5 Easy Ways To Master a New Skill

Learning how to cook.

Not only does cooking feed your family, but it also creates memories around food. (Image: via Pixabay)

Everyone wants to be better at something. Learning a new skill is essential for personal and professional development. If you wish to learn a new computer language, communication skills, or cooking, self-development is a slow process.

Learning new skills can lead to career development, a higher salary, or better job opportunities. Besides the financial or professional aspect, learning can also help your mental health because acquiring new skills can change your mindset.

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Fortunately, many successful people have proven that you don’t need to be young, extremely smart, or lucky to master a new skill. And you don’t have to replicate other people’s self-improvement journey — be it your boss, mentor, or self-help guru. It would be best if you mapped your way to your destination instead. 

5 ways to learn a new skill

1. Set realistic learning goals

Learning a new skill starts with setting an achievable goal. Your goals don’t have to be the result of your journey. However, your goals should encourage and help you overcome obstacles as you learn. 

For example, break down the skill into sub-skills if you want to learn a new language. You can start with simple greetings and then move to simple words. After that, you can then begin to teach sentences and sentence structures. That way, you understand something at every stage, contributing to your learning.

Fortunately, to master a new skill, many successful people have proven that you don’t need to be young, extremely smart, or lucky.
Fortunately, many successful people have proven that you don’t need to be young, extremely smart, or lucky to master a new skill. (Image: Fizkes via Dreamstime)

2. Forget about learning styles

Everybody has their learning style, right? Many people believe they retain information by learning in a particular way. But decades of research show that matching teaching styles to learning styles has no impact. 

Dr. Tesia Marshik, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, discovered that students acquire skills in the same way, despite the teaching method used.

Of course, you feel that you learn better in a certain way. For example, you may be more visual, better at analyzing vast chunks of info, or an auditory learner. Unfortunately, most gurus also tell you to learn in a way you are familiar with or comfortable with, but that may be a mistake.

Be open. Learn your new skill in every way possible. There are many ways to learn something today, so avoid sticking to one particular way. Instead, use everything from books, podcasts, seminars, workshops, movies, or tutorials. 

3. Become part of a community

Many stop learning new skills after college because they stop being part of a learning community. Trying to learn in a vacuum doesn’t work for most people. First, you lack positive pressure and need to motivate yourself — which can be hard constantly.

So how do you learn a new skill after college? The best way is to join a community or a cohort-based online course. Learning in a group can have a positive impact in unnoticeable ways. 

First, it offers more opportunities to practice your new skills. Second, you join other people willing to learn the same skill. Third, of course, your goals may be different, but you can gauge yourself with the progress of the other students. And last, you get positive pressure instead of working in solitude.

Mentors are essential when learning a new skill.
Mentors are essential when learning a new skill. (Image: via Pixabay)

4. Find a mentor

Mentors are essential when learning a new skill. As mentioned, you don’t have to follow their journey step by step. However, they may know what it takes to acquire that skill — the failures, the effort, and the successes.

Unfortunately, finding a mentor you can trust isn’t easy. But like every relationship, you must build a rapport with your mentor. Don’t just ambush someone to be your mentor; they also have to feel that they are gaining something from your relationship. 

For instance, if you want to be an SEO specialist, you can offer to help with their site or a particular SEO metric. 

Mastermind programs also offer a chance to master your skill after finishing a course. So not only do you get a mentor, but you will also be part of a community of the best learners.

5. Balance the challenge-frustration curve

Anthony Metivier, the brainchild behind Magnetic Memory Method, emphasizes balancing what he calls the Challenge-Frustration Curve. 

He says that if you avoid taking on challenges, you lose an opportunity to grow. You may end up stagnating and frustrated. On the other hand, if you jump in too first, you may fail and give up prematurely. 

Balancing this scenario is a delicate art, and there’s no textbook way to do it. So all you have to do is find ways to overcome obstacles when you are not skilled enough. 

In conclusion

There are multiple ways to develop a new skill. However, no amount of “tips” can ensure your success in acquiring a new skill. You must be curious, willing to learn, and open to forging your path to success. More importantly, you must be courageous to face failures along the journey and learn from them.

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