketing, but this was surprisingly one of my favorite sessions this year. In an industry where we have to learn every day to stay ahead, these insights are a great help!