I Can Teach You to Learn Anything
My grandfather was a teacher. Not in the classroom sense. But in the life sense. There was always a lesson or a skill he would teach us. I remember one time when I was in high school, we needed to replace a starter on a truck on our farm. Grandpa wasn’t able to get down on the ground and get back up all that easily, so he taught me how to do it.
He instructed me on the tools I would need, what I would need to do first, and tips and tricks about what I would encounter while completing the task. And low and behold, I was able to complete the job.
It was the first time I remember learning something outside of the classroom and did it well. As I have grown up, I seem to think because I didn’t go to school to do something or wasn’t trained to do something I cannot do it.
The truth is, school and training doesn’t alway matter that much.
Remodeling My House
My wife and I bought our house in September 2016. We knew coming into it that our little fixer-upper would need some work. And, because of budgetary constraints, I would be doing most of the work myself. Growing up, my parents hired out most of these home improvement projects or did them without my brother and I around to learn.
It was going to be up to me and my wife to learn how to remodel my house.
Here we are almost two years later and these are a few things we have learned how to do:
- Dry wall Patching
- Laminate flooring installation.
- Floor trim installation.
- Creating a less “creaky” subfloor.
- Painting on nearly all surfaces, including walls, ceilings, outside trim/doors, rock walls, and cabinets.
- Complete bathroom remodeling, plumbing (toilets and sinks), flooring, rubber floor trim.
- Electrical — light replacement, outlet replacement, and replacing light switches.
- Building a fence.
- Adjust windows, doors, and sliding doors.
- DIY Pest Removal — Ants, mice, and squirrels.
- Tile Backsplash Installation.
All in all, I didn’t know how to do any of these things other than painting walls prior to owning our home. And now, I can do all of them with a fair amount of confidence.
While learning how to remodel a home, I realized anyone can learn how to do anything. We all need to learn how to learn. That is it. Yes, I said it: “learn how to learn.”
Learning to Learn
It has taken me years to figure this out. Literally, I was a struggling “C” student in college, it took me six years to earn a four year degree. And I majored in “Sport Management.” My program at my college almost was removed from existence right after I graduated too.
Suffice to say, I should be the last person to write about learning.
However, I have learned that I thrive in practical, active learning enviroments. When I need to do something, I jump right in and start doing it. Every home improvement project I watched a few YouTube videos, Googled helpful tips and then went at it.
And everyone of those projects turned out really well. Surprisingly well.
What I have learned about learning is this: Now is the best time to learn something new. You can YouTube it, Google it, Crowdsource questions on Social Media, and of course, ask for help. I do all of these.
All you need is knowledge, confidence and time.
And of course, you need to start. That is basically how I learned to be productive at work. Because I really sucked at it before I researched, created a plan, and started doing it. Learn more about starting:
How to Learn Anything
This is my process to learn anything. And I mean anything. Fly-fishing, tiling my backsplash, productivity, and even writing.
Step One: Decide What Exactly You Want to Learn
No, remodeling my house isn’t an exact thing. Its a general desire. Your exact thing to learn is how to install a subway tile backslash in my kitchen? Or, how do I replace a toilet? And my personal favorite: How do I build a fence? These are exact things you want to learn. Narrowing it down helps you on the next step.
Step Two: Research What You Want to Learn
Before we can move onto the action, we must look some things up. When setting up my blog and creating an email list, I had to look up countless videos of how to do this well. I found plenty of websites to help with this, but I only reviewed the ones with the highest views, likes, and shares. If they are useful, people will make sure you know.
I gathered all this information and looked at what I needed to do. I recently read somewhere that you only need 70% of the information to start a project, so don’t get cauth up trying to get a ton of information. Just start with what you need to start and know where you want to go with it.
Step Three: Get Your Supplies
I am not great at this. I probably make one to two trips to Home Depot after I start a project because I didn’t get everything. However, I have noticed when I have it all upfront, I have more confidence to start the project.
Step Four: Ask for Tips
I have several friends who have done a lot of work on their homes. So, before I start a project, I ask them for any tips they might have to help me. There is always a quick little tidbit that the YouTube gurus don’t always share. Make sure you ask for those right before you start.
Step Five: Start Learning by Doing (Practice)
If you want to be a writer, start writing. Medium is a great place to do this. If you want to remodel a bathroom. Start with a simple thing, change the light fixture (this may not sound simple, but most of the time it is super easy). Once you have completed a couple of learning projects you gain confidence to do bigger projects.
Step Six: Review What You Have Learned
Once you have stared into the practical, take a step back and review how things are going. And see if you need to make any adjustments. This is a little harder, especially if you have started into tiling a backsplash, but there are ways to make adjustments.
And don’t be afraid to have to start over. This is frustrating, it costs money sometimes, but its OK. Sometimes the best way to learn is to fail and start again.
Step Seven: Complete Your Project or Learning Exercise
Now, practice and work on it. Just keep going until you have learned it and you feel confidence at what you are doing. If you are writing, keep going until you have confidence in what you are doing before you start something new.
Step Eight: Write it Down
I know, I tell people to write stuff down all the time. But once you have become proficient at something or have completed a project. Write it down to remember later. Especially when you start to learn something else. It will give you the confidence at the next thing you learn.
In Review: You Can Learn Anything
Using the steps above, I have learned to remodel my house, become a writer, become more productive at work, and do a variety of other life skills. And to be honest, if I can do it. So can you.
I have seen this process work for myself and countless others. I help people in my day job learn things by doing this process. Try it next time you want to learn something new.
What is something you want to learn now? What is something you are currently learning? If there is something you don’t think these steps can help, share in the responses below!