Updated: Sep 24, 2020
By Tucker Eastburn
Greetings Dear Readers!
“You can do anything you set your mind to.” – Benjamin Franklin
As humans, we are creatures who thrive and strive to always be learning. We love to learn more about a favorite hobby, a fantastic story, a fellow person, or any other myriad of different things. One of the ideals that Alexis and I live by is taking every day to further develop or learn new skills. We are firm believers that, to develop into the best version of yourself, you need to always be striving to evolve your learned skills and to push yourself to grow in new ways as well. Today, we are going to be talking about how the time is now to learn something new or to advance yourself more within a skill that you already have. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’ve never even done the thing you’re wanting to learn. This post, in essence, is really to show you how you can learn how to do anything and, most importantly, learn how to do it the correct way so that you can become professionally good at it.
1. The Magic Lies in the Fundamentals
When you set out to learn anything, whether it is drawing, playing an instrument, singing, playing a sport, writing, or anything else; you always start by learning the fundamental skills involved in that subject. I know this sounds incredibly obvious but let me break this down for you. When you are diving into learning a new skill, it is important to learn the fundamentals of that skill as, without them, you will never be able to accomplish anything in that field on a professional level. If you try to learn how to play the guitar without ever learning what notes are, what makes up chords, what the frets on the guitar mean, or any of the other basic fundamentals, you really won’t know how to play the guitar at all. Not only that, but you certainly wont be able to create anything new with the guitar yourself as all you will have learned to do is to copy how every other guitarist you’ve ever seen plays the guitar. Continuing with the analogy, if you never know the fundamentals of playing guitar and only copy everything you see, you wont even be able to understand how your favorite guitarists created what they did. As a result, you will never be able to create a piece of your own through the guitar and you will also never be able to completely duplicate what another guitarist does exactly either. This is because the guitarist you are learning from knows the fundamentals that go along with learning the instrument. They understand what makes up the riff they created because their brain put together what they heard in their mind and used the fundamentals they had learned to execute out what their creative spirit dreamed up. This truth extends not just to guitar playing but to every skill imaginable. If you do not learn the fundamentals, you should never expect to find any success or be able to create anything unique through the skill you’re trying to learn.
2. Practice As Much As Possible
Yes, you probably didn’t want to hear this at all but, if you want to get good at any kind of skill, you must practice as often as possible. It is said that, if you put ten-thousand hours into learning something, you will become an expert in whatever you have set your mind to doing. Now, if you wanted to become an expert, one thing we recommend is to do it in a reasonable way. We do not endorse you to put all the other essential parts of your life on hold in an unhealthy way just to accomplish your goal. Make sure that you balance your life so that you are taking care of all your responsibilities first as you are learning your skill. If you want to become an expert in something, you would need to spend at least three hours a day, or four hours for five days every week so you can still have your weekends, for ten years to reach the ten-thousand-hour mark. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of spending three hours a day on something, don’t be! It’s said that the average person watches five hours a day when it comes to a show, movie, or other entertainment anyway! We recommend that you figure out a way to make a healthy life and work balance to make sure that you are adequately taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. If you follow this plan, within six months you will already have put in thirty-thousand minutes into learning your new skill! That’ll get you at least proficient in your skill in a decently short amount of time.
3. Practice the Right Way
We’ve already talked about the importance of practice, but one thing we would be remiss to not cover as well within this post is the idea of how to practice in the most efficient way. There is a difference between practice that helps you progress further and practice that keeps you locked in stagnation. If you practice the same thing repeatedly, without ever putting that practice towards other aspects of the skill you’re learning, you will not make any forward progress towards becoming better at a skill. You will always stay at the same skill level and will not be pushed out your comfort zone into new challenges. In this way, we are really encouraging all of you to do what many call “deliberate practice”. Deliberate practice is the idea that you should really be mindful on what you choose to practice as you continue to learn a skill. This means that you pay attention to what you struggle with when you are learning and do exercises that will help you become better in that area so that you do not struggle in it anymore. In this way, you are always trying to look for good constructive criticism to help you recognize the flaws you need to work on. Afterwards, you take the time to get rid of those flaws by deliberately practicing eliminating them to then find a better result. We always recommend that you find an outlet of constructive criticism that will be with honest with you about your progress and skill level. You can find this by joining a Facebook group, by finding an instructor in the skill you’re wanting to learn, and by other various means as well.
4. Set Goals for Yourself
A final piece of advice that we would leave you with today is to make sure that you set goals for yourself as you set out to learn a skill. When it comes to learning, one thing that helps everyone continue to make progress is to make sure that you set milestones for yourself. In this way, you can always track your progress, how long it takes you to get through each step, and also encourage yourself to stick with your goals until they are accomplished. For example, if you are learning to draw, you can set yourself a goal to complete a sketchbook in a certain amount of time or accomplish a specific kind of art challenge. You could try and draw one-hundred different versions of a thing, you could participate in Inktober where you put together an ink drawing every day in the month of October, or any other of the various art challenges that are out there. Through these challenges you can track your progress, hold yourself accountable to a set goal, and show others your progress all in real-time. In fact, we recommend that when you set these goals for yourself, you should tell others about it too. As a result, it wont be just you holding yourself accountable to achieve your milestones. You will also have other people that will be able to help you keep your promises too! In our experience, people love to know what your goals are and how you are doing as you try to accomplish them. People always love to root for someone and, as they watch you on your journey, they can follow along with you as you make your dreams a reality. This process can even make them feel like they walked right alongside you as they helped to make your dreams come true. For us, we will be announcing some goals of our own very soon when it comes to a couple different projects that are in the works here at Bear & Pixie Art Studios so stay tuned for that!
Learning Takes Time
When it comes to learning a new skill, one piece of advice that we would give you is to never give up. Throughout this post, we have tried to give you the route to take so that you can be a success in whatever you try to learn. Just remember that learning a new skill doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of perseverance, drive, passion, and tons of deliberate follow-through to be able to accomplish all your goals. If you follow all of these steps by learning the fundamentals, practicing as much as you possibly can, and by practicing in a deliberate way; you can learn absolutely anything! So good luck our fantastic followers! We wish you the best of luck on all your future endeavors as we all journey together towards bettering ourselves.