How to learn fast and master any skill you want

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How to learn fast and master any skill you want

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In today’s world, there are so many things to learn, and experience, yet most people would rather stick to what they already know, and not bother to take a leap, and experience something new. If you were to ask somebody what may prevent them from learning a new skill, I am sure they would use time as an excuse. If you are serious about wanting to pick up a new skill, and being able to learn it well, and learn it in a timely manner, check out these 5 techniques I came across that will help you do just that.

1. Deconstruct the skill, and make it less overwhelming.

When you start to learn something new, it can become extremely overwhelming, which can cause you to give up on it before you even start. A lot of skills are usually a bunch of skills put together. Take baseball as an example. Yo have to know how to bat, throw, and catch. Rather than going out and just trying to play baseball, try playing catch with a friend one day, and go to the batting cages the next. By breaking it down into two separate sessions, you don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to do it all at once.

2. Commit yourself to 20 hours of practice.

This is the whole focus in Josh Kaufmans “The First 20 Hours: How To Learn Anything…Fast”. Before you start to learn something new, set a goal point that you would like to reach, and write down a schedule and stick to it! It will certainly be hard in the first few hours of practicing, but if you can get past that you will be more likely to succeed.

3. Define what it means to you to “master” the skill.

Everybody interprets things differently. One person’s definition of mastering a skill may be way different than yours. Think of baking as an example. Somebody who wants to master baking may think they need to learn how to make a perfect souffle, but you might interpret this as that you want to bake a batch of cupcakes for your daughter’s bake sale. If you set an unreasonable goal for yourself, and try to learn more than you can in your 20-hour practice time, you are likely to give up sooner. On the other hand, if you set a reasonable goal for yourself, and you stick to it, you can either practice until you reach the goal, or continue practicing up to your 20-hour mark.

4. Imagine yourself doing the skill.

Make it a habit to visualize yourself performing the skill you are trying to learn. I have learned that by doing this, by visualizing yourself doing the task, it boosts your morale, and you feel more confident within yourself that you can master the skill exactly how you want to.

5. Be cocky, but be humble.

Once you are past the first few hours of practice, and you are starting to pick up the skill a little better, free to act like you are already have been doing it for a while. This is another way to boost your confidence, and make learning even more go a lot better. On the other hand, don’t let it get to your head. The worst thing you can do to your progress is be too cocky, because then you will feel like you know everything about it, when the truth is that you probably have a lot more to learn. Its okay to feel proud of how far you came, but don’t for get to keep moving forward.

Don’t keep telling yourself that you do not have any time to learn a new skill. These 5 tips are a good way to help you learn something new, and learn it quickly. Why deprive yourself from new experiences? Get out there and learn!

Hours of practice are vital but you can get to mastery faster — much faster — by doing it the right way

How to learn fast and master any skill you want

There’s a right way to learn

Want to be more successful? Actually, that’s not ambitious enough — want to be the best?

I do. So I called my friend Daniel Coyle, author of the best books on getting better at anything: The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent.

Dan knows that the “10,000 hour rule” is nice, but you need to align your effort with the way your brain was designed to learn.

Hours are vital but you can get to mastery faster — much faster — by practicing the right way.

So how can you and I do that? Here are seven steps experts use:

1) Be uncomfortable

You learn best when you’re reaching. “Flow” is great. But flow is not the best way to learn.

You want to be stretched to the edge of your ability. It needs to be hard. That’s how your brain grows.

We learn when we’re in our discomfort zone. When you’re struggling, that’s when you’re getting smarter. The more time you spend there, the faster you learn. It’s better to spend a very, very high quality ten minutes, or even ten seconds, than it is to spend a mediocre hour. You want to practice where you are on the edge of your ability, reaching over and over again, making mistakes, failing, realizing those mistakes and reaching again.

More on the best way for you to practice here.

2) Stop reading. Start doing.

Keep the “Rule of Two-Thirds” in mind. Spend only one third of your time studying.

The other two-thirds of your time you want to be doing the activity. Practicing. Testing yourself.

Get your nose out of that book. Avoid the classroom. Whatever it is you want to be the best at, be doing it.

The closer your practice is to the real thing, the faster you learn.

Our brains evolved to learn by doing things, not by hearing about them. This is one of the reasons that, for a lot of skills, it’s much better to spend about two thirds of your time testing yourself on it rather than absorbing it. There’s a rule of two thirds. If you want to, say, memorize a passage, it’s better to spend 30 percent of your time reading it, and the other 70 percent of your time testing yourself on that knowledge.

More on how to shift from reading to doing here.

3) The sweet spot

You want to be successful 60 to 80 percent of the time when training. That’s the sweet spot for improvement.

When learning is too hard, we quit. When it’s too easy… well, we quit then too.

Always be upping the challenge to stay in that 60 to 80 percent zone.

You don’t want to be succeeding 40 percent of the time. That’s flailing around. You don’t want to be succeeding 95 percent of the time. That’s too easy. You want to constantly be toggling, adjusting the environment so that you’re succeeding 60 to 80 percent of the time.

More on how to find your sweet spot for learning here.

4) Commit to the long term

Asking someone “How long are you going to be doing this?” was the best predictor of how skilled that person would end up being.

Merely committing to the long haul had huge effects.

The question that ended up being the most predictive of skill was “How long are you going to be doing this?” Commitment was the difference maker. The people who combined commitment with a little bit of practice, their skills went off the charts.

Commit to the long haul. Don’t give up. Even works for mice:

More on how long term commitment can take you to the next level here.

5) Find a role model

Watching the best people work is one of the most powerful things you can do.

It’s motivating, inspiring and it’s how you were built to learn. Study the best to be the best.

When we stare at someone we want to become and we have a really clear idea of where we want to be, it unlocks a tremendous amount of energy. We’re social creatures, and when we get the idea that we want to join some enchanted circle up above us, that is what really lights up motivation. “Look, they did it. I can do it.” It sounds very basic, but spending time staring at the best can be one of the most powerful things you do.

More on finding the best mentor for you here.

6) Naps are steroids for your brain

Napping isn’t for the lazy. It’s one of the habits of the most successful people in any field.

Sleep is essential to learning. Naps are a tool that will make you the best.

Napping is a high performance activity. If you looked into the habits of highly successful people you would see a lot of naps, a lot of recovery. It’s sort of our brains’ janitorial service. It helps us clean out the stuff we don’t want. It also helps us work on ideas while we’re asleep. Top performers use sleep as a tool.

More on how astronauts use sleep to increase performance here.

7) Keep a notebook

Eminem keeps a journal. Peyton Manning keeps a journal.

Top performers track their progress, set goals, reflect, and learn from their mistakes.

Most people who are taking an ownership role in their talent development use this magical tool called a notebook. Keep a performance journal. If you want to get better, you need a map, and that journal is that map. You can write down what you did today, what you tried to do, where you made mistakes. It’s a place to reflect. It’s a place to capture information. It’s a place to be able to track your progress. It’s one of the most underused yet powerful tools that I could imagine anybody using.

More on how to use a notebook to be your best here.

If you only remember two words From this…

Dan says the two key words are “Reach” and “Stare.”

Reach: Always push yourself to the edge of your ability.

Stare: Look at those better than you and emulate them.

I would say, “Reach. Get out on the edge of your ability. Get into your discomfort zone and reach past that.” And I would say, “Stare. Find somebody you want to be in two years, three years, five years, and stare at that person. See what they’re doing. See exactly what they’re doing, and steal that. Steal from them.”

Sum up

Sadly, you weren’t born an expert.

But you can become one with practice and time. Start now. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve:

I’ll be sending out more tips from Dan in my weekly email.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

More from Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

The Only Way to Become Amazingly Great at Something

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” – Albert Einstein

By Leo Babauta

Very often you’ll see blog posts or books teaching you to “master” a skill in only 10 days, or 3 days … in fact, it used to be 30 days but the time frame to master something seems to be shrinking rapidly.

I’ve even seen tutorials claiming to teach a skill in just a few hours. Pretty soon we’ll be demanding to know how to do something in seconds.

Instant mastery of skills and knowledge! Hey presto!

Unfortunately, the reality is something a little less magical. Or maybe that’s a fortunate thing.

There’s only one way to become good at something:

1. First, you must learn it by reading or listening to others who know how to do it, but most especially by doing.
2. Then do some more. At this point, you’ll start to understand it, but you’ll suck. This stage could take months.
3. Do some more. After a couple of years, you’ll get good at it.
4. Do some more. If you learn from mistakes, and aren’t afraid to make mistakes in the first place, you’ll go from good to great.

It takes anywhere from 6-10 years to get great at something, depending on how often and how much you do it. Some estimate that it takes 10,000 hours to master something, but I think it varies from person to person and depends on the skill and other factors.

Want to be a great writer? It’s possible to be great within a few years, if you have the God-given talent of Fitzgerald or Shakespeare, but most of us toil for over a decade and are still trying to get better. We’re still learning, to this day, and if we look back on our first few years of writing — of any kind — we’ll tell you we sucked (for the most part) back then.

Want to be a great blogger? Same deal. I’ve been doing it for almost three years, and I’m still only competent. Gruber’s been doing it for, like, 7 years and he’s still only … well, he’s pretty great by now. You have to do it, make mistakes, learn, really begin to understand it, and someday, if you stick with it, you’ll be great.

There’s no one who is great at his profession who hasn’t been doing it for at least 6 years — no designer, no programmer, no carpenter, no architect, no surgeon, no teacher, no musician, no artist … you get the point. I dare you to name one. Most have been doing it for over a decade, and are still looking to improve.

It takes desire, it takes drive, it takes lots and lots of doing.

So here’s the thing: don’t get discouraged if you’re just starting out. Have fun, like we all did in the beginning. If you have fun, you’ll learn to love it, and THAT’S when it clicks. When you love something, you’ll want to do it all the time, sometimes late at night and often, you’ll jump out of bed and want to do it before you move your morning bowels.

THAT’S how you get great. By loving it so much your morning bowel movement takes second seat.

“Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is.” – George Lucas

Find that desire. Do it, don’t just read about it. Don’t buy a single product or book or magazine that claims to teach you something in minutes, hours, days. They’re lying to your face, with a hand in your pocket at the same time.

Do it, keep doing it, then keep doing it some more. It’s the only way to get great, but the good news: anyone can do it. It just takes some time and some doing. Hey presto.

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

How to learn fast and master any skill you want

Skills are a form of currency in the working world: The more skills you have, the more valuable you are as an employee. You’ll be more attractive to more potential employers, you’ll be able to make more money, and you’ll be able to do more once you land your ideal position. Unfortunately, many workers immediately zero in on niche skill sets that are only useful for their specific area of expertise–for example, a coder might learn techniques for dozens of programming languages. This is good, as it makes you a better fit for those specific positions, but there are some general skills that are far more important.

These seven skills serve as pillars for any individual in any position. Employers look for these as a foundation more important than any niche skill set, and employees with these skills almost always do better than their counterparts:

1. Effective Communication. No matter who you are, where you work, or what line of work you’re in, communication will be a critical factor in your ultimate success. It might involve giving information to a client, telling your needs to a supervisor, or collaborating with your peers. It might be mostly phone-based, mostly written, or mostly face-to-face. In today’s world, the forms of communication are practically limitless, but the baseline skills responsible for ensuring that communication’s success are fundamental. Say what you want to say concisely, accurately, and appropriately, and try to maximize the effectiveness of your messages by choosing the proper mediums for them.

2. Organization and Management. Organizational skills help you better handle the responsibilities before you and ensure they are executed properly. Being organized means you’ll be more likely to get to work on time, prioritize your tasks effectively, and seek solutions to problems before they even become problems. Management skills are also useful in any position; for example, you’ll be able to better manage your resources, time, and workload. Without organization and management skills, even the most capable workers often fall behind or make critical mistakes.

3. Negotiation. Negotiation, as a skill, comes from equal parts persuasion and confidence (which I’ll touch on later). It’s a useful tool to have in almost any position, and having it during the job interview process can guarantee you get the best position possible–for example, if you negotiate strongly, you could receive a higher salary or more competitive benefits. In the context of a job, you can use negotiation skills for obvious purposes like securing new clients or striking deals with potential partners, but it’s also useful in getting last-minute help, decreasing possible points of resistance, and lowering total costs of operation.

4. Critical Thinking. Critical thinking is a process of problem solving that allows you to find and address potential weaknesses or fault points in a given environment. It allows for more creative solutions to problems, faster assessment of bad situations, and greater pattern recognition in large systems, and its applications are practically infinite. Critical thinkers are capable of acknowledging, analyzing, and solving problems without much–if any–outside influence, and they’re always looking for improvements to add to the system.

5. Teamwork and Delegation. While some positions rely on it more than others, you’ll always have some level of teamwork to manage in the workplace. When you first start off, that might mean collaborating with your supervisors and a few of your peers, but in your future, it could mean delegating work to your subordinates. Knowing how to work with others effectively and how to play to individuals’ strengths is a key skill for success in this area. The better you know how to work in groups, the better you’ll be able to collectively perform. Without teamwork skills, you’ll end up slowing the operation down.

6. Research and Analysis. Research and analysis skills come into play for nearly every conceivable position. Marketers need to research and analyze their campaigns for possible effectiveness. Salespeople need to research and analyze leads. Engineers need to research and analyze potential technologies. Even personal assistants need to research and analyze various travel plans. Being able to quickly find information, review it, and recognize key patterns is essential for practically any job function.

7. Confidence. Confidence might seem like a trait, but it can be gained, honed, and developed just like a skill. You can increase your confidence in some areas through sheer practice; the more often you do something, the more confident you’ll be in doing it. In other areas, confidence can be a product of your practiced habits. For example, if you work on improving your body language and elocution and thinking positive thoughts, you’ll naturally come across as a more confident person, and you’ll feel more confident in your regular actions. Confidence leads to greater respect, greater precision, and greater efficiency all around.

Some of these skills develop naturally over time as you gain experience in the professional world, but for the most part, you’ll need to seek them, acquire them, and hone them like you would other skill. Dedicate yourself to improving each of these individual areas, and maximize your chances of getting hired and succeeding in your position.

Share Fast Facts

When practicing and learning a new skill, making slight changes during repeat practice sessions may help people master the skill faster than practicing the task in precisely the same way, Johns Hopkins researchers report.

In a study of 86 healthy volunteers asked to learn a computer-based motor skill, those who quickly adjusted to a modified practice session the second time around performed better than when repeating their original task, the researchers found. The results support the idea that a process called reconsolidation, in which existing memories are recalled and modified with new knowledge, plays a key role in the strengthening of motor skills, says senior study author Pablo A. Celnik, M.D., professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“What we found is if you practice a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the exact same thing multiple times in a row,” says Celnik. The work, described in the Jan. 28 edition of the journal Current Biology, has implications not only for leisure skills, like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport, but also for helping patients with stroke and other neurological conditions regain lost motor function, he says.

“Our results are important because little was known before about how reconsolidation works in relation to motor skill development. This shows how simple manipulations during training can lead to more rapid and larger motor skill gains because of reconsolidation,” says Celnik. “The goal is to develop novel behavioral interventions and training schedules that give people more improvement for the same amount of practice time.”

For the study, volunteers came to Celnik’s laboratory to learn and perform an isometric pinch task over the course of two or three 45-minute sessions. This entailed squeezing a device called a force transducer to move a computer cursor across a monitor. The screen test featured five windows and a “home space.” Participants were asked to move the cursor from home to the various windows in a set pattern as quickly and accurately as possible.

The volunteers were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group completed a typical training schedule where after the initial training session, they repeated the exact same training lesson six hours later — based on previous studies, the amount of time believed needed to consolidate memories from the first session — and again the next day. The second group performed the first practice session and, after six hours, completed a second training session in which Celnik and colleagues had tweaked the test so that the force needed to be changed ever so slightly in every trial. In this manner, individuals had to constantly adjust their performance despite not being aware of the subtle modifications. The next day, these participants returned to the lab and were asked to repeat the same task they were given during the first session. The third “control” group performed the exact same task just once each day, skipping the second training session altogether.

Celnik says the gains in performance, such as a speedier and more accurate completion of the task, nearly doubled among those in the second group, who were given the altered second session, compared to those in the first group, who repeated the same task.

Highest gains were seen among those subjects who were able to quickly adapt to the change in conditions. Participants in the third group, who skipped the second session, performed approximately 25 percent worse than those in the first group.

Celnik says the alterations in training have to be small, something akin to slightly adjusting the size or weight of a baseball bat, tennis racket or soccer ball in between practice sessions. Current studies by Celnik’s team, still underway and not yet published, suggest that changing a practice session too much, like playing badminton in between tennis bouts, brings no significant benefit to motor learning.

“If you make the altered task too different, people do not get the gain we observed during reconsolidation,” he says. “The modification between sessions needs to be subtle.”

Study co-authors were Nicholas F. Wymbs and Amy J. Bastian, Ph.D., P.T.

This research was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development under grant number R01HD073147 and the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award under grant number T32-NRSA.

We all have certain skills we’re particularly good at and may have been perfecting since childhood—things like art, cooking or fixing electronic gadgets. But as we age, we become painfully aware of our shortcomings and might decide we want to take up a new hobby and learn new things.

Life tends to get in the way—after all, who has the time to become fluent in a language, learn a new instrument, start performing house repairs, or get certified as a personal trainer? With all the knowledge online though, learning is more accessible than ever. Here are 10 of the most highly-desired skills that you can teach yourself.

Repair just about anything

Repair just about anything

You might not need to repair anything anymore—maybe you can afford to just pay someone else to do it—but where’s the ingenuity in that? Plus, who wants to waste a bunch of money on simple tasks you can handle on your own? If you’ve adopted the DIY spirit, learning to repair your own stuff is one of the easiest and more rewarding skills you can acquire. It’s especially fruitful because as you learn new things, you can put them to use right away.

So how do you teach yourself? We’ve outlined tons of repairs you can learn on your own to get you started, but if you’re looking for something specific, there’s no shortage of how-to videos available on YouTube. You’ll find everything from home repairs to outdoor repairs , plumbing repairs and even electrical repairs . There will be occasions when you do need to call a professional, as you’re not going to be a master repairperson instantly. But do remember that every time something breaks, it’s an opportunity to learn how to fix it.

Pick up an artistic skill

Pick up an artistic skill

Although it won’t often earn you the big bucks, artistic skills are highly desired because they provide you with the technical abilities required to create something beautiful. You’re going to have to find your own inspiration and subject matter, but the skill you’ll need is really just a matter of technical aptitude and practice.

Picking up a book of anatomy and drawing different bones and muscles will teach you how to draw people. Drawing grids over photographs can show you basic perspective. Obviously it isn’t as simple as that, but focusing on learning to draw one simple thing, like the petals of a flower or the human hand, will help you learn how it works and get in a reasonable amount of practice. When you’re ready to move on from the basics and start illustrating on your computer, check out some digital painting lessons . Those of you interested in photography can find lessons for that , too.

Whatever you’re looking to learn, just set aside 15-30 minutes every day to practice a very small part of that skill. It’ll take a while to teach yourself how to draw, paint, take better photos, make hamburger sculptures out of clay, or whatever it is you want to do, but breaking the daunting task into pieces and practicing each part slowly will help get you there. Plus, it’s a really nice way to unwind at the end of the day.

Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s Player’s Choice Award for Best Instructional Material

The Gibson name has stood for superior quality in musical instruments for decades now. With Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar, taught by guitar pro Steve Krenz, that tradition of excellence continues.

How to learn fast and master any skill you wantGibson’s Learn & Master Guitar course is known as the most complete course available for learning guitar. It is the winner of the Acoustic Guitar Magazine ‘Players’ Choice’ GOLD Award, two Telly Awards, and an AEGIS Award for Excellence in Education.

  • 20 professionally filmed DVDs in HD with over 40 hours of instruction.
  • 5 Jam-Along CDs.
  • 100+ page lesson book.
  • Unlimited access to our online student support site.

Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar is designed for all skill levels. We provide the roadmap and you provide the practice!

If you have looked online for guitar courses, you have probably seen a lot of thirty-minute “Learn Guitar Overnight” videos. Your instincts tell you that these will not work. For someone who really wants to learn to play guitar, Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar provides a series of video guitar lessons that will take you from any skill level, even a total novice, through to advanced levels.

Not a beginner guitarist? That’s OK. Skim through the basics and jump into the more advanced training. Learn more about using the course as an intermediate player..

Lesson books alone, with no detailed video instruction, can be confusing. Using software-based instruction chains you to your computer and is difficult to use. Private guitar instruction is pricey, inconvenient, and depends on finding the perfect teacher. An average weekly guitar lesson will cost you $2,000 per year plus all that driving!

Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar program solves all of these problems. We combine the best instructional tools for learning guitar in one course. Try it today!

The DVD’s

Over 40 hours of instruction on 20 DVDs produced in High Definition. These are the heart of Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar. Each lesson is clearly explained and demonstrated, so you know exactly what and how to practice. The videos were recently awarded two Telly awards for excellence in the categories of Education and Use of Music.

Topics Covered

Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar covers everything from the very basics through the most advanced techniques. There’s no way we could list everything, but here are a few of the things you will learn—and master!

Styles Covered

“What type of guitar will I learn to play?” We all have our favorite styles of music, so it’s only natural that you’d be most interested in playing what you like. Unlike most guitar training products, Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar is complete enough to offer advanced training in all of the most popular styles. You can learn them all or just the ones that interest you most.

Play-Along CD’s

This is where the fun comes in! These five CDs allow you to “jam along” with an actual band, using the very same songs you’ll be learning in your lessons. There’s no better way to learn than by playing, and there’s no way to play that’s more fun than jamming with a band. You’ll be amazed at how much more fun this makes your practice time! Your friends and family will be impressed, too, at how soon you’ll be playing such amazing music!

Beginner Guitar Players

If you are an absolute beginner guitar player, Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar is designed so you can start at the very beginning and progress from there to each next new skill easily. You will feel comfortable with your guitar and your new-found ability before moving forward to more advanced levels.

More Experienced Guitar Players

If you are an intermediate player, chances are you’ve learned by picking things up here and there on your own. You may have taken a few lessons. You may have read a few books or watched a few videos. You may or may not have learned to read music. You’ve enjoyed being able to play the basics, but now you’re ready to move beyond that. You know that you want to begin getting serious about your guitar training, but you’re not sure how. Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar is your answer.

Student Support

Our student support forum is a vibrant learning community with over 15,000 active users, all helping each other along as they progress through the course. Once you purchase the course, you will also get access to our Student Support and Community websites. Steve Krenz, the author of Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar, is online regularly, answering questions and offering encouragement, as are other students. You can also build a student profile, post recordings of your songs, track your progress, and get feedback from Steve and other students.


The Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar course has been awarded the Acoustic Guitar Player’s Choice GOLD Award . Acoustic Guitar is both an online community of guitarists and a guitar magazine. Every two years, they hold their Player’s Choice Awards. These awards are given to the best guitars, gear, and instructional products in the industry. We are proud to have received this prestigious recondition.

60-Day Money Back Guarantee

We want you to be delighted with Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar . If you are not, simply return the course within sixty days for a full refund of the purchase price. No questions asked. It’s that simple. We get very few returns, but when we do, they are handled promptly and courteously. Order now with confidence.

Sample Lessons

Here are a few examples of the types of lessons that are included in the award winning guitar instructional series.

Lesson Book

No one wants to practice along with a video all of the time! Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar Lesson Book contains all of the songs and exercises demonstrated in the video lessons, as well as several more, so you can continue practicing at your own pace for as long as you need before moving on to the next lesson.

Whether you’re are a new graduate trying to figure out how to get a leg up in your career, or you’re a mid-career professional looking to secure your next promotion, you might be wondering what are the most important skills you need to help you get where you want to go. While it’s, of course, important to develop your industry-specific hard skills, what’s just as critical to your success are your soft skills. Soft skills are how you function in the workplace and interact with others. And while they’re not easily taught in a classroom or measured, they are key skills that we all need to have. Additionally, in our more globalized, fast-changing work environment, there is now a premium on the kinds of soft skills that allow you to keep pace with the future of work. So, if you’re looking to accelerate your career, here are the 12 soft skills that you need to succeed.

1. Learnability

We’ll begin with learnability because it is arguably the most important 21st-century skill you will need to succeed. Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” That’s because, in an environment where new skills emerge as fast as others fade, success is less about what you already know and more about adapting your skills by growing and expanding your knowledge base, so you can use new information and skills to respond to whatever is happening.

2. Resilience

Setbacks and failures are a part of life, but how you choose to deal with those roadblocks is what is critical to your success. Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of obstacles and failures. When you are resilient, you don’t focus on the ups and downs. Instead, you stay focused on your long-term goals, and you never lose confidence in your ability to prevail. By helping you face challenges and difficulties, resilience also enables you to handle stress more positively.

3. Agility

As the work landscape shifts, learning to be agile is a critical skill, as yesterday’s solutions do not solve tomorrow’s problems. At the heart of being agile is shifting gears when the context calls for it and responding accordingly to the needs of your workplace, clients or industry trends.

4. Collaboration

In our increasingly hyper-connected world, we’re no longer expected to work just as individuals or only in silos. Our projects have become more complex, so the ability to work effectively as part of a team has also grown in importance. Given the increasingly global nature of work, your ability to collaborate, share knowledge and contribute to teams that can capitalize on a diversity of thinking and perspective in ways that everyone can benefit and drive to the shared outcomes is critical.

Add these talents to your repertoire.

How to learn fast and master any skill you want

We all have that one friend who seems to be endlessly talented. They’re chock full of cool life skills and useless party tricks, and thus never fail to be all sorts of impressive. You might catch them moonwalking across a dance floor, lighting a match with just one hand, or mastering the selfie game on Instagram. Their skills and talents add flair to everyone’s lives, and leave everyone wondering how they got to be so cool.

People like this might seem magical, but the good thing is we can all be that talented and interesting, with just a few minutes of practice a day. Beyond impressing others, taking the time to learn a few new skills is fun, and incredibly useful for life in general. Have you ever tried to pick a lock? Or fold your shirts in just five seconds? Skills like these sure can come in handy, even when nobody’s watching. What’s more is that these cool skills to learn don’t have to be just useful. Sometimes they’re just fun to do and keep yourself entertained. Ever solved a Rubik’s cube? Now that’s a skill that will get your friends talking.

Taking a few minutes each day to practice a secret talent can feel good, too. For example, the moment I finally learned how to juggle, I felt like I had unlocked some sort of life achievement. Learning something new is good for your brain, and your self-esteem. And all those moments where you truly impress people? They’ll come later, when you come walking out of the mists like some kind of magician, leaving people swooning in your wake.

1. Learn To Moonwalk

If ever there was a skill you needed in life, it’s moonwalking. Popularized by Michael Jackson, the moonwalk is a dance move favorite. Whip this out at your next party, and everyone will be all sorts of impressed.

2. Sharpen Knives With Flair

The next time you’re cooking for friends and notice the knives are dull, simply pull out a steel (the thing you sharpen a knife against) and remedy the situation like a pro. Not only will a sharp knife make your chopping more efficient, but it’ll make you seem so incredibly capable in the kitchen.

3. Whistle With Your Fingers

If you’ve ever wanted to be that person in a crowd who gets someone’s attention with an ear-piercing whistle, now you can be!

4. Twirl A Pen

Pen twirling is a fun way to pass the time, while impressing everyone around you with your super cool skills. Are you a drummer? Or some kind of magician? Let them wonder.

5. Take Amazing Selfies

OK, so we all know how to hold our camera and snap a selfie. But have you ever wanted to take them to the next level? Get ready to stunt on everyone once you nail the secret to snapping the perfect angles.

6. Tell Better Stories

Just like we all know how to take a selfie, we also already know how to tell a story. But there’s a way to do it better. “Your own stories are the best. If you select one, hone it to the point of sharpness,” says Dr. Marlene Caroselli, an author and keynote speaker. “Have at least one that is generic and can fit into any conversation and one that will be germane to the next gathering (business or social) you will attend. Practice the telling, making sure to keep the anecdote succinct.” And don’t be afraid to throw in a few funny one-liners.

7. Magically Fold Your Clothes

Folding your shirts can be an agonizing task, if you’re going about it the old-fashioned way. So good thing there’s a cool, magical way to fold shirts in five seconds, that’ll not only impress yourself, but also anyone who happens to walk by.

8. Pick A Lock

Let’s say you’re locked out of your apartment, and all your roommates are standing by, wondering what to do. You can a) wait for the super or the locksmith, or b) pick the lock yourself. It does require a wrench and a paperclip, so unless you have those things, you’ll be SOL. But if you do, you’ll be the hero of the day.

9. Tie A Tie

Whether you wear a tie, or your partner does, learning how to tie one with ease can make you look like a veritable magician. “When a man or woman has the perfect tie knot, it is not only appealing, but also appears mysterious, since not many know the art of tying it,” says Dr. Aditi Gupta Jha, of JustDoc. Above, how to tie a windsor knot.

10. Light A Match With Panache

Shock everyone with your ability to light a match with one hand, before strolling off like it was no big deal. All you have to do is bend a match down over the end of a matchbook, then flick it with your finger across the striking pad, and voilГ . (Side note: while you’re practicing, please be careful.)

11. Juggle

I was once obsessed with learning how to juggle (because hey, fun party trick) so I can say, first hand, that it is actually easier than it looks. In the video above, you can learn the basics in just 10 minutes.

12. Speed Read

Speed reading can come in handy when going over a terms and conditions (you read those, right?), getting through a book quickly for class, or simply checking more novels off your to-read list. All of which are very impressive.

13. Solve A Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s cubes look like they’re only meant for math whizzes and geniuses. But I promise they’re not impossible to solve — if you understand how they work. Instead of twisting the squares around and hoping for the best, there is a pattern you should be following. Once you get it down, you can solve these things in a few seconds. Check out the video above to get started.

14. Play A Song On Harmonica

The next time you’re out and about, and someone picks up a harmonica (this happens, right?) be that person who can snatch it away and play a quick song. It may take a few days to learn the basic rhythms, but after that you’ll be able to play a few tunes. See above for a great lesson on the basics.

15. Say The Alphabet Backwards

It’s easier than you think to say the alphabet backwards, especially since it fits into the same sing-songy alphabet song you already know.

Go ahead and add these skills to your repertoire, not only for yourself, but for the great amusement of all your friends.

Additional reporting by Lauren Grant.

This article was originally published on November 10, 2017