# How to Quickly Master New Skills

This is a summary of "How to kick ass at a new skill you're not wildly passionate about (opens new window)" by Amy Hoy. All credit should go to her for that masterpiece of a blog post.

This is my perspective and summary of her amazing (much more colorfully written 3500+ word) post. You should probably go read it for yourself if this summary appeals to you at all.

# Quitting vs Mastering a Skill

  1. We quickly master skills which feel easy and quit learning those which feel difficult to become proficient at.
  2. It's adventageous for us to have become proficient at more than just one skill (see my principle on investing in flexibility (opens new window))
  3. The trick is to make the learning/mastering part feel easy
  4. Have a plan. Stick to the plan. The plan is what's below.

# Quickly Start to Expert Advice ("Plunge")

Goal: Get a sense of the operating rules behind what you want to learn; the components, the steps, what is important, what is not important, the process

  1. Research a maximum of 3-6 articles or videos by experts (hint: this should take hours, not days or weeks)
  2. Write down what you learned

# Set Yourself up for Success ("K.I.S.S.")

Goal: Feel the "win" by hitting a low bar

  1. Simplify and distill the process or instructions into less steps, dependencies, requirements, and/or a smaller, simpler output (hint: use training wheels and don't shoot for perfection the way the experts to it). Learn how to do the skill "the easy way".
  2. Try to do the skill

# Use What You Made ("Proof")

Goal: Identify the one major thing that isn't right with it by using/testing it yourself

  1. Ship it, even if you don't want to. Especially if it kinda sucks.
  2. You can only learn what went wrong with it by using/shipping/exposing/doing/eating/testing/showing it
  3. Identify one big thing to fix. This gives you the next piece to focus on.

# Compare to a Superior Work ("Compare")

Goal: Measure progress on "easy mode" and find a maximum of 1 or 2 areas for improvement

  1. Remember: You are not your work.
  2. You can tell if you're progressing if you measure against superior work.
  3. Progress gives you a dopamine hit. Dopamine hits keep you enjoying the process. Enjoying the process makes it feel easy. Feeling easy creates motivation for more progress. Rinse and repeat.
  4. Pick ONLY 1 or 2 examples to measure against
  5. Pick examples to measure against that are similar in scope to what you made
  6. Pick examples that are good, not perfect (hint: "good" = "things that work well for their intended purpose")
  7. Find 1 or 2 areas for improvement in your work vs chosen examples
  8. Find areas for improvement in the examples' work (there's always mistakes)

# Understand the Reason for your Errors ("Reason")

Goal: Identify why the areas for improvement are wrong using the theory understood above

  1. Using the "Quickly Start to Expert Advice" step (understanding the theory of what makes the output "good"), identify the reason for the errors - the "why"
  2. In the previous step you identified what's wrong, but this step is about identifying why it's wrong.

# Work on One Error at a Time ("Isolate")

Goal: Change one thing at a time to be able to measure progress

  1. Tweak/change only one thing at a time. This allows you to know you've fixed the problem area with the next iteration.

# Iterate Quickly ("Repeat")

Goal Continue to take action (ship again with 1 tweak)

  1. To create success, eliminate failure, one point at a time
  2. Keep moving forward. Keep taking action. Keep shipping.

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Nate Ritter