10 Questions to Ask Yourself to Guarantee Success in Learning New Skills

People often ask me: “How are you able to learn so many skills so quickly?”

The answer is simple. For each skill, I have a clear answer to the following 10 questions:


1. Who is your average of the five people you spend the most time with?

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

Who are you spending the most time with? Are they motivating you to act on your learnings or are they toxic?

As much as you can, surround yourself with people who will uplift you. You become who you are hanging out with. By simply being with people who have similar goals to you, you are allowing yourself to achieve things more effortlessly.

Further reading: How to Up Your Entourage Regardless of Your Current Situation


2. Who or what keeps you accountable?

“When accountability is present, people keep their eyes on a very clear prize. They know what they are working toward and how they are going to get there.” — Henry J. Evans

Who or what makes it so you follow through on your daily learning?

This is a very critical one. Set some accountability before learning something. Make your goal so clear that it becomes a necessity in your mind. Two ways I keep myself accountable is I mention what I’m working on learn publicly and I find myself an accountability buddy. But there’s no right or wrong, as long as it works for you.

Further reading: How Being Accountable Got Me Off the Couch Once and for All


3. Where do you practice?

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.” — Yogi Berra

Where physically do you practice the skills you want to learn?

This has surprisingly more impact than most people would believe. For most skills, find a location that is “comfortable” and distraction-free. If it’s a team skill, are you practicing with your team or always by yourself? Always have a good idea of where your optimal practice setting would be before you even start. Adjust as needed.

Further reading: Learn New Skills in 15 Hours: The Essential Guide


4. When do you practice?

“Concentration is the root of all the higher abilities in man.” — Bruce Lee

How frequently do you practice? At what time?

This is a greatly overlooked concept, but if you practice ad-hoc without a schedule, you’ll fail. What is your learning schedule like? Do you practice when your mind is most sharp? Do you practice when your body is primed? Always practice when your brain is prone to learning.

Further reading: Learn New Skills in 15 Hours: The Essential Guide


5. How do you measure your progress?

“There is no one right way to measure your progress. Any way you decide to do it will work. The important point is that you do some type of measurement.” — Jerry Bruckner

Do you simply practice without knowing if you’re getting better at all? What does it mean for you to back better at the skills you are learning?

This is a very important question. Without knowing what it means to progress for you, you won’t progress at all. Like Peter Drucker said: “What gets measured gets managed.” Always figure out what key “metrics” you want to measure for the skills you want to learn.

Further reading: Learn Any Skill: The Ultimate Step-by-step guide


6. What is your ultimate end goal?

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.“— Peter Drucker

Why do you do what you do? What are the right things to do to progress?

Always be effective and do the right things. And the right things depend on why is it that you want to learn the skills you want to learn. This question is often overlooked but gives a whole meaning to your learning. Before starting to learn anything, always ask yourself why you want to learn it.

Further reading: How to Become a Polymath in 2019


7. How much did you spend learning your new skills?

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.“— Benjamin Franklin

Did you spend any money to learn a skill? Are you going to?

Spending money on your learning adds much-needed accountability. Isn’t it true that you’re more likely to do something if it cost you hard-earned money? Buy books. Attend conferences and seminars. Buy courses and programs. Any of these will give you extra motivation to continue and perform.

Further reading: I Paid $10k to See Tony Robbins Live. Here Are the 5 Lessons I’ve Learned So Far


8. How much research did you do beforehand?

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” — Zora Neale Hurston

What is required to learn the skill you want to learn? How are you going to learn it? What’s your action plan?

Most people say they want to learn a new skill and simply search on Google: “Best way to learn…”. Well, this doesn’t exactly work. The best way to learn anything is never the best way for everyone. What is YOUR optimal way to learn the skill? Do some research beforehand to figure it out.

Further reading: The Importance of Knowing What You Know


9. What is your morning and evening routine like?

“I have retired, but if there’s anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.“— Nelson Mandela

What do you do in the morning and what do you do in the evening?

These are the two most important moments of your day to set you up for a successful practice. A strong morning routine will put you in a positive mindset for the rest of the day. A good evening routine will improve the net quality of your sleep. Good sleep + positive mindset = win.

Further reading: How to Build a Strong Morning Routine: The Essential Guide


10. Who is learning alongside you?

“If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly.”― Steve Maraboli

Who is helping you with the skills you want to learn? Who else is also learning what you’re learning?

I saved the most important for last. Even though skill practice is mostly a solo endeavour, being surrounded by a community of learners greatly contributes to your accountability and success. Moreover, learning from others directly helps you not repeat mistakes others have already made. Find yourself mentors, tutors, and coaches.

Further reading: The Only 3 Things You Need To Provide Quality Education


Summary

When learning new skills, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Who is your average of the five people you spend the most time with?

  2. Who or what keeps you accountable?

  3. Where do you practice?

  4. When do you practice?

  5. How do you measure your progress?

  6. What is your ultimate end goal?

  7. How much did you spend learning your new skills?

  8. How much research did you do beforehand?

  9. What is your morning and evening routine like?

  10. Who is learning alongside you?

If you make it a routine to ask yourself these questions when learning new skills, you equip yourself for success. So don’t forget the ponder on them the next time you want to learn something new!

You can do this!

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