In the video included below is a TED Talk from author Josh Kaufman on how we can become good at something in only 20 hours! Feel free to ignore what I say here and just watch the video. I won't be offended I promise.
Kaufman explains the "normal" perceived time to become an expert in a particular skill is 10,000 hours - To put that into context, it would take you roughly 5 years, working on it 38 hours per week! To reach expert mode.
But wait there's good news! He explains that in most cases we don't want to become an expert, we just want to be good at something, like playing guitar. I don't have any intentions of becoming the next Ed Sheeran and selling out stadiums. I just want to be able to play a handful of my favorite songs and sing along.
He continues to explain that we only have to really focus on 20 hours of deliberate practice of a task. This is roughly 45 minutes of practice per day over a month! Now, this sounds better!
Before you start picking up the guitar, buying a skateboard or practicing your karate kicks.
There Are 4 Simple Steps to Follow to Rapid Skill Acquisition
Deconstruct the Skill
Decide exactly what it is you want to be able to do and break the task into smaller skill sets.
For example; It is possible to play most songs in just 3 simple chords, G, C & D. Now instead of learning everything from scratch and every chord possible, I can just focus on learning these 3 chords!
Learn Enough to Self-Correct
It is important to know when you are getting better and when you are making mistakes so you can make changes to your practice when needed.
Remove Barriers to Practice
Anything that distracts you from focusing on your task needs to be removed and making your desired task easy to do.
For example - If I want to make sure I get my guitar practice in, placing my guitar stand in the lounge room, will make it easier for me to just pick it up and play.
Practice for at Least 20 Hours
Sounds obvious but we need to pre-commit to the 20 hours before we start, to make sure we get over the frustrating period of being bad at it. Like most things we do for the first time, we suck but knowing over the 20 hours of focused and deliberate practice we will become remarkably better!
It makes sense right? Again I don’t expect Ed Sheeran to be asking me to be a support act for his next show but if I was to commit 20 hours over the next 4 weeks to practicing, using this structure, I’d be pretty confident to be playing Wonderwall at the next family BBQ!
Watch the video below to see Josh Kaufman’s TED Talk!
What skill or hobby would you like to be good at? What are you prepared to spend only 20 hours of practice on?
Leave a comment below on what you are going to try this on!