How To Get Good At Anything Within A Day (Accelerated Learning, Josh Kaufman)

Always be closing.

That’s one of those expressions that a lot of people know about but few follow through on. It is supposedly a great philosophy when it comes to sales. I’ve personally never seen the movie, shocker I know, but it differs only from the play on one count. You know what I’m referring to, the scene which Alec Baldwin was injected into to produce this famous speech.

Always Be Closing

The sequence sends chills down my spine literally every time I watch it. But here’s the thing, while I haven’t seen the whole movie, I have seen Boiler Room. Another movie about sales, and one which features the talents of Ben Affleck, Giovanni Ribisi, and Vin Diesel – Some of my favourite actors.

If I’m being brutally honest, I think Ben Affleck does an even better job of upping the ante on this line of thought because he explains the sales process from end to end, keeps it short, and leaves an entire room full of men confused about their talents. He is able to do this because it comes after the recruits have been there for some time and he has already delivered a killer orientation speech. Ribisi is even told to watch Glengarry Glen Ross for inspiration on how to close sales. Though I suspect Affleck got him on the right track in a better way from the outset.

Always Be Learning

Now here’s where I turn this idea on it’s head. What if you considered for a second that coffee really equates to success and closing means learning? Then you would always be learning.

Which is where the conversation get’s really interesting.

Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill, but realized you were older than twenty five and already had a fully formed and functioning adult brain? Then you just said fuck it and went back to browsing the internet and watching Netflix?

Yeah, me too man. Me too.

But the problem with that theory is that it assumes things. First, while the brain might be less malleable after twenty five, it’s ridiculous to think that adults have no discipline to sit through a few more reps to gain those mental muscles. And second, the theory forgets that children are incredibly insulated with their own thoughts and self-centric world views. New things can be learned by anyone at any age as long as the student doesn’t have any physical limitations that impair their mental ability.

Hunger is an incredible motivator after all.

I know it sounds like a lot of baloney, but a friend of mine recently convinced me that I could learn anything in under 24 hours. He didn’t do this intentionally mind you, he was actually showing me an interview to help me learn some camera techniques for framing my interviews and Cross Talk videos better. It was a matter of convenience that I stumbled upon this gem.

Accelerated Learning

Josh Kaufman agrees that you can master anything after 10,000 hours of experience. But he questions the logic of it all. After all, who really has 10,000 hours to dedicate to mastery, when most of us have full lives and are only interested in certain aspects of a skill set? For instance, let’s say you want to learn how to light a setting for interviews – Well common instruction methods say that you should learn how light works in all settings and get the full exposure to photography and videography methods. Only then will you be properly equipped for implementing light equipment.

That’s just not true. You really need to follow these five points, and you’re on your way.

1. Have specific goals and a strong curiosity
2. Deconstruct the skill into sub-skills
3. Learn each sub-skill adequately to practice it and self-correct
4. Eliminating distractions of practice
5. Commit to the first 20 hours of practice

If you know what you want to know how to do, you can break apart the techniques of lighting into sub-skills and focus on the key sub-skills you personally need. Then you practice that set of skills until you have a good understanding of them. At the point of 20 hours you will be proficient at lighting and you can learn other skills in that wheelhouse as they come up. It’s kinda brilliant. But hey, it’s only a theory.

So why not try it out and prove Kaufman wrong?


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