We’ve all been in a position of wanting to learn something new. Perhaps you’d like to learn how to edit photos and videos, a new language, a new topic for your college class, etc. Whatever you want to learn requires an important skill which is self-education. We simply cannot rely on others to teach us
Now, why is knowing how to self-educate important? Going to college is not enough in the modern world. There are many skills that you must teach yourself if you want to land your dream job. For example, Microsoft Office, Public speaking, among others.
Now that you have a brief idea of why self-education is important for your professional growth, let’s talk about how you can be good at self-education. It’s not an easy skill to learn, that is why we’ll give you 5 amazing tips that will make it easier for you to master this skill.
1. Know exactly what you want to learn
Sometimes people want to learn a very broad skill or subject, and not knowing exactly what they want to learn puts them behind the line. That is why you need to pick a very specific skill or subject.
For example, let’s say you want to learn how to use Microsoft Office. Having “Microsoft Office” as a goal does not help you, it only sets you back as the skill you want to learn is very broad. Instead, you want to be more specific.
For this example we’re gonna assume you want to learn Microsoft Excel. Now that you’re being more specific you need to think how learning that skill will benefit you. More on that in the next point.
2. Identify why you want to learn something new
I’ve met many people who decide to learn a new skill without a purpose, and one week later they stop. What did they achieve? Nothing, and they lost time.
You want to avoid this problem by identifying why you want to learn something new and how that will benefit you. Let’s take the example of the previous point. Why do you want to learn Microsoft Excel? Is it because everyone is telling you to learn that? Is it because you need it for a college class? Is it because your dream job requires this skill?
There will be many times that you will want to give up when learning a new skill or subject by yourself. It is difficult being our own teachers as we do not have someone who can guide us on the “correct” path. That is why it is important to take the time to identify why you want to learn that new skill and use that as motivation.
3. Identify how you learn best
Now that you know what you want to learn, and why you want to learn it, you need to start finding the resources you will be using. But, before doing that, you need to identify how you learn best.
Everyone is different, many people learn by watching videos, others learn by reading books or articles, and others learn by working with someone else or by imitating an instructor.
Take the time to identify what works best for you. Once you have decided, you now need to start finding what resources you will be using to learn that skill. Keep in mind that no technique is better than the other.
4. Start finding the right resources
By now you should know what you want to learn, why you want to learn it, and how you learn best. Now it is time to find the right resources to start learning.
In the event that you are new to a subject, you should consider looking at how others started and how they recommend you to start. A great platform to do this research would be YouTube, where you can search videos about “Mistakes I made when learning [SUBJECT]” or “Mistakes beginners make and how to avoid them”.
There is no need to follow exactly what they say, but it should give you an idea of where to start. If they recommend you to start reading a book, now you know which one. If they recommend watching a certain online course, now you know where to find it.
However, if you feel dissatisfied with the guide they are recommending to you, you should do our own research. Sounds difficult but it is possible. If you decide to do your own research, try to find books or courses with good reviews for what you want to learn.
When you are educating yourself, practicing is what determines whether you become good or terrible at that skill or subject.
When you are practicing, the quality of the process has a huge impact on how well you develop your skills. Just putting in the hours is not enough, and unfortunately many people believe it is thanks to the “10,000 hour rule”, a rule that says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any complex skill.
With that being said, when practicing, try not to be too repetitive and instead focus on expanding your knowledge by using what you currently know. As Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
Teaching yourself a new skill can be difficult as it requires discipline and time, but with the tips we have shared, you should now have a better understanding of what you should do if you wish to learn a new skill or subject and why it is beneficial in the modern world.