Wondering how to learn a new skill? This guide will teach you.
If you’re wondering why this is important, read this article about The Wealth Triangle, which explains the first fundamental to wealth being a high-income skill.
Every skill you have ever learned can be reduced into these 2 simple models:
- The Dreyfus Model
- The Confidence Cycle.
The Dreyfus Model is a way of seeing where you are skill wise. With this, you can track your progress as you make your way from total newbie to world class expert.
Here it is broken down into five stages:
- Advanced Beginner
The Novice Stage
Here is where you learn the foundational moves that the skill requires.
Some examples include:
- Learning the steps in how to do a backflip
- Using legs instead of your arms in rock climbing
- Learning what actually makes you lose or gain weight
The important thing to note is: always learn the fundamentals from an expert you can trust.
Nothing will set you back further than someone who thinks they know what they’re doing, gives you terrible information, and in the end, leads you down the wrong path.
Going this route will leave you spinning your wheels, you’ll have to unlearn bad habits, and ultimately, it’ll take a lot longer to reach any level one would consider “good”.
The Advanced Beginner Stage
After gaining some experience, you start to understand when to do what.
Some examples include:
- Bending your knees as your arms swing down for the backflip
- Using your legs as a counter balance while climbing
- Differentiating between macro and micronutrient foods
The key here is gaining experience.
You can study theory all day, but until you actually start logging hours, you’ll never understand the subtle nuances that come with doing the actual practice.
At this point, you’re using situational and non situational cues to know when to perform the next move.
The Competent Stage
What’s interesting about this stage is that with so much information you now have, your brain will come up with rules of what’s important and what’s not important.
Before, if you didn’t know what to do, you would blame the rules you were given. Reaching this stage, you know what you’re doing wrong, and you start taking responsibility for your choices.
Some examples might be:
- Attempting a backflip without a spotter
- Positioning your body correctly for the next move
- Tracking macronutrients and weighing food to hit them properly
At this point, you’re almost there. You become emotionally attached to the outcome. You know the right path, and if you make a mistake, you know what happened and you take full responsibility.
The number one thing here: Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes, just use it as data.
The Proficient Stage
After lots of testing and experience with your brain reinforcing the correct paths and the wrong ones, you now get a feeling for what to do instead of thinking logically about each step.
You have obvious goals and very little doubt as to what you’re trying to accomplish.
- You’ve landed your first backflip
- You see a climbing route and can see the path you want to take
- You no longer have to weigh your food since you know a general ballpark
After being immersed in a skill for so long, you now see what needs to be done, you just have to make the decision to do it.
The Expert Stage
The last stage, you’re finally here!
At this stage, it’s the 1% differences that separate an expert vs someone who is just proficient. From good, to great.
Examples would be:
- Waiting a split second before tucking to achieve maximum height
- Climbing insanely tough routes with zero beta
- Eating out at restaurants and being pretty close at estimating calories
The only way to reach this stage is by stupid amounts of practice. Depending on the skill, it can take years to reach this stage. Once you do however, MRI research has identified that different parts of the brain (other than logic) are activated.
You no longer think, you just do.
Some bad news: Most people will never reach this stage. This is the 1% of everyone who has ever tried learning the particular skill.
The people who put in 10,000+ hours.
The good news: The fastest way to move through each stage is by moving through The Confidence Cycle.
The Confidence Cycle
Now that you have a mental model of the stages towards becoming an expert, the question is, how do you get there?
Here is where the confidence cycle comes in:
Step One: Practice the Skill
There’s no getting around this. To get good at anything, you have to practice.
Step Two: Apply Them Effectively
While practicing is important, it’s not enough.
To apply our skills effectively, we have to step out of our comfort zones and put ourselves in challenging situations.
Through lots of exposure and testing, you will start recognizing patterns and overcome fear and self doubt which will inevitably pop up.
Step Three: Assess The Result
As you apply your skills in different scenarios, the key here is to reflect on your results.
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- How can we do it different next time?
It’s been said time and again, but having a mentor would help tremendously. They know exactly what stage you’re at and how to move onto the next one as efficiently as possible.
Always remember: Assess non judgmentally without beating yourself up.
Step Four: Modify As Needed
Based upon your results, modify what you’re doing.
Do more of what is working, change or modify what is not working.
Using and understanding these two models will help you become world class, extremely fast.
One thing to note, as mentioned earlier. Be careful and make sure to learn from an EXPERT, and not just someone pretending to be. I’ve taken programs in the past that not only didn’t show me the correct path, they just confused me even more.
Understand the Dreyfus Model, notice what stage you’re at and how to level up from there. Remember, there are only five stages:
- Advanced Beginner
At each stage, go through the Confidence Cycle.
Practice effectively. Assess the results. Modify as needed.