If you ask someone what’s stopping them from doing something, a common response is often “because I don’t know how to do it.” As a kid, this is a perfectly acceptable response and usually results in an adult showing them how to do what they wanted to do. As an adult however, there’s often no one there to immediately help you, so what do you do? Well there’s two options. Option A, give up it’s a lost cause. Option B, learn how to do what it is you wanted to do. How? Keep reading and I’ll help you figure out how to learn to do almost anything.
IT STARTS WITH YOUR ATTITUDE
Learning is as much a state of mind as it is a process. I know by now you’ve all probably heard the saying “whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” There really is some truth behind that saying in my opinion.
What you say and think often becomes your reality. Saying “I don’t know how to do it” really means that you don’t want to figure out how to do something. Notwithstanding physical and mental handicaps, there are very few things in life that you can’t learn to do.
So the first step to learning to do something is to always check your attitude. We all have two hands, legs, feet, and a head with a brain in it, so in reality there’s no reason why you can’t learn to do something someone else has done. Your attitude will make all the difference when it comes to learning. Think about what it is you really want to learn to do, and then tell yourself you can learn to do it.
Having a positive attitude to learning will do more for your learning than any course or instruction you may receive.
DO SOME RESEARCH
After you’ve found something you want to learn to do and have set your mind to positively pursuing it, it’s time to do some research. In today’s age of information, the problem is not having enough resources, it’s having too much information available. So where to start?
The quickest and probably easiest place to start is the internet. It really is a great source for information but it is often taken for granted. Can you imagine if you lived 100 years ago and someone told you that you would be able to have instant access to almost any book, article, letter or newspaper at the click of a button? They’d say you’re crazy! Lucky for us that is the world we live in today so be sure to take advantage of it.
I would usually start my research by trying to figure out the timeline, requirements and path necessary for the task you want to learn. For sake of example let’s say you wanted to learn how to write a novel. You can research the web for what you’ll need to become a writer such as the skills, education, experience etc. From there you can get a rough idea of the time and effort you will have to put into learning. You’ll need to be a little bit realistic here. If what you want to do takes years to learn, and you are only willing to devote a month to it, sorry to say but it’s probably not going to happen.
READ A FEW BOOKS
While you’re researching on the internet you’ll likely come across some books that could be helpful in your learning. If not just Google books on how to do or be “xyz” and you’ll find a bunch. Being the thorough researcher that you are, you’ll find the best books on your topic from experts in the field.
I always like to buy a few good books for anything I’m serious about learning. A good book is a great resource of information that you can refer back to at anytime. Books are a good place for you to start your learning but you’ll want to start with the basics ones first.
Continuing with the writing example this could mean finding books on grammar, writing do’s and don’ts, and basic story structure to start.
Think of the learning process as the same process you would take to building a house.
You need to start with a solid foundation, and then add to it brick by brick, slowly so that the house will be solid and sturdy once it’s complete.
DISCOVER THE MASTERS IN THE FIELD
In your research you’ll probably come across people who are considered experts in the field. Maybe you want to learn something BECAUSE you were inspired by someone you saw. These masters are people who you can learn from. Study them and learn from them. See how they got to be where they are today. They didn’t get to be an expert in their craft by chance. Learn from their worth ethic or unique way of thinking. They are often great sources of inspiration and are good people to aspire to be like.
EVALUATE YOUR CURRENT LEVEL
Now that you’ve done your research it’s time to jump right into it! Whoooa Nelly….not so fast hot-shot, slow down. The number one mistake that most eager beavers make when learning something is starting at a point that is well above their current level. It’s like jumping into a game of basketball without ever having dribbled a ball before. It’s just not going to end well for you friend.
Jumping in at a level that is higher than what your currently capable of doing is a quick way to get discouraged. You’ll end up thinking that it’s too hard and might want to give up.
Be realistic about your current level. If in doubt, always consider yourself a complete newbie and start from the beginning. In fact no matter what level you’re at it’s always good to carry a beginners mindset to learning. I’ll make a post going in-depth about this mindset later on but for now just remember, build that foundation, start as a beginner.
TAKE A CLASS
It’s likely that what you’re trying to learn has been taught by someone before. If you’re lucky you can find a class to take near you. Learning in a group setting has its benefits and I’d highly recommend doing so if you have the opportunity, why?
- You’ll meet like-minded people who are passionate about learning the same thing you are.
- Hands on instruction is always an effective way to learn. You’ll have immediate feedback and guidance which can accelerate the process of learning.
- It sets aside specific time for you to learn. Classes usually cost money, so that means you’ll attend and won’t skip out because you don’t feel like learning that day. You wouldn’t do that anyways though right? 😛
Online courses are another option. Again another benefit of the internet is that if you live in a less populated area and can’t attend a class locally, there are classes available online no matter where you’re located. With more and more online classes being offered each year, there should be no reason you can’t find one that meets your needs. Not quite as effective as in person learning but a good option none the less.
The last option is the good old school of YouTube. Yes the good old Tube. It’s free and you can find some pretty good tutorials on just about anything on there. A good free option but you’ll have to do some digging to find what you need.
FIND A MENTOR
If you can, try to find a mentor. Someone who has experience in what you’re trying to learn to do. They won’t teach you every step of the way, but a good mentor is someone who you can go to when you need them. If you’re stuck in your learning or need some advice getting through a learning roadblock, your mentor can help you get through it. They are the people who have been down the same road as your before and know exactly what you are going through because they were there once too. If you find a good mentor, consider yourself lucky. They will be invaluable to you as go through the learning process.
PUT IN THE WORK
You can learn anything you want to, but you have to be willing to put in the work. Like with anything worth doing in life, learning something new takes a little blood, sweat and tears. If you’re not willing to put in the work to learn, then you probably fall short of your goal.
Depending on what you choose to learn, the work may require hours and hours of practice and dedication. From our writing example, learning how to write a novel could take years. The foundation would involve learning how to write properly, different writing styles, how to set pacing, develop characters, edit, pitch, and market your novel. You might even learn how to write a novel but in the end no one want’s to publish it! That bring’s me to my last tip.
LEARN TO RESPECT THE PROCESS
Learning has become sort of a lost art. People now more than ever are fixated on results and instant gratification. Technology such as the internet and cell phones have contributed to this in some ways, a double-edged sword so to speak. To truly learn something and be a master of it you have to learn to respect the process of learning itself.
Learning is a game of trial and error.
Not getting the results you want on your first time learning something doesn’t mean that you failed to learn. It just means you found a way that didn’t work for you. Make note of what you did right. Make notes of what you did wrong. Then make adjustments and try again. That is the process of learning. Trial and error, failure after failure, adjustment, after adjustment. This is learning.
In the end you’ll come to realize that there is no end to learning something. You can come close to mastery of something, but there’s always room for improvement. How much you want to learn to do something and how long you are willing to spend mastering it is up to you. Just remember to appreciate the process, because the act of learning something is a reward in itself.
HOW TO LEARN ANYTHING – IN SUMMARY
Well that just about wraps up my post on how to learn to do almost anything. Here’s a quick reminder of the key takeaways of the article:
- Learning starts with your attitude. You can learn to do something as long as you set your mind to it.
- Don’t forget to do your research. A little research will help lay the foundation for your learning. The Internet and books are good places to start your research.
- Evaluate your current level. Underestimate your level rather than overestimate to ensure you start at a level appropriate to you.
- Take a class. If you’re lucky to have a class available locally that’s great. If not, there’s always virtual and online options available.
- Find a mentor. They will be your lifeboat when you think you’re drowning and can’t make it.
- Put in the work. No one can learn for you. You’ll have to put in the blood, sweat and tears yourself. Hard work is rewarded.
- Respect the process. Learning is just a process, learn to enjoy it and have fun while you’re doing so.
One last thing I want to leave you with is that this is just my learning process. Everyone learns differently. There is no right or wrong way to learn. There is only ways that work and don’t work for you.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? How did you learn to do it and what is your best advice for other learners out there? Everyone learns in their own way so I’d love to hear some of your learning tips and tricks. Be sure to leave your comments below!
If you like what you’ve read and want to stay current be sure to subscribe to the blog so you’ll never miss a post. Always love hearing from people so don’t be shy to leave a comment or just say hello, happy pursuits!