How to Learn Anything in 20 Hours

One of the things that we do most is learning new things or skill building, whether it be skiing, drawing, programming, learning to play the guitar, etc. Well, another thing that we do most is putting off on learning the necessary skills needed to achieve our goal(s). The task may seem daunting at first, because it does take a long time to learn a new skill… or does it?

In the past, a professor at the University of Colorado who goes by the name of Anders Ericsson conducted an experiment to determine how long it takes for a person to learn a new skill at expert level performance and concluded that it takes 10,000 hours (which is 1.14 years) to do it.

It takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill and be an expert at it.

Now, most of us don’t necessarily need to master a skill to the point where we are at expert level. In fact, most of the skills we learn are only up to the point where we can do enough to survive with it and expand on it later if needed.

With that in mind, Josh Kaufman stated that you don’t need to spend 10,000 hours to learn a new skill. In fact, it only takes us 20 hours. At first, I was surprised about the 20 hour rule. Upon looking into it more, I found it to be valid. How so? Let’s take a look at the process in which he describes on how to learn anything in 20 hours.

The 4 Step Process Of Learning A New Skill In 20 Hours

1. Deconstruct The Skill

Decide exactly what you want to be able to do or achieve when you’re done, then look at the skill and break it down into smaller and smaller pieces. The reason is because most of the skills we think of are actually a big bundle of skills. By breaking it down, it will be easier to decide specifically which part of the skill you should focus on first. By doing so, it will make it easier to tackle the skill as well as improving upon it at a much quicker pace. Who doesn't like to pick up a new skill in a short time, right?

2. Learn Enough To Self-Correct

Learn just enough so you can practice and self-correct or self-edit as you practice. In other words, learn enough to the point where you are able to identify your mistakes and correct them as you go along. As you get better and better at this, it means you are making good progress towards picking up whatever skill it is you are trying to learn.

3. Remove Any Distractions

Focus is important. Remove distractions that could hinder your progress. Often on the phone? Put it on silent or turn it off. TV always on? Go to a different room. Wasting to much time on Netflix to keep up with the latest episode of ...? Consider setting a different day to watch it instead. Do whatever it is needed to isolate yourself from distractions.

After all, if that goal is truly important to you, then you would be willing to make the sacrifice needed to achieve it.

4. Practice At Least 20 Hours

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and it does indeed!

Depending on the skill you’re learning, more often than not, you will probably need to practice whatever it is you are learning. Commit yourself to practice. Screw the thoughts of people thinking you are stupid. Screw the negative thoughts that could hinder your progress. There's a reason why the haters are hating, because they gave up on themselves on a goal you are making progress in.

Commit and you will succeed.

Here is a video of Josh Kaufman explaining the 4 step process behind the 20 hour strategy at a TedX conference.


Now that you’ve learned the 4 secret steps on how to learn a new skill in 20 hours which are to deconstruct the skill, learn enough to correct yourself, eliminate any distractions, and practice that skill for at least 20 hours. So what do you plan to start learning today? Let me know in the comments below!

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