3 Learning Tips We Can Pick Up From Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is the New York Times best-selling author known for revolutionizing traditional working life. He’s come up with tactics that help people to reduce the 40-hour workweek to 4 and disrupted the adage that it takes a lifetime to master a skill. With his successful podcast The Tim Ferriss Show, the also public speaker and entrepreneur is uncovering the tools, tactics, and secrets of today’s big minds from comedians to biochemists to athletes.
In this post, we cover the framework behind Tim Ferriss’s learning strategies which have helped him to quickly master languages, dance moves, athletic abilities, instruments and more.
Most people never conquer a second or third language because it seems like a task that is insurmountable. They pick up a book or sign up for a beginner’s class and find themselves feeling as if they’re at camp 1 of Mount Everest and looking up at a target that seems like a nearly impossible feat. Truth is, our biggest goal can seem as daunting as climbing Mount Everest when you’re starting out at the bottom. It can fill you with an anxiety that ultimately topples under the pressure of fear and disbelief. So much so, that you never even pursue lifelong desires such as being fluent in Spanish, learning how to play the drums or starting a business.
Ferriss’ secret for accomplishing personal goals starts with breaking one giant mission into basic parts. To learn a new task, Ferriss assesses what tools he already has and the tools he has to acquire. So, by Ferriss’s point, in your mission to learn a new skill, you would identify what parts can be traced back to something basic you’re familiar with and finally what aspects will be difficult to get. For Spanish students, this would mean identifying how grammatical structure might be similar to English. Deconstruct the language down into the basic learning units and the building blocks that make up the overall language. Then utilize the 80/20 rule and pick out the blocks that make up 20% of the language and will take you 80% of the way to competency.
Ferriss implores his followers to consider what would happen if they did things in the reverse of their common practices. By peeling back the layers of a finished product a person can gain more insight into the structure, process, and ingredients that have created it. Start by thinking of your end goal and starting point as two points on a mountain. You probably already have all of the skills you need to get to the base of the mountain. Yet you might not be aware of the skills you need to acquire to get there. A strong understanding of these skills, however, will help you to make the ascent all the easier.
Ferriss points to a lack of basic knowledge as the main culprit behind what causes people to quit. Ferriss came to appreciate this realization when he first learned how to do the tango. Instead of taking the typical male role and learning to lead, Ferriss learned the female role in order to enhance his performance. By starting from the basic position, the follower, he was able to quickly master his posture, footing and turns needed to properly take on a bigger role.
It’s here in Ferriss’s sequencing method that deconstruction and reversal tie into produce optimism results. In the process of breaking down the end results of a skill i.e. mastering Spanish, a person has to breakdown or deconstruct the overall skill by peeling back the layers or reversing the. Once these final steps have been completed they can reconfigure the right sequence of learning that best suits them so that they can achieve their mission.
They may seem like added tasks but the greatest thing to take away from Ferriss’s lessons in learning is that skills can be hacked. All of his skills work together and ultimately operate as a singular tactic. By breaking down an overall goal and backtracking from the final solution to the building blocks you can discover the perfect sequence to tackle a goal.