How to Learn Anything
"The major barrier to skill acquisition isn't intellectual... it's emotional." An excellent reminder of how easy it can be to learn a new skill. Kaufman says it only takes 20 hours!
Update: I'd like to add a counterpoint to balance Kaufman's message. I love his talk and it feels intuitively true to me, but there's also another side to the story.
Sometimes it's more fun to learn inefficiently! I love leisurely learning, like following tangents or indulging in reading too many books. :) Every field of study has its own culture and community, its own legends and weird trivia and rich backstories. Exploring and immersing yourself in those strange new cultures is half the fun!
So on top of those 20 hours focused on efficiency, I think it's just as important to have at least a few hours of fun, inefficient, purely exploratory learning.
And unlike what Kaufman says, I think feeling stupid and incompetent is actually the best part! Being a complete beginner at something is a bit like being in love for the first time; everything is completely new, your perception is heightened, and those first experiences are more likely to become lasting memories. And since complete beginners are guaranteed to be stupid and incompetent at first, there's absolutely no pressure!
As for the frustration of learning something completely new, I say embrace it! Frustration is just the build-up to the dopamine rush of the magical "aha!" moment -- you know, when things just "click" and everything suddenly makes sense. It's a rush, isn't it?
And that's my favorite thing about learning: you'll never run out of those "aha!" moments, because there's always something new to learn!
"Josh Kaufman is the author of the #1 international bestseller, 'The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business', as well as the upcoming book 'The First 20 Hours: Mastering the Toughest Part of Learning Anything.' Josh specializes in teaching people from all walks of life how to master practical knowledge and skills. In his talk, he shares how having his first child inspired him to approach learning in a whole new way."