Most of us know a friend who can pick up skills at will. They say they want to learn the guitar today, watch videos on YouTube for the next 3 months, practice, and emerge as a good guitar player. Or, they actually act on their new years resolution and go to the gym.
We know we can summon up the will necessary to do that for something that’s urgently needed at work. But, we’re generally unable to prioritize stuff that’s longer term/important.
My working theory is that this ability to do self-driven skill building is a function of two things – 1) how driven you are by achievement (vs. other motives) and 2) where you lie on the spectrum between obsessive compulsive and attention deficit. That combination results in a place in the skill building spectrum
For most of us, skill building isn’t easy because we either need a peer group or, in most cases, a coach.
All this gets us to the key takeaway – the solution to accelerating our ability to learn and get better is not to kick ourselves for not being able to finish that course or go to the gym. It is to simply understand our preferences and get help from a professional.
PS: For what its worth, I think this is the greatest challenge for online learning. Only 3-6% of folks finish an online course they start. Imagine what we’d enable if we provided the support that many of the others needed.