A key characteristic of productive people is that they are always learning new skills. They realise they need to get better at some skills in order to be more effective at what they do. Many people desire to acquire a new skill. Few actually take action to learn that skill. Of those who do, many give up after a few attempts. The desire for self-improvement and the discipline to see it through seem to be two different skills. When you struggle with a new skill, a good place to start is by asking yourself 3 questions:
Why do you want to do it?
Attaching a powerful why to your quest for a new skill can make the journey easier. Do you wish to learn programming because you would like to change career paths? Or are you interested in tailoring because you’d like to set up a fashion design business? Perhaps you’d like to improve your data analysis skills because you’d like more complex projects at work. Whatever the reason, write it down and keep it close. You will want to come back to it when you seem to have hit a dead-end on your learning path. A reminder of why you started in the first place can provide the extra push you need to keep going.
What is stopping you?
If you have added a skill to your wish-list of things to learn this year and still haven’t acted upon that desire, then you may need to dig a little deeper to find out why you haven’t started. Are you afraid to fail? Being a beginner means you are allowed to make mistakes. Are you still planning how to go about learning? At some point, excessive planning becomes procrastination. If you had started three months ago, you would have probably learnt something useful by now.
Do you have the time to commit to this?
This is a fair question. A person holding a fulltime job while raising children might not have enough free hours a week to attend a fulltime course at a university. Any learning goal must be realistic. Before you sign up for that training class, make sure your schedule can accommodate it.
Nowadays, it’s easy to learn a new skill online. I have taken online courses to boost my skillset. However, learning online comes with unique challenges. I will talk about those next week.