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Ultralearning hacks

One of the privileges of being a life-long learner is that you learn something new about the science of accelerated learning regularly. It’s continually evolving, which is excellent for people who’re committed to this lifestyle.

Scott Young is one of the foremost experts in accelerated learning, with some outstanding accomplishments under his belt, including attempting to learn MIT’s 4-year Computer Science curriculum without taking classes and learning four languages in 12 months, among other feats. His latest book, Ultralearning, is a goldmine for learners and educators alike.

While the book contains several concepts, a couple of them stood out for me, primarily because I’ve been practicing them for ages. Here you go!

Taking the shortest route from theory to practice allows you to skill up smoothly.

The most direct way to learn something is to do it instead of staying stuck in the learning context. For example, the most effective way to learn a new language is to speak it rather than reading a book. Likewise, the most effective way to learn code is to write code instead of spending money and time reading books on the coding language. Doing this forces you to apply the skill directly in the target environment instead of transferring knowledge and skill from the learning environment.

This kind of immersive learning isn’t always possible, of course, but there are workarounds to it. So, if you can’t fly to Lisbon to learn Portuguese, don’t worry, you can hire a native Portuguese speaker for a nominal amount per hour/month.

Use drilling to hone your skills to perfection.

Most people hate to drill unless they’re an (or hope to become someday) elite athlete, artist, performer, or even an ultra-learner. Drilling is the heart of all mastery. It’s the technique to gain and maintain an edge over the competition. That said, mindless drilling can be soul-sucking, so one’s got to apply some structure by being specific and strategic. Instead of drilling before you begin your project, dive right into your project, and identify the areas you need to drill. This direct-to-drill approach helps you get more focused on your drills and hence improve faster. I’ve used this in several life areas, including writing, training, Jiu-Jitsu, workplace, and god knows whatnot.

And here’s the best part, you don’t have to practice in isolation. Collaborate with someone with the same goals as yours or try emulating a person/professional you admire. So, if it’s copywriting that you want to improve upon, pick a writer whom you admire and copy his/her work by hand. If you wish to get good at Jiu-Jitsu, emulate your favorite athlete while drilling the moves you want to perfect and see how it goes.

If you’re wondering, “duh, Sunil, these are elementary,” I would nod my head. They are, and you would agree that it takes pig-headed discipline to do them every single day. And if you thought the above hacks were cool, pick up Scott’s Ultralearning for more of these. You’ll love it! It’s the blueprint to stay on top of your competition.