Pick One Skill and Own It: A Guide to Mastery
Today's Editor's Picks
You’ve probably heard the notion of “It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill”; this has been going on a while and it turns out to be false.
Scientists have already debunked the 10,000 hour rule because we are all simply different at how we learn and how quickly we can grasp the topic.
I wanted to open this post with that because far too many people are afraid to start learning a new skill because they have this idea that it takes roughly 416 days of non-stop practice to reach mastery. Now realistically you know it takes years (and even decades) depending on your schedule.
We make ourselves believe we can’t learn:
- I’m too old to understand
- I’m too busy for that
- I don’t know where to start
- I’m comfortable where I’m at
Today I want you to be fearless. I want you to pick one skill that has been on your mind and make a commitment. Be ready to own it.
Since the site is about Affiliate Marketing let’s use that as an example.
What would you rather do?
- Begin applying a variety of traffic generation techniques (SEO, Social, Advertising, Etc) which forces you to condense a wide field of knowledge, pick and choose what you think you can do, apply it, and hope that it sticks before moving down the list.
- Do your research as to how the best individuals, businesses, and companies in your niche generate traffic and commit everything you have to learn everything about the techniques, strategies, resources, tools, and the like.
A broad stroke at traffic (as per example) does allow you to test the waters and see what fits; it also prevents large drops in traffic by relying on just one technique (eggs in the basket scenario). But like anything we are trying to multitask our efforts and resources which, as you may or may not know, isn’t possible because we just aren’t good at it.
Now for someone to be focused and own it means they are operating at peak performance. They understand exactly what works, what doesn’t, changes to expect, trends, best practices, and their commitment gives them access to other higher-level professionals in that topic.
Mastering a Skill
Let’s continue with our topic of Affiliate Marketing and traffic generation (though feel free to apply any industry and skill as you see fit).
Since we already know that it doesn’t truly take 10,000 hours to master a skill (basically brute forcing your way through it) I bet you’re wondering how then to do it without the fear that you’re sinking too much time into something that may not stick.
Here is what I propose:
- The first, and most crucial, part of learning is to be specific with what you want to learn and to understand the overall outcome of your efforts.
- The second is to break down the big picture so it’s not about learning the entire skill as it is more about learning the individual parts to the whole.
- The third is find the legitimate, professional resources needed to learn just that one segment of the entire skill and set that as your sole focus for the time being.
- The fourth is to set concrete times for when you will commit to learning.
- The fifth is always do something that moves you forward even if it’s just a few minutes a day because learning (and change) is a long process.
- The sixth is to get out there and apply those skills even if you don’t completely understand them so you can gain real-world feedback (including feedback from peers and professionals).
- The seventh is to lock down what you have learned within this compartmentalized area of the overall skill and begin on the next.
- The eight is to build your momentum by repeating #5 – #7 until you’re beginning to understand the skill as a whole concept.
- The ninth is to bring in professional, high-end individuals into your network, challenge them, learn from them, and compete with their position to push you to the limits.
- The tenth is take a leap and put this new skill into practice that allows for great rewards but has very dangerous consequences thus destroying your fear.
If we were to apply this to our traffic generation example it may go something like this:
Jack has a website but traffic seems to trickle in. Knowing he needs traffic to sell the products on his website he decides that Search Engine Optimization will be his main topic but when digging deeper he lands on the sub-skill of web design best practices. The best practices lay a foundation for great SEO so Jack finds the best resources he can on the topic of web design and development.
He sets a plan where he will commit two hours each night going through tutorials, joining discussions, and studying. As he becomes comfortable with the topic he begins building sites of his own and helps others gaining real-world experience. Once he understands the best practices he decides to wander into User Experience which helps people use the site and keeps them on it longer (giving the site an ample boost in recognition and some elements of SEO).
He repeats the process of finding resources, practicing, and putting it out there. Within time he now understands the core concepts behinds what search engines look for on a fundamental level and because his knowledge he begins networking with other professionals that understand higher concepts (and are willing to teach).
Jack, after much effort, finally feels comfortable with his knowledge and applies it to his website. The traffic climbs because he has built a solid foundation, acquired complimentary skills that work as a whole, and gain a network that will continue to support his efforts.
This is just an example but I made it to show you that it takes real commitment if you want to master a skill – but it certainly doesn’t take you 10,000 hours.
So what now?
You’re interest in Affiliate Marketing (or are already doing it). What skills do you want to learn that will raise your bottom line?
Think of that upper-level skill that would be the best investment for your work and break it down into something manageable for the time being. Learn a little as you go as if it were building blocks. Over time you’ll master that skill and when you do the income you can earn from Affiliate Marketing will soar.
Image by condesign