There’s not many things I regret in life.
One of the things I love most about the way my mum chose to raise me is that I could (and was encouraged) to do pretty much whatever I wanted when it came to a direction in life. To aim for any goal that seemed even quasi-achievable and to have the backing of your parents is a great feeling to have as a kid growing in to the world. The side-effect to this though, was that it meant I had a lot of hobbies, and although I enjoyed a lot of them, I often bounced around from interest to interest and after a year or two at a particular endeavour, I would move on to the next.
When I look my current hobby – photography – I see these… well, kids, really. Teenagers. Super young adults. These people who were just like me, bright-eyed and ready for anything. But these kids are different. These kids are hella skilled. These kids have stuck at it for years and as a result, they’re amazingly talented. I kind of regret not being like that. I kind of regret not sticking to one hobby (that’s not design, of course =)) for a longer period of time and mastering the shit out of that.
Luckily, it’s not a deep regret. I’ve learnt not to truly, deeply regret anything in life. Instead, I see it more as a motivation to catch up.
I’m the kind of guy who gets a little obsessive over the current path he’s learning on. Whenever I move to a new skill I’m trying to master, over the years I’ve found the best way to make the skill stick in the most efficient and long-lasting way is to use the immersion method.
Basically what it means is going all in.
Think, eat, sleep what you learn. Think about it all the time, think about how to improve, think about how to apply it to other parts of your life. Get your friends to help you, get new friends to bolster all of that. Read, absorb, ponder, take action. All the time, 24/7. Commit.
Of course it doesn’t ever actually work out to be 24/7, but the sentiment is that the faster you learn something, the more likely it is to not only stick, but to snowball in terms of growth. Immersing yourself intensively causes a compounding effect on how fast you learn, especially within the first year of that skill.
Many people actually do this without realising, but once you realise what you’re doing, you can apply a more targeted, optimised approach and span it out to anything you want to learn in life.
Learn the 80% of skills in 20% of the time. Do it fast. Learn how to be a great cook, learn how to ride a motorbike, learn how to solve problems, learn how to be a good person, learn how to learn.
These kids, these kids with crazy skills that have been urbexing and taking photos since they were 15, now they’re suddenly 18 and taking the most wonderful shots in places you’ve never even heard of – they’re immersing. They’re learning, growing, improving, fast. Age doesn’t mean anything – experience is everything. How much time you’ve spent doing a particular thing is usually the best indicator of how good you are at it. Of course there are exceptions – and using the immersion method is a way of being exceptional in a positive way – but generally, this is how it goes.
Immerse yourself. Learn well.