Dave Braun: My 3 Steps for How to Learn Anything
In our fast paced world those that can adapt are the ones that thrive; and to adapt means to learn. As leaders and entrepreneurs, learning is HUGE in keeping us on the cutting edge of our industry, life, and relationships.
I’m lucky. My number one strength, from the Strengthsfinder 2.0 evaluation, is LEARNER. So, I’ve learned how to learn! Of course, I’m always learning how to learn better and faster. For now, I use the acronym of DAD when I want to learn something new.
3 Steps for How to Learn Anything
First, decide what to learn. Ask yourself:
- What’s the one skill that will put you in the top 10% of your business, or that might separate you from the pack?
- What have you always wanted to try just for fun?
- What have you been putting off learning that you shouldn’t?
Second, decide how good you want to be. For example, in learning a language, there’s a big difference in effort between being able to converse with someone versus actually reading and writing the language.
Third, write down your why. Attach a strong reason to it so you don’t give up easily. Money? For enjoyment? To help someone? To improve your life in some way? To keep your skills fresh?
Fourth, mentally commit to keep going until you’ve either hit the level of expertise you’ve decided OR you’ve spend x amount of hours. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, COMMIT; otherwise, don’t go further as you’ll set yourself up for disappointment.
When I wanted to learn how to do mobile apps, I simply wanted to get make an app that helped people, produced some passive income, and kept my programming skills fresh. I didn’t want to learn to teach programming, to speak on it, to make it my life’s calling, or to be the best in the world at it.
2. Action Plan.
Create an action plan. It should include these aspects:
- Time. How many hours can you commit?
- Coaches/Mentors/Teachers needed. Who can you talk to?
- Money to spend. It takes some moolah to learn. Depending on how fast you want to learn, sometimes it’s a little, sometimes a lot.
- When to re-evaluate. Give yourself enough time in execution before you reevaluate (like 20 hours).
- And most important of all, have someone hold you accountable.
Follow the 80/20 principle and ask someone knowledgeable which are the 20% items that will give you 80% of the results. When my kids were younger, we read a book about how to get good grades in school. The suggestion was to talk to the teacher or professor and ask them what are the most important things to concentrate on in order to get an A, or what fundamentals must be mastered, or what mistakes to avoid.
So here is what I did when doing my first mobile app:
- Time: Committed to 10 hours a week. And I tracked my time, noting when I started and stopped.
- Teachers: I found a free online course at Stanford that included lectures, handouts, and homework. Awesome! But what I missed was having a person I could talk to when I was stuck. I lost many hours on that. So find someone to be your coach, to either ask questions to, or help you devise a learning plan. Pay if necessary.
- Money: I had to buy a Macbook Pro (I had been a PC guy until then), some books, and pay someone for website creation (I’ve learned that too!). And I should have paid for coaching.
- When to re-evaluate: My main milestone was when I got my first app in the store. But the first re-evaluation time came when I finished the course, if I still enjoyed it and felt confident enough to move ahead.
- Accountability: I had a business partner for this app plus a normal accountability partner. And logging my time worked well because I didn’t want to disappoint myself!
Finally something easy, right? No! I want you to delegate to the PROCESS you’ve just setup.
That means putting your head down, keep moving forward, and not looking up until you’ve hit the first re-evaluation milestone.
When learning a new skill, you will stink at it for a while. And that means you’ll probably want to give up quickly – this is hard since so much self-confidence can come from being competent in areas we think are important.
But here’s what you need to do: GET RID OF THAT STINKIN’ THINKIN’! Nobody is good at anything until spending time and effort. A baby learning to walk doesn’t give up after falling, right? So keep trying; at the beginning you’ll feel like you’re crawling, but one day you’ll walk, followed by running! It just takes time. And this is why you’ve committed to keep going until the hours or re-evaluation milestone is reached.
Remember, a baby has mom and dad cheering them along. Hello, accountability partner!
So try this method today – right now! If you’re already learning something, take it through this method to amp it up. Or start something new.
Decide what you want and why…create your Action Plan…and Delegate the results to the process.
What would you like to learn? Add it in the comments below and I’ll respond with some thoughts to help you create the plan. I will even be your accountability partner for this!
Dave is Larry’s partner in FLASHPOINTS and yoogozi.com (type Braun in the search bar to see what else he’s written). He’s a certified John Maxwell speaker/trainer/coach, works with a marriage ministry at onefleshawakening.com, and does freelance website design, often in conjunction with Wordflirt.com. He previously worked in the corporate world for 30 years as leader of diverse teams at a semiconductor company. Dave can be reached at [email protected] and occasionally tweets as @dpbraun (yes, the next thing he should learn more about is twitter).