4 Ways to Master Any Skill

“There is no such force as the force of a man determined to rise.  The human soul cannot be permanently chained.”
– W.E.B. DuBois
Do you want to live a life that is fulfilled with joy, success, accomplishment and a sense of purpose?
Are you willing to sacrifice the things that hinder you from growth and start learning the skills it takes to take you to the next level?
Are you someone who has a fixed view of how long it takes for you to learn something or try something new?
In this article I share four ways you can master any skillset and achieve the goals you have set or put aside. Let’s get into it.
1) Set a tough goal that pushes you to achieve
How many times have you heard someone say they want to go to the gym more or want to learn a new language or maybe we want to learn a new expertise so that we can apply for a dream job position. Whatever your goal is your probably not setting a tough timeline for you to accomplish it so you allow yourself to procrastinate and eventually never get started.
Napoleon Hill author of Think and Grow Rich once said “ desire is the starting point of all achievements, not a hope, not a wish.”  There is a reasons why setting a ambitious goal is a good thing because it allows you to accept failure even when you make the attempt.  The people who have climb Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro didn’t start the journey thinking it would be another hike in their local park on their way to work, then have lunch and come home to watch television.  They accept the challenge that if they don’t make it to the top its not because they chose a easy goal but because it one of the toughest achievements known to humans.
If you want to learn a new language – try to learn how to order food at a local restaurant in that native language in 2 weeks time.
If you want to lose weight – ask what can you do to speed the process so that you don’t find yourself discouraged after doing it for months and see little results.  What would be your ideal weight and how fast can you do it?
2) Mimic those who have done it before
“When you want to develop expertise in something, rather than focusing on the results of those in the top of your field, study and emulate their process.” – Benjamin Hardy
We all have world views that shape our perceptions of our environment.  From people we know, and from books and movies, we form an image of the world and what’s possible.  What you have to do is model successful people and find the specific beliefs and routines that shaped them to take effective actions.
People who produce magnificent results do specific things to create those results.
Comedian Eddie Murphy once said that the way he got confident to due comedy was from hours of sitting in front of the TV and imitating his favorite actors and characters. He would study their movements, speech patterns and cadence until he could duplicate what they did.
3) Use the 80/20 principle
“Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.” – Henk Kraaijenhof, coach of Merlene Joyce, who won 23 combined medals at the Olympics and world championships
The 80/20 principle allows you to calm down, work less and clearly identify your few most valuable goals.  Focus on the things you excel at and enjoy and cut the things that bring you the most anxiety, fear and headaches.
Think about this:
The Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words in current use.  Yet the top 100 common English words comprise 50% of all written materials.  So that means 100 well- selected words give you 50% of the practical use of 171,476 words.  Should you work from A to Z through 171,000+ words over 25+ years or do you master the high – frequency 100 words in less than a week? I’m pretty sure you would do the second.
Break down your goal to master a skill by applying the things that will help you gain a wider knowledge base that you can grow from rather trying to learn everything about it.  For me it took me years to learn how to understand cooking by breaking them down into three categories :
Grilling
Sauteing
Braising
I’m still nowhere close as good as my wife who learned from watching her grandmother and then eventually applying her own version of 80/20 analysis to cooking.
4) Audit Your Circle
Other people’s expectations of you heavily influence how well you do.  Psychologist call this the “Pygmalian Effect”, for example a employee’s success is often related to the company’s expectations or a parent “setting the bar” for their child.  Often these expectations create invisible barriers rather than encouraging your inherent ability.  No one has the “absolute” truth of how to do something and by finding the right support group you can achieve anything you set your mind to without the invisible wall stopping you.
Choose the people you communicate and seek accountability from wisely.