If I told you that you could learn a skill that you think will take you a whole half a year in two days, what would you say? I already know the answer. You would think I am outrightly crazy.
But no. I am not. It is possible to learn in 2 days what would have taken you eons. Here is precisely how you could master this art.
The first step to achieving your goal is to be clear about it. Motivation cannot exist without clarity to back it up. Ever wondered why you find it hard to do some pretty easy tasks? It is because you lack clarity on how to get them done.
You often fail to achieve goals because of the lack of a clear path to your destination. The way that may seem more straightforward could be a path that is nothing close to your dream-it often leads to a lesser goal, making you drift further away.
It is quite common to know the WHY you want to achieve a goal, but be clueless about the HOW.
Embracing the Fear of the Unknown.
There are other fears, and then there is the mother of all fears, THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.
“We all have a fear of the unknown; what one does with that fear will make a difference in the world.”- Lillian Rusell
It is no secret that most people think of the unknown as threatening, even scary. This perception indicates a low tolerance for ambiguity.
Interestingly, researchers found that children are more tolerant of ambiguity as compared to adults. Children can tolerate being in uncomfortable situations, but adults are always in search of comfort and clarity.
Researchers have also found out the more you are satisfied with what you do, the more your tolerance for ambiguity increases.
Therefore, you need to find clarity.
The need for clarity and the fear of the unknown are the two elephants in the room. They are the reasons why many people have abandoned their dreams and settled for so much less.
You don’t want to be a victim. The sooner you find clarity, the more motivated you will become.
It is a process; you can never have it all figured out. If you are at step 1 and your goal is to get to step 100, you need to master the strength and courage to get to step 2, then 3…..step by step until you get there. It never happens all at once.
Practical steps that will help you move forward
- You will need a clear checkpoint to help you know what to do.
- A timeline to help you know how long you have to get to where you’re going.
- The tools that you need for this journey.
- A support system.
These four pointers are the ones that will bring you the much-needed clarity. The clarity will bring in the motivation, and you now begin to move forward. Oh, what a journey it will be! Sooner than you know it, you will start crashing your goals.
Benjamin Hardy recommends a simple and effective way of learning to keep you ahead of the game. He calls it context-based learning.
What is Context-Based Learning?
The Missionary Training Centre (MTC) is famous for training their young missionaries to speak foreign languages. It is incredible how they do it so effortlessly yet so efficiently. The US military has had a long partnership with them to know how to train their soldiers efficiently. Many universities have also incorporated their learning methods into their language learning curricula.
MTC’s learning style heavily relies on context-based learning. They usually start by reciting phrases as they work on their pronunciation, after which they role-play in groups of two. Usually, their teachers stand close by to do individual coaching when needed.
70% of learning in MTC is through role play.
The learning system at MTC entails;
- Learn a concept
- Practice and apply the idea in a real-life scenario
- Get coaching and feedback
- Get coaching and feedback again!
The effectiveness of role-playing is immeasurable. Research has proved that role-playing during learning brings about a significant positive change compared to traditional discussion-based training.
Receiving consistent feedback has also been found to be crucial to effective learning.
How to apply context-based learning in your daily living
Learning refers to the permanent change in behavior or cognition. The mere accumulation of information is not learning because the knowledge acquired has to change how you see and act permanently.
A quick way to learn something is by immersing yourself in learning it deeply, then implementing what you have learned.
Since you need clarity to get the motivation to move forward, here is how you can find enough clarity to follow a path that will lead you towards your goal;
- Get a teacher
You will need a teacher to guide you as you navigate the steps. A teacher, in this essence, does not have to be a real person. An online course or a book can also guide you.
The advantage of getting a real teacher is that you will get immediate feedback and answers to your questions.
Having a teacher makes learning easier. For example, you can struggle to learn a concept for a month, but once you get a teacher to take you through, you will need one or two lessons to see the light. When you finally understand, a teacher will want you to apply that concept to sink in further.
2. Repeat, repeat and repeat again
When you apply a concept that you have just learned, it may not be simple at the onset. If you make it a habit by doing it repeatedly, you will be doing it like a pro in no time.
“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”_ Zig Ziglar
Repetition builds your confidence and competence. It gets to the point where you can automatically do that task while your conscious brain focuses on other things.
Getting a skill to automaticity involves the following four stages;
a. Learn a small set of information repeatedly.
As you begin, don’t jam yourself with much work. Take in small amounts of information as you slowly build the resilience to handle more
b. Make your training progressively more difficult.
Consider making the task more difficult with time. The aim is to stretch your limit and make you improve from your previous attempt.
c. Add time constraints.
Start working on the skill within a shortened time compared to the last time you did it. You will work quickly and train your working memory to work against the ticking clock.
d. Practice with increasing memory load.
Learn to multitask your mind. You could be doing a mental task while at the same time, thinking of other things. Your flexibility will increase, and you will be able to apply your learning in different contexts.
3. Set goals that are specific and give yourself a timeline for accomplishing them
After you are done learning, it is time to get practical. Set goals that will help put the skill you just learned to test.
By now, you have more clarity and increased confidence that will come in handy when working towards your set goal(s).
4. Be accountable
You need to measure your performance for you to know if you have made any progress.
Have these three golden rules in mind:
- Clarity creates motivation
- Tracking creates awareness
- Reporting creates accountability
These three rules are your ticket to accelerated learning and progression.
Practice the art of self-regulation to be able to keep your behavior in check. This practice automatically translates to the achievement of your goals.
Self-regulation works by letting you monitor and evaluate yourself, which in turn allows you to know where you are failing and need to give more motivation to achieve your goals.
When you are accountable, the feedback you receive from yourself or others will help you improve performance.
The surest way to miss your goals is by settling for a lesser goal due to the path to your main objective being unclear.
Therefore, you have to find clarity to find the motivation to work towards your goals.
The most effective way to do this is to use context-based learning. During this journey, you need to track your progress and be accountable.
Replace the fear of the unknown with the curiosity of what you could be, do or have. The unknown could be a sea of possibilities.
When you do this, I know for sure that you will soon be celebrating your positive strides and smashing your goals.
Sharon Jemutai is a lawyer and freelance writer who covers topics related to career development, entrepreneurship, personal development, and mental health. She strives to help readers leverage on self- improvement to advance in their careers and businesses. Connect with her on LinkedIn.