So you think you can [verb]

Almost everybody would like to do something they can't currently do. Whether it is a skill they lack or time or money. Many people also reason that if they do something, they want to do it right, meaning: be good at it, or at least throw themselves at it. Those two things combined often seem to be the reason for not actually learning that new skill.

Then there is the mythical '10,000 hour rule', which supposedly states that it will take 10,000 hours to get really good at something. The rule itself is not a myth, but it is so often quoted without the proper context that it can be used as an excuse to not even start learning something new. Why try to learn something from scratch knowing that it would take 10,000 hours to get good at it? If you would quit your job to learn this and take 40 hours a week to do so, it would take 250 weeks, or about 5 years of fulltime work. Even if doing it non-stop for 24 hours a day, it would take a whole year, 1 month and 3 weeks. That does not motivate at all. That is not what that rule is about though; take it into context and you will find that it would take 10,000 hours to become so good at something that you could compete on the highest level.

Most of us though have no desire to become the best in the world in your new skill. Just good enough to be proficient and having a lot of fun doing it. And that can be achieved in about 20 hours. At least that is what Josh Kaufman says in this talk. I had heard about it before, but only recently saw the talk:

In very short: It works by defining what you want to learn as specific as possible. Then, you do your research and deconstruct the goal into various skills that, when combined, will deliver the specified learning goal.

In his book "The First 20 Hours. How to learn anything... Fast!" he describes the proces in great detail. Accelerated Learning has become a hot topic. And for good reason too: with so many people online that can help you learn just about anything from knitting to building unmanned underwater robots, it is really motivating to hear that it is possible to pick up something new quickly. 

What skill has been on your wishlist? Will you give it a go now? Please let me know in the comments!