How To Learn Anything... Fast

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    Mastering any skill is a process. 

    The better you are at understanding the process and fine tuning it for yourself, the quicker you’ll be able to pick new skills up and adapt yourself to a wide variety of situations. 

    I’ve been fortunate to be able to acquire new skills quickly. It’s something I’ve prided myself in doing well and focused on getting better and better at it, picking up strategies and ways to improve it over the years.

    Whenever people ask me how to learn faster, I encourage them to follow the “OOP-RP framework”, something I created to help teach these skills to others.

    Here’s a quick introduction to it, so you can accelerate your learning too.

    "The OOP-RP Framework, aka Accelerate Your Skills Acquisition…"

    Each letter stands for a key part of the framework.

    The first O stands for:

    Objective

    Set an objective for your learning. 

    If you’ve got endless time and resources feel free to study everything, otherwise priortise and define what you would like to be able to do in sensory terms… then figure out what resources you need to learn to be able to do it.

    For example “learn NLP” is too general a scope, while “learn how to have my boss say yes to a pay rise for me” is much more specific and useful. 

    Learning any skill has a cost. 

    Pursuing “learn NLP” could take a long time with no clear end for your brain to track for, while learning how to get your boss to give you a pay rise could be achieved in a couple of hours.

    I know which one I’d choose.  

    The second O stands for Orient…

    With a clear objective, it’s time to orient yourself to the skill domain you want to study.

    Start with a high level overview of the field or area you want to learn.

    For example, say you want to learn how to become an expert persuader so you can double your sales at work, a good strategy would be to walk in to a book store and pick up 5 of the best selling sales or persuasion books and quickly skim through them.

    Pay attention for what is similar across all the books. 

    By doing this you will be expose your brain to the terminology used by that field and have begun patterning to the core ideas that show up again and again. 

    Every field has certain ideas that act as organising thoughts, what I call the “traffic junctions” that intersect and connect everything to everything else.

    Track for those and pay close attention to how they work.

    For example in NLP, while it can seem like there are hundreds of NLP patterns, those patterns are organised by only a handful of ‘moves’ that can be made. Once you learn the moves and how they work, you can learn multiple techniques easily and come up with new ways for getting the job done. 

    [BTW - this process doesn’t just apply to books, you can do the same thing with other mediums, for example with videos by going to YouTube and watching several videos on the same subject from different speakers. You’d be amazed how quickly you can pick things up and be able to generate insights from just small bits of data.]

    The third part of the framework focuses on Principles.

    Once you have exposed yourself to the big picture and got basic terminology under your belt, pattern for the principles. 

    Some teachers do a better job at sharing these than others, so depending on the source you might need to dig a bit deeper to uncover these. 

    In the beginning it helps to select sources that expose you to the principles first before diving in to specific techniques.

    Bottom line - if you internalise the principles you’ll radically shorten the time it takes to learn a new subject. When you’re unsure what step to take in a given situation, the principles act as a compass that inform you in which direction to go. 

    They offer a much bigger bang for your buck than studying a bunch of techniques or recipes. 

    With a sound foundation in place it’s time to…

    Master the Rules.

    Every domain has rules-of-thumb that are helpful to learn. They inform you on what to do in specific context. 

    For example in NLP, we suggest you start with the DESIRED state before you ask the client about the Present state.

    There is a reason for that. You don’t need to know it to use it. As a beginner, if you follow the rules you will typically get a much better outcome than if you don’t.

    Rules act as shortcuts. They aren’t right for every situation but can take you further when used in the right way. 

    The last P in the OOP-RP framework is…

    Practice (and practice some more) 

    Practice always has been and will be the mother of skill.

    Although the letters are presented sequentially, applying what you are learning should happen throughout. If you want to acquire a skill quickly, look for every opportunity to practice, practice and practice some more.

    This is what builds up the body of reference experiences and later, the intuitions you can call upon as your skill level progresses.

    A lot could be written about effective ways to practice, but a good rule-of-thumb is if the subject you are studying has explicit techniques or processes, practice those to begin with. 

    If the outcome you’re pursing is made up of multiple skills then practice each skill component in the order in which you’ll do them, until you can do the whole automatically. 

    For example with anchoring, before your learn how to ‘set’ an anchor, it’s important you know how to elicit and evoke strong emotional state first. Otherwise you have very little to anchor!

    Of course the OOP-RP framework is just recommend for learning NLP, I use and suggest you use it for any skill area you’d like to improve.  

    By following the OOP-RP framework you can quickly acquire new skills to the point where others say you are “multi-talented.”

    Yet you will know that the truth is you have taken the time to learn how to learn… and can do it well.

    You’ve acquired a meta-skill that is incredibly valuable and can lasts a lifetime.

    There’s a sixth step in the learning process. If you’d like to know what that is, click here.

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