We tend to think of learning new skills as something daunting. It's often something that we delay because we are afraid of committing time and effort. However, what we often don't see is the reward on the other side of learning new skills. Through deliberate practice and a humble attitude, you can learn almost anything.
No one starts life with amazing skills. It takes time and energy to learn and master new abilities. When you see people with absolute mastery of a craft, it's because they've dedicated hours of practice and refinement to learn the basics. According to Malcolm Gladwell in "Outliers", It takes 10,000 hours to be a top performer in any field. But if you want to be great in life, you will need to invest time and energy towards personal development.
Why is Learning New Skills Important?
Learning a new skill helps you learn faster with consistency over time. Your brain forms neural pathways and electrical impulses to process new information. The more pathways are formed, the faster the impulses can travel. The more you practice a new skill, you develop more white matter called myelin. This helps you learn even better.
Learning is a core psychological need. Learning helps us develop confidence and self-esteem. It helps us continue to progress and grow. As we learn, we develop more creativity because we can make connections between unrelated things.
When you learn and challenge yourself, you can find yourselves within a state of "flow". When we find ourselves in a state of "flow", we get so absorbed in what we are doing that we lose a sense of time. To be in flow, it requires the level of challenge to just exceed our current level of skills.
Learning can build a massive sense of accomplishment and pride. Learning is such an integral part of life that we can find great joy in becoming a "learn-it-all" instead of a "know-it-all". When you dedicate some amount of time every day to learning and doing, you will eventually develop true excellence at your craft.
What Skills Should I Learn in 2020?
It's important to learn the skills most in-demand based on current trends. If you are looking for what skills to develop in 2020, these are the abilities that would help you win (in no particular order).
Learning how to automate complex tasks gives you a lot of leverage in any job. You can learn the basics, such as simple Python scripts or go as far as building your first app. The skills you can learn are:
- HTML / CSS for beginning web developers
- Python, from basic scripting to AI modeling
- Java / Kotlin, for android applications
Swift, for building modern iOS applications
In this day and age, good writing skills contribute heavily to building engaging content. Notice how writing drives behaviors on websites and in mobile apps? It's an absolute game-changer. When you make your writing fun and useful for the end-user, you can impact the bottom line with ease.
People have an insatiable appetite for new video content. Cisco estimates that video will make up 82% of global Internet traffic in 2022. Apps have made video editing fun and easy. It's becoming so easy that even kids are able to put out fun and engagement videos today.
Blockchain started to support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. But it has become a powerful and incorruptible way to store data. The supply of skilled professionals in this field is small, while the demand is extremely high.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows us to scale technology to learn based on massive data sets to improve its performance over time. Today, things like fraud detection are run by AI. This is a capability that big companies want to harness for innovation.
The ability to make a sound data-driven decision is sought-after by many companies. People who are able to determine the right route to take based on data can help the business make and save millions of dollars.
The attention span is getting shorter and shorter every day. The ability to help end-users achieve a goal is becoming more important. Organizations need the expertise to create more human-centric experiences. From graphic designs to voice experience, UX designers are more and more in demand.
The ability to sell products and services is forever in vogue. Sales are the life-blood of every business organization. The ability to generate leads and close sales will always be sought after. This is especially true for client-centric businesses. Use the ability
Art of Negotiating
Negotiating is a powerful skill. It allows you to negate your downside while maximizing your upside. From real estate to sales, business owners are always looking for people who can cut a good deal.
Traditional advertising approaches don't work as well anymore. Content is king. The ability to drive traffic to the right places allows you to grow sales and build a brand is really important.
When you work in teams, the ability to manage projects is really important. When you have business ideas and goals, you want to turn them into a reality. Good project managers help manage the people to move concepts to real-life.
7 Strategies To Learn New Skills
The best career advice anyone can ever give you is to never stop learning. There are so many skills you could learn at any given moment. By following these strategies, you can prioritize which new skills you want to learn.
1. Find Your Why
Before learning any skill, figure out why you want to learn this skill. When something is important enough to you, you will make it a priority to learn it. Make it a point of commitment. When you have a powerful "why", you won't quit when the going gets tough.
2. Challenge Yourself
When you get into a state of flow, an element of challenge is important to keep things interesting. When the challenge is too low, you fall out of the flow. It's no longer intriguing. You always want the learning to just be challenging enough that you keep progressing.
3. Immerse Yourself
Immersive learning is a process of learning that simulates the actual environment. For example, pilots will use simulators to train before actually flying the real planes. Simulations help you learn without the risk of getting hurt. There is no better way to learn than immersing yourself in a low-risk environment to grow.
4. Learn Through Repetition
Consistency wins every time. When you are learning something new, you need to develop a habit of doing it. Humans are creatures of habit. Most tasks that we do are done without much thought (this includes our bad habits). When you make learning a routine, you will keep adapting and getting better every day.
5. Teach As You Learn
Learning by teaching creates the Protégé Effect. When you explain a concept to someone else, you understand it better yourself. Of most learning strategies, learning by teaching has a massive effect on your understanding. It helps with your confidence, communication skills, and efficacy.
6. Set Manageable Goals
When you are developing new skills, you need to set goals that are just challenging enough to help you grow. When learning new skills, determine what goals want to achieve with it. Goal setting helps you stay consistent and have massive gains in the long run.
7. Partner With a Mentor
It's easy to learn faster when you have a mentor. Your mentor should ideally be in a position you want to be in. They should have accomplished what you want to accomplish. If you are not able to find friends and family to help mentor you, look for online courses or a live training course to learn basics. Spending money on a good online class could save you a fortune in failure later on. For example, in fields that are more complex like real estate, you definitely want to partner with someone more experienced before buying your first investment property. You always need to learn how to play the game before jumping into the deep end.
Learning new skills is a lifelong journey. You can always pick up new skills every day, like how to play the guitar or learn how to draw. When you develop new skills, your skills compound upon each other. For example, when you learn to cook, it'll improve your fitness skills since you are eating healthier. Or, when you learn speed reading, you can digest data at a glance. Be willing to be humble and adapt your learning styles to match the moment. Spend more time doing things you enjoy. Take time to learn things that bring you joy. You will become a much more fulfilled individual for it.