No matter how complex or daunting a particular skill can seem, if you go about it systematically, you can learn it far more quickly than you would think. Timothy Ferriss, the best selling author of The Four Hour Workweek, makes that argument in his new book, The Four Hour Chef.Ferriss uses cooking to illustrate for his ideas about how to master just about anything. Why cooking? There’s an overabundance of information on it, a ton of bad advice, and it’s impossible to know where to start. The same applies to just about anything else you want to learn, from learning a language to memorizing a deck of cards in under a minute.
He breaks down the secrets to learning skills into a simple four part framework and two core insights.
The framework comes in the form of an acronym — DiSSS
“What are the minimum learnable units, the LEGO blocks, I should be starting with?
“Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcome I want?
“In what order should I learn the blocks?”
“How do I set up stakes to create real consequences and guarantee I follow the program?”
Beyond the acronym, two other things make the difference between actually following through and stalling in the middle of a project.
The first is finding failure points. “I don’t care why people pick up cookbooks, I’m much more interested in why they put them down,” Ferriss writes. Many people stop learning a skill at one of a few different tripping points, for cooking it’s things like too many ingredients, intimidating knife skills, dishes finishing at different times, and having to watch things constantly.
By finding those points, pinpointing them, and having a strategy to overcome them, you avoid the sorts of slowdowns and barriers that prevent people from learning skills.
The second, having a margin of safety. Ferriss uses Warren Buffett as his example here. Buffett famously buys stocks at a discount, so he’ll likely do well even if things go badly.
The same lesson applies to learning a skill. Making sure you’ll have a good, measurable outcome even if you mess up keeps you on track. You avoid the worst failures, and get something useful out of your effort no matter what.
Find the book here
NOW READ: 27 Tips For Mastering Anything
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