How To Learn Anything 10X Faster [New Skills In Days]
Entrepreneurs accept the fact that in order to be successful, we need to embrace life-long learning.
No matter how much you think you know, there will always be a new challenge or a new roadblock that needs you to step out of your comfort zone.
This is where being agile, nimble on your feet is important in the world of entrepreneurship.
However, if you know anything about the schooling system, we're usually tasked with reading 100s of pages, watching 10s of videos, and writing up essays on a particular topic to learn about it.
When I came into business, I adopted a similar learning style as the one I used in school.
I would watch endless videos on the topic and write all about it.
After a few weeks to a month is when I could finally test out what I've learnt.
It's even harder if you're naturally a 'perfectionist.'
The reality is, however, in business the perfectionist never wins - it's always those that do it before them.
Being a perfectionist is sort of like having a fear of releasing things too early before they're fully ready.
This is very bad, when all you hear is 'be lean,' 'launch early,' and so on.
I'm currently building a SaaS product called 'Hawk' (more on this to be revealed) which is essentially a sales tool that helps people connect with prospects.
I had managed to build the backbones of the product within a week, but the wrapping up and the 'nice to haves' are the reason I haven't launched yet.
See, I've learnt to build something very quickly - but releasing is always another problem of it's own.
By now, you may know the importance of being faster than the competition in business.
Part of this all comes down to learning quickly, failing quickly, and moving on fast.
In this article, we're going to cover some techniques I've adopted that help me learn things up to 10 times faster than most other people.
Watch videos on 2X speed
I forgot how I managed to stumble on this gem.
The more I realised how valuable my time is, the more I wanted to utilise it to its full extent.
In another article I made a statement that said:
If it doesn't make me healthier or wealthier, stop it.
By far the best thing I've learnt to do is watch videos or podcasts on 2X speed.
Generally, I am a very fast speaker and people often find it hard to understand what I say - especially when we're meeting for the first time.
During my customer discovery interviews for Condesnr, I would start by explaining the purpose of the interview and then sit in silence for a few seconds looking at the person on the other end trying to process what I said.
In many instances, they would even ask me to repeat it.
So I'm not completely sure if being able to watch videos on 2X speed is possible for everyone, but it has been a massive time saver for me.
You may oftentimes find yourself needing to watch a video that is around an hour-long or more.
Instead of spending 60 minutes watching the video, you could spend 30 minutes watching the video on 2X speed.
For some videos, it depends on the speed at which people talk.
In most cases, however, I've managed to fully gauge what is being said in a video on 2X speed.
I've also naturally got a pretty short attention span.
I get distracted easily by a lot of things around me.
Watching videos on 2X speed sort of forces me to pay attention to the video and puts me into a deep state of focus.
To start out, you could begin by watching videos on 1.5X speed.
YouTube has a cool feature where you can customise the speed to anything between 1-2X.
Drown all distractions
As I've previously mentioned, I have a very short attention span.
I tend to get distracted by anything around me when I'm working and often get up to walk around the house because I get 'bored.'
Over the past year, I've managed to scale these distractions down.
I usually set some mental goals or time brackets for when I can let my distractions take over.
After this, I take a little break before working on my software business - Hawk.
The main distractions in our lives are usually mobile devices, TV's and other tech products.
We can also consider other people a distraction but in many cases, it's not very easy to get rid of those unless you go and do your work in a library.
I went from spending 10+ hours on social media and gaming per day to maybe less than an hour on social networks and 0 hours on gaming per day.
This did not come easy but definitely worth the time and effort practising because it will pay off big in the long run.
Let's do some maths.
Let's say you spend 4 hours on social media per day - this is probably lower than the average person nowadays.
4 hours per day is 1460 hours per year.
This equals 146 books per year.
Realistically, you won't spend 4 hours reading a day.
Even if you spent only 30 minutes a day - an eighth of that - you would be able to read 18 books per year.
Sometimes it's not about being faster, it's about being more efficient.
If you're anything like me and you get distracted by anything, you could always put on some instrumentals.
Jazz is my favorite for focus, but you can listen to anything that helps you focus better.
As long as there are no words being sung, you should be good to go.
Learn then apply
Building Condensr, we were solving one main problem - saving entrepreneurs time and helping them get the information they need when they need it.
After discovering the sheer amount of competition - YouTube, podcasts, other summary apps, blogs, articles, I no longer thought this is a good business to pursue.
Whilst working on Condesnr, however, I realised another truth.
Applying what they learnt was.
We all know how to learn things, but most of us don't know how to apply the things we learnt.
I uncovered lots of great things during my 30+ interviews for Condensr.
I learnt the different styles people used to learn things and so I found the best way that people learn both quickly and effectively.
This was simply just applying what they've learnt.
One person I spoke to would read a book, and as soon as they find something worth doing, they would put the book down and go apply it.
He didn't worry about how well he did it, as long as he put it into action.
To a perfectionist, this would sound counter-intuitive, but it works really well.
Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world, prioritises experience over knowledge when it comes to hiring talent.
He's clearly doing something right given his status in life and his success to date.
Like the example above, applying what you learn does not mean having to get it right the first time around.
The important part is rolling up your sleeves and getting to work - if you fail, you can figure out where you went wrong.
I have absolutely no technical ability when it comes to coding.
However, I still managed to build a technology-heavy app within a week just by watching some YouTube videos and mostly by trying, failing, and retrying.
research quickly, apply faster - this is how to truly learn 10X faster.
Take summarised notes
Although I was bashing note-taking earlier on, I still believe it is one of the most important things in learning quickly.
What I don't agree with, is taking 100s of pages of notes like how school teaches you to do things.
Who even goes back and rereads these notes?
Back in school, when it came time to revise for an exam, I would rarely ever look over my notes.
After all, they were all over the place I couldn't find them.
Note-taking is one of the most popular ways of learning - hence the reason there are 100s or even 1000s of note-taking apps out there.
Although there are no real differences, I really love using Evernote.
On top of this, I really like taking physical notes on paper or a notepad, or even using my Samsung notes feature.
The real sauce comes down to taking summarised notes.
Let's say you're watching a course on Skillshare.
When you're able to learn something from the course - you should then try to explain it in as few words as possible.
Take note of the short version you've managed to create and this should help you store notes effectively.
Writing massive chunks of notes is both boring to read and very time-consuming too.
You may see other article writers write their articles in massive chunks.
I try to limit my writing to 2-3 lines before breaking into another line.
This makes it a lot easier to read and digest for you guys!
Luckily, in an innovative time like today, there are a few note-taking apps out there that do offer AI technology meaning you could make notes and the software will summarise it for you.
However, I wouldn't bet my money on those apps doing the job for me.
By far one of the best ways to learn is by going to someone who has knowledge of what you're looking to learn about.
People who have been in your position and came out on top.
These are what you may call mentors or coaches.
I prefer the term mentors because wherever you look today, there seems to be a coach who knows everything.
Personally, I don't have a mentor nor a coach.
However, I've had the experience of being mentored and coached quite a few times in the past year and a bit.
I can't complain about these experiences. Each time, I've managed to cut my learning curve infinitely with the help of someone like a mentor.
For example, whilst building out the Hawk software, I had to learn to integrate APIs.
For almost a week, I played around with the software making incremental progress each day.
I managed to fix the API problem within an hour once I looked for help and asked a coach/mentor.
After this, I managed to set up a completely new API within a few hours of work in total all on my own.
This is the power of support and mentoring.
The reason it works so well is that everything taught is custom-tailored to you and your needs.
When you look at books or YouTube videos, you may rarely find something so concentrated on your exact problem at that specific time.
Most YouTube videos, books, and even articles are all more general in what they cover.
Finding a mentor or some form of support is easier than it really looks.
All you have to do is 'seek it and you shall find' it.
Yesterday, I was looking for a way to set up Stripe as a way to accept subscription packages on my software - Hawk.
I asked the community because there was nothing else on YouTube that explained it.
From there, someone sent me an article.
After reading the article, I had a few more questions and so I sent the author a message on Twitter and got a reply.
It's usually that straightforward.
Manage your time effectively
Finally, you want to make sure that your time is spent effectively rather than all over the place.
Learning quickly doesn't always necessarily mean putting in as much work as possible.
When I was building out my first e-commerce business, I spent most of the day watching videos, learning about setting up the store, finding suppliers, cutting delivery times, etc.
However, a large portion of my time was also spent gaming as I still hadn't quite gotten out of those habits.
My previous article talks about breaking bad habits easily and for good.
Once I started forex trading, I spent hours and hours consecutively locked away in my room, and learning by watching course content, reading, and so on.
This time around I started to quit my habits of gaming and focus more on the matter at hand.
This was also the wrong approach.
I fell victim to the idea of "working as hard as possible, nonstop and sacrificing everything."
I've mentioned how this is the completely wrong mindset to have and how detrimental it can be to your success.
Following what others say blindly will lead you down a road hard to recover from.
If you're looking for creators worth listening to, here's my list of 4 people I think are worth watching if you're looking to grow a business.
For all my ventures I start now, I adopt this mindset I've mentioned above:
If it doesn't make me healthier or wealthier, stop it.
I started implementing time brackets for working - but I'm pretty bad at tracking time.
So instead of setting time for every hour of my day, I split my day up into a few hour blocks.
Work for 1-2 hours, take a small break, and repeat.
For some, the Pomodoro technique may work really well.
It's all about testing and iterating until you reach your optimal equilibrium.
Did you learn anything new in this article?
Let me know below.
Till next time,
Mohamad 'SaaS' Alasadi
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