Since it’s just you and me here, I’ll admit a secret: I really hate being terrible at something.
When I try to pick-up a new skill, I take a look around at people that have been doing that “thing” for years, and I immediately want to be on their level. I want the instant gratification of being excellent instead of slogging through years of being terrible.
Here we are at the end of three months of full immersion and guess what? I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be.
Genius is the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person.
― Immanuel Kant
We’re born as self-learners. As children, we rely heavily on our ability to learn from our surroundings and the actions of others. As adults, however, it’s easier to pass the buck onto others and ask for help rather than to spend the frustrating hours, days, or weeks learning ourselves. Our innate ability to learn and adapt becomes dull.
When I posted my “Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer” post, I had quite a few friends reach out asking how they could score the same type of job. Many of these individuals came from a completely non-technical background so landing a job in the tech industry seemed like a long shot. They didn’t have experience in tech, and it didn’t seem like something you could just “pick up.”
That, of course, isn’t true.
Regardless of your background, it’s completely possible to learn a new career field. Hell, it’s possible to learn anything. Perhaps more importantly, it’s possible without going back to school. Heading back to formal education is a knee-jerk reaction and isn’t necessary unless your intended career field has some sort of required credentials.
If formal education isn’t necessary, what exactly is the secret sauce to self-learning? Here are five keys I’ve put into practice myself.