When I Taught Myself I Could Learn Anything
I was 15 and going through a very interesting time in my life. It was the football offseason and before this time that was the only thing that I cared about in my life. But because I had to at least pass my classes to play, I started to find that I was actually kind of good at school.
So this new responsible me started to doing well in high school and thinking about my future, I thought of how I could set myself up for success in life. This was totally new for me, but as I sat there early in the morning before school started with my homework done (still a pretty new feeling), I pondered what my next step would be.
I was socially awkward. I had few friends back in the day, but in the mornings my school bus arrived about 45 minutes early to the school every day. In that exhausted morning hour most people would talk and hang out with their friends. I however didn’t find value in that.
Looking down at the library table as I could have fell asleep in that moment I decided that I would teach myself how to type. I am not sure why I had the idea, why I even thought it was possible, but I thought to myself that surely they have some kind of program that I could find on the internet.
What was even more strange was that the thoughts of Mr. Freeze’s old keyboarding class from the 6th grade didn’t even deter me. Let’s just say that was one of the classes I didn’t want to go back to, and typing like a chicken worked for me in that middle school class only to pass. The only thing I had enjoyed about the course was the cute girl that sat next to me.
But I got up from the table with a burning desire to improve myself and learn this skill. Doing a quick Google search I found a few online typing courses. Some were pretty good, but the best one I found was simple and taught you quick. I include it now because it meant so much to me:
I just remembered it as Peter’s typing course. I would google it every day to find the site. It used to be even more basic and simple than it is now, but I recall diving into the first course and even struggling with not looking at the keyboard.
They showed me the home row and I typed things like ‘adsdsad’ and then it would grade me. My grades in school were better. I practiced though and stuck to it. As terrible as I was to start, I practiced every day before school and not before long I could type everything without even looking at the keyboard.
This however was just the first experience I had with showing myself that I could learn absolutely anything all by myself. I since went on to learn the following:
-Fitness and diet to develop six-pack abs because of a burning desire to impress girls at the time.
-How to get over my shyness and have conversations with strangers.
-How to talk to girls.
-Neuro-Linguistic Programming by reading books and starting my own NLP meet up group for practice.
-How to speed-read with Tim Ferris’ blog post.
-How to manage my money and become debt-free.
-How to start my own business by developing skills in marketing, sales, and communication on high levels.
What I came to find out and I probably knew this all along was that I could learn how to do just about anything. In NLP they have a phrase that if someone can do something than anyone can learn to do that thing.
So here are five steps that you can take to learning anything you want to:
1.) Know exactly what it is you want.
Specifically identify what you want to learn and why you will want to learn that. Having a burning desire to learn specific things for specific results is really important here. This is why it can be hard to care about learning in school. Everything can be so vague and inapplicable to life. If you have a compelling reason to learn it will be that much harder to quit when it gets tough (and it will).
2.) Find someone that has been successful at doing that thing.
They call this modeling. Everywhere in life people have been highly success at certain things. Whether it is fitness, relationships, coaching, business, or something else, there is someone that is having outstanding results.
3.) Find out what they do and learn the process of becoming good at that.
Just like anything someone does it is a process that this expert does. Learn what they do and how they do it. Sometimes you may even need to read a book to find knowledge or even hire an expert to get how to be successful.
4.) Get past the obstacles that come up and continue learning and improving.
When you first start learning something new it’s likely that obstacles will come up since you are not very good at the task. Stick to it and break through the pain period and you will be grateful that you did.
5.) Teach others and you will be that much more competent at what you have learned.
Giving back to others the knowledge that you received is the ultimate form of reinforcing the knowledge and competencies that you have gained. I have found that when you do this you learn even more and become even better at those skills.
So go out and learn something. Humans were designed as incredible learning machines and if you can learn you can change and the start to changing your life is just one step away.