Hi everyone, two years ago, my life changed forever. My wife Kelsey and I welcomed our daughter Lila into the world now becoming a parent, is an amazing amazing experience. Your whole world changes overnight and all of your priorities change immediately so fast that it makes it really difficult to process.
Sometimes now you also have to learn a tremendous amount about being a parent like, for example, how to dress your child. This was new to me III. This is an actual outfit. I thought this was a good idea and even Lila knows that it’s, not a good idea, so there was so much to learn and so much craziness all at once and to add to the craziness Kelsey and I both work from home.
We’re entrepreneurs, we run our own businesses, so Kelsey is a develops courses online for yoga teachers. I’m an author, and so I’m working for home Kelsey’s. Working for home. We have an infant and we’re, trying to make sure that everything gets done, that that needs done, and life is really really really busy and a couple weeks into this amazing experience when the sleep deprivation really kicked in like around a week 8.
I had this thought and it was the same thought that parents across the ages, internationally everybody has had this thought, which is, I am never going to have free time ever again, and this is somebody said it’s.
True yeah, it’s. It’s, not exactly true, but it feels really really true in that moment, and this this was really disconcerting to me, because one of the things that I enjoy more than anything else is learning new things, getting curious about something and diving in and Fiddling around and learning through trial and error, and eventually becoming pretty good at something, and without this this free time I didn’t know how I was ever going to do that ever again, and so I’m, a big geek.
I want to keep learning things I want to keep growing, and so what I decided to do was go to the library and go to the bookstore and look at what research says about how we learn and how we learn quickly.
And I read a bunch of books, I read a bunch of websites and trying to answer this question. How long does it take to acquire a new skill? You know what I found 10,000 hours. Anybody ever heard. This 10 Bell takes 10,000 hours.
If you want, if you want to learn something new, if you want to be good at it, it’s. Gon na take 10,000 hours to get there, and I read this in book after book and website after a website and the mental experience of reading all of this stuff, it was like.
Oh I, don’t have time I don’t. Have to I don’t have 10,000 hours. I am never going to be able to learn anything new ever again, but that’s, not true so 10,000 hours. Just to give you a rough order of magnitude.
10,000 hours is a full-time job for five years. That’s a long time and we’ve all had the experience of learning something new and it didn’t. Take us anywhere close to that amount of time right. So what’s up there’s? There’s, something kind of funky going on here, what the research says and what we expect and have experiences they don’t match up, and what I found here’s, the wrinkle the 10,000 hour rule came out of Studies of expert level performance there was a professor at Florida State University.
His name is K Anders Ericsson. He’s, the originator of the 10,000 hour rule and where that came from is he studied professional athletes, world-class musicians, chess grandmasters? All of these ultra competitive folks in ultra high performing fields – and he tried to figure out how long does it take to get to the top of those kinds of fields and what he found is the more deliberate practice, the more time that those individuals spent practicing.
The elements whatever it is that they do the more time you spend the better you get and the folks at the tippy top of their fields put in around 10,000 hours of practice. Now we’re talking about the game of telephone a little bit earlier here’s.
What happened and all there by the name of Malcolm Gladwell, wrote a book in 2007 called outliers. The story of success and the centerpiece of that book was the 10,000 hour rule practice a lot practice well, and you will do extremely well.
You reach the top of your field, so the message what dr. Anders Ericsson was actually saying is it takes 10,000 hours to get to the top of an ultra competitive field in a very narrow subject, that’s? What that means, but here’s.
What happened ever since outliers came out immediately came out reached. The top of the bestseller list, stayed there for three solid months. All of a sudden, the 10,000 hour rule was everywhere and a society-wide game of telephone started to be played.
So this message it takes 10,000 hours to reach the top of an ultra competitive field, became it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something which became it takes 10,000 hours to become good at something which became it takes 10,000 hours to learn something, but that Last statement it takes 10,000 hours to learn something it’s, not true.
It’s, not true. So what the research actually says, if I spent a lot of time here at the CSU library in the cognitive psychology stacks, because I’m a geek and when you actually look at the studies of skill acquisition you see over and over and over A graph like this now researchers, whether they’re, studying a motor skill, something you do physically or a mental skill.
They like to study things that they can time, because you can quantify that right. So they ‘ Ll, give research participants a little task, something that requires physical arrangement or something that requires learning a little mental trick and they’ll time.
How long a participant takes to complete the skill, and here’s. What this graph says when you start so when researchers gave participants a task, it took them a really long time because it was new and they were horrible with a little bit of practice.
They get better and better and better, and the early part of practice is really really efficient. People get good at things with just a little bit of practice. Now, what’s interesting to note, is that if you know we don’t really four skills that we want to learn for ourselves.
We don’t care so much about time right. We just care about how good we are whatever good happens to mean. So if we relatable performance time, how good you are the graph flips and you get this famous and widely known.
This is the learning curve and the story of the learning curve is when you start you’re, grossly incompetent, and you know it right with a little bit of practice. You get really good, really quick, so that early level of improvement, it’s really fast, and then at a certain point, you reach a plateau and the subsequent gains become much harder to get.
They take more time to get now. My question is: I want that right. How long does it take from starting something and being grossly incompetent and knowing it to being reasonably good in hopefully a short a period of time as possible? So how long does that take here’s? What my research says, 20 hours, that’s, it you can go from knowing nothing about any skill that you can think of.
You want to learn a language want to learn how to draw want to learn how to juggle flaming chainsaws. If you put 20 hours of focused deliberate practice into that thing, you will be astounded astounded at how good you are.
20 hours is doable that’s about 45 minutes a day for about a month, even skipping a couple days here, and there 20 hours, isn’t that hard to accumulate now there’s, a method to doing this, because It’s not like you can just start filling around for about 20 hours and expect these massive improvements.
There’s a way to practice intelligently. There’s, a way to practice efficiently. That will make sure that you invest. Those 20 hours in the most effective way that you possibly can and here’s, the method it applies to anything.
The first is to deconstruct the skill, decide exactly what you want to be able to do when you’re done and then look into the skill and break it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Most of the things that we think of as skills are actually big bundles of skills that require all sorts of different things.
The more you can break apart the skill, the more you’re able to decide what are the parts of this skill that will actually helped me get to what I want and then you can practice those first and if you practice the most important Things first, you’ll, be able to improve your performance in the least amount of time possible.
The second is learn enough to self-correct, so get three to five resources about what it is you’re. Trying to learn, it could be books. Could be, DVDs could be, courses could be anything, but don’t use those as a as a way to procrastinate on practice.
I I know I do this right. Get like 20 books about the topics like I’m gonna start learning how to program a computer when I complete these 20 books, no, that’s, procrastination. What you want to do is learn just enough that you can actually practice and self correct or self edit as you practice, so the learning becomes a way of getting better at noticing.
When you’re, making a mistake and then doing something a little different, the third is to remove barriers to practice, distractions television internet. All of these things that get in the way of you actually sitting down and doing the work and the more you’re able to use just a little bit of willpower to remove the distractions that are keeping you from practicing.
The more like you like likely, you are to actually sit down and practice right, and the fourth is to practice for at least 20 hours. Now most skills have what I call a frustration barrier. You know the grossly incompetent, knowing it part that’s.
Really really frustrating we don’t like to feel stupid and feeling stupid is a barrier to us actually sitting down and doing the work so by pre committing to practicing whatever it is that you want to do for at least 20 hours.
You will be able to overcome that initial frustration barrier and stick with the practice long enough to actually reap the rewards, all right that’s. It it’s, not rocket science, for very simple steps that you can use to learn.
Anything now this is easy to talk about in theory, but it’s more fun to talk about in practice. So one of the things that I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a long time is play that ukulele as anybody seen Jake Shimabukuro Snowtown where he plays the ukulele and makes it sound like he’s like a Google Ailee God it’s.
It’s. Amazing it’s like I saw this. It’s like that is so cool. It’s such a neat instrument. I would. I would really like to learn how to play, and so I decided that to test this theory, I wanted to put 20 hours into practicing Glalie and see I see where we got, and so the first thing about playing the ukulele is in order to practice.
You have to have one right, so I got it and Glalie and my lovely assistant. Thank you, sir. I think I need the cord here. It’s, not just nuke alele. It’s, an electric yeah, so the first couple hours are just like the first couple hours event.
Anything you have to get the tools that you’re. Using to practice. You have to make sure that they’re available. Maikelele didn’t come with strings attached. I had to figure out how to put those on like that’s kind of important right and learning how to tune and learning how to make sure that all of the things that need to be done in order to start practicing get done right.
Now one of the things when I was ready to actually start practicing was, I looked in online databases and song books for how to play songs and they say: okay ukuleles. You can play more than one string at a time, so you can play chords.
That’s cool! You’re accompanying yourself, yeah you, and when I started looking at songs, I I had. I had an oak alele chord book that hundreds of course, looking at the same. Oh wow, that’s intimidating, but when you look at the actual songs, you see the same chords over and over right as it turns out play nucleus is kind of like doing anything there’s, a very small set of things that Are really important and techniques that you’ll use all the time, and so in most songs you’ll use 4, maybe 5 chords, and that’s.
It that’s. The song you don’t have to know the hundreds as long as you know the 4 over the 5. So while I was doing my research, I found a wonderful little medley of of pop songs by a band called axis of awesome and somebody someone who knows it and what what axis of Awesome says is that you can learn or you can play pretty much any Pop song, over the past 5 decades, if you know four chords and those chords – are G D, G, minor C, four chords pump out every pop song ever right.
So I thought this is cool. I would like to play every pop song ever so that was a first song I decided to learn and I would like to actually share it with you: ready, [ Applause ], just a small-town girl, didn’t in a lonely world.
She had night train goin anywhere. I heard that you settled down, found the girl married now every night in my dreams. I see you, I feel you. That is how I know will. Oh it’s, a tape, no more, no more! It cannot wait.
I’m yours, it’s. Your amazing weed amazing things I could, but I would go wherever you will agree with always out you. What about myself find myself in times of trouble? Mother Mary comes to me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have partner the old woman.
The crap I’m. Mama Olli, is a dream. I come from a long gone under once a jolly swagman cams by a Billabong hey. I just met you, and this is crazy – give my number to call me: hey there, whoop whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, um diamonds.
I’ll Drive, say boo bar closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings, end [, Music, ]. I do it. I love that song and I have a secret to share with you so by playing that song for you.
I just hit my 20th hour of practicing the ukulele, and so it’s, amazing, pretty much anything that you can think of. What do you want to do the major barrier to learning something new? Is not intellectual? It’s, not the process of you learning a bunch of little tips or tricks or things the major barriers.
Emotional. We’re scared, feelings, stupid doesn’t feel good in the beginning of learning anything new you feel really stupid. So the major barrier is not intellectual. It’s emotional, but put 20 hours into anything.
It doesn’t matter. What do you want to learn? You want to learn language and learn how to cook. You want to learn how to draw what turns you on what lights you up go out, and do that thing it only takes 20 hours.