Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TED Tuesday: The First 20 Hours

Do you remember last week when I shared my discovery of an easy button?

Well if you didn't, I spent an entire weekend studying, familiarizing myself and testing my ability to work with Macro's in Excel 2010. Macro's are like a little shortcut for repetitive tasks, that if done right can seriously cut out a lot of manual efforts that get old if you do them every single day.

While I say it was an "easy" button, the work put into making the day to day easy was anything but. Walking into something I felt like I knew nothing about (and am still a beginner) was really intimidating, especially since I'd committed to my work teammates that I was going to succeed. While I didn't learn everything on my own, I definitely had to work through some tough mental moments where my low knowledge of the skill was a huge barrier to my learning.

I like to be good at things, and sometimes if I feel the frustration creeping in because I'm bad at something, it's so easy to give up on the idea you had in the first place.

Today's TED Talk is talking about this very same thing - the first 20 hours you spend on something new are important and critical to how well you will pick up that new skill, as well as the acquired confidence of the huge jump from "beginner" to 20 hours of experience.

Before the video, let me summarize the four easy to follow steps that will aid you in rapid skill acquisition of your newest adventure:

Deconstruct the skill

Decide exactly what you want to be able to do when you're done, and break it down step by step to be able to get there. It's easier to learn smaller bits of information at a time, so allow yourself to learn the important techniques that will help you get to a further level of skill faster.

Learn enough to self-correct

Use your resources - Books, DVD's and the internet are all great sources of information. Just be sure to not grab ALL of the books in the library or tell yourself you won't start practicing until you've read  30 articles online. Once you've learned enough, get your hands dirty and be able to identify when you're doing it right or doing it wrong. Awareness is huge here.

Remove barriers to practice

You know what I mean on this one but let me be clear. If you really want to learn it, turn off the TV - stop texting and scrolling instagram. Be mindful of the time you've allocated to practice and learn. You can spend 20 hours doing it half-assed, but then you've really only spent 10 and you're short changing yourself.

Practice for at least 20 hours

There's this thing called the frustration barrier. You're a beginner, you try something, you're still bad after only three hours of practice and you're ready to give up.

For me with macros, feeling inadequate was a barrier. Once I breached that golden threshold where I could self-correct and was understanding what would or wouldn't work, my understanding improved and my confidence increased. Pre-committing to 20 Hours helps you overcome the desire to give up early and will help you prove that you're capable of more than you think.

Watch today's video to break down this concept even further. Plus if you stick around you'll get to see Josh entertainingly put his theory into practice.

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