Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.
-Louis E. Boone-
I recently read an article in which Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything Fast, asserts that we can learn any new skill with 20 hours of practice. You can read that article here.
Josh goes on to describe how he learned to program in exactly 20 hours off practice. I can attest to the validity of Josh’s findings in that I’ve taught myself HTML, Layout, and Design, and Card Magic, in just about that many hours of practice.
You may say that’s ridiculous but read on. The point isn’t to “master” a skill but to learn to do it well enough that you can actually obtain usable results. According to studies, mastery can take up to 10,000 hours of committed practice, but you’re not looking to become the next Michael Jordan of bowling, you just need to know enough to keep up with your friends.
Josh further admonishes us to get past the learning curve. No one likes to feel foolish and unable, which is what we might feel when we’re attempting to learn a new skill like playing guitar, learning to use a spreadsheet or other such program. Once we tackle the awkward stage, we should begin to see usable skills being manifest right before our very eyes.
This weekend might be a good time to dust off that old guitar, pull out that knitting book and needle set, or start your very own blog. Whatever it is, be willing and unafraid to go for it!