On this blog I talk about Speed Learning a lot, and with good reason. I don’t not subscribe to the old way of learning that requires suffering, struggle and hardship on the road to being mediocre at something. Tim Ferris is a big advocate of “speed learning” or meta learning which simply means that the individual is learning faster than the accepted norm for that skill set or subject.
I am a contrarian at heart so since I was young the idea of proving people wrong ran deep in my blood. I learned at a very young age that people will go to very far lengths to defend a “truth” or belief that they hold about something. The amount of time it should take someone to go from brand new to “professional” is very heavily guarded with most.
The purpose of posts like this is to poke at the beliefs you may currently hold and offer another example of a different path to the same outcome- competency!
Most people flat out don’t fulfill their dreams, I want to talk about how I not only fulfilled a dream of mine that I held since I was a teenager but also how I stomped a big fear in the process.
Its truly amazing what the mind can achieve when we put our focus on just one thing, and with a little mental trickery we can really speed up the learning process to get a compound like effect going.
So I had this dream of being a badass that would pull up to street lights, bars and really anywhere on a sportbike, women would throw themselves at me and men would want to be me but at the same time I was absolutely terrified of actually riding a bike.
After all you’re so naked on a bike, no protection and only 2 wheels it felt a lot like walking around your house naked with the blinds open, when you live on the first floor in a busy neighborhood.
I knew that eventually I would in fact slay this BIG fear but I kept putting it off time and time again which created this big pit of resistance, where just the thought of doing it would make me physically sick to my stomach.
That is until finally in 2015 it all changed…
The Fast Version Of My Sport bike Journey!
I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for the first time in late 2015, it was during that time that I actually had to start the process of learning how to ride a bike. See in Bali, it’s pretty much scooters and clutched bikes or you are literally wasting ¼ or more of your day getting around. I wasn’t into that so I got a scooter.
That quickly got boring and confidence rose so I took on the next challenge of riding a dirt bike, of which I had a whopping 20hrs or so of experience in my whole life up till that point. I just jumped on the bike and acted/believed I had been riding since I was a kid and what do you know, everyone thought I had been riding for years but more importantly I rode the bike like that!
Then I left bali in early 2016 back to America and stopped riding for almost another year, but the itch was still there. As great as it felt to ride the dirt bike, it still wasn’t a sportbike!
Finally in early 2017, I returned to Bali and I knew it was time to step up and jump on a big boy bike so I linked up with the right guy quite quickly who got me a black 250cc Ninja the very next day.
I simply applied the same techniques and process that worked for the scooter and dirtbike, when I got the Ninja and what do you know… It worked like magic!
I will never forget that first time, as I sat on the bike, gripping the handlebars, revving the throttle- I fell in love that day!
Also I don’t care what some may say, there is a HUGE difference from what I felt on that Ninja vs riding a dirt bike, there is definitely a little learning curve with how the bike handles and maneuvers.
Something I love about riding on a sportbike is how fast I got into FLOW, it seemed almost instantly! This is largely due to the speed you can go on a bike like that, it requires an intense focus.
Bobbing and weaving between traffic at such high speeds is one of the most freeing experiences I have ever had, it almost trumps skydiving in my books.
Now I could’ve done this whole A-Z learning process in one go but I didn’t so this being a longer and more drawn out process is the reason I don’t really use this as a staple case study in the Genius training program I do, it’s merely a smaller reference because it’s a great story of what we can achieve with the right mindset.
My Speed Learning Process!
The first thing that I want to mention in the speed learning process is in fact a step, I feel like without this you’re truly fighting an uphill battle. When we embark on anything new, the outcome we get can almost completely be linked to how we feel about it- our mindset affects everything. For me, I was passionately driven to learn to ride and when I was tossed in a situation where I kind of “had to” it drove me even more to pick this up fast.
That sort of ‘tossed into the deep end’ I prefer to the slow and dabble technique many use!
It’s more than that though, you have to fall in love with what you’re about to learn even if you absolutely hate it, you must root it to a future based desire and find things you do love about it.
For me I rooted riding a sportbike with my identity, afterall I am totally that type of guy who rolls up on a sport bike ready to get into some trouble. At first this vision was cloudy and foggy, but I kept running off on these little day dreams every time it would pop up in my brain. This intensified when I actually started riding a scooter, dirt bike and then finally sportbike.
Next, break down the macro into the micro!
Ok so fall in love with it, let that natural passion and excitement run wild with it- CHECK!
Next, need to setup small goals on the road to the big goal!
I had the overall goal of being really proficient at riding a sportbike to where when I pulled up you just knew that I had been riding for years but also be able to perform in the crazy streets of Bali.
If you look at the levels and way I broke this down its near perfect, the speed at which I went through each level was entirely up to me- I could’ve learned and went through all this in a matter of days but instead for me it lasted over a year.
Here it is…
Drive scooter around small neighborhood where speeds are lower and easier to learn till I became proficient at the basic mechanics like throttle and braking without looking down as well as a general okness level with the madness that happens on the streets of Bali with the dogs, cats, people, other bikes, cars and trucks all on smaller roads (which this is just opening up more awareness which I feel doesn’t have to be learned per se’).
Next, take the scooter out onto the bigger roads with higher speed limits at a time when traffic isn’t insane. At this phase the sheer distance I was going would be increased more and more each time, till I was taking hour long rides.
Finally take the scooter out onto the bigger roads at anytime of day, high traffic or not and again increase the distance and duration of the drive.
This simple breakdown into the micro is exactly what I did with the dirtbike and then finally the Ninja. It’s important to note that I celebrated a micro victory in my head every time I completed one of these rides and again at the end of the day- just a quick mental high five. Most people will absolutely skip this simple step whereas I feel it’s vitally important.
Your ability to stay committed to a longer term goal is partially based off the results you’re able to see in front of you on a regular basis.
If you want to learn something fast leveraging the micro in not only the goals side but also in your training will have a compounding effect.
Breaking down the training sessions into the micro I feel is another thing most people miss in the speed learning process. Go train, take a break and walk away not thinking about it at all, then come back again to it. I wouldn’t ride for more than 90 minutes at a time because I know that ideal training windows range from 25-90 minutes (sport/skill does make a difference here).
Pre-shot routines & Feedback.
The next vitally important part of this speed learning process is to mentally rehearse before you actually do it and then gather feedback after and asses how to move forward.
This can be really easy so don’t let that scare you off, we aren’t wearing lab coats and yielding clip boards here…
I would simply get myself into a feel good state by remembering a great memory before I got on the bike and then quickly as I sat there about to take off, I would picture the ride going perfectly and how great I would feel after I touched down at my final destination.
Again I kinda sucked at it at first because it was pretty foggy but with consistency I got better at it!
Then once I was done riding I would quickly look back over my ride in my mind and spot the big mistakes I made that almost led to an accident, quickly accepted I did that, made a new picture of me handling that situation perfectly and then moved on. I didn’t let my mind linger on anything, like an athlete who makes a mistake in the ‘BIG game’ I would have a short term memory towards that and keep moving.
When it comes to learning something new, I think the biggest roadblocks are the internal ones that people have. We tend to be hypercritical of ourselves which doesn’t lead to confidence or good feelings, it leads to accidents and half assed effort.
Think of it this way, you don’t think of getting in an accident every time you get in the car do you?
When taking on something new, always go over the top with your positive mental imagery and dialog to ensure yourself the best chance of success.
I am one that tends to operate in a feedback vs failure frame anyway so this benefits me greatly when it comes to learning something new.
Here is a video I put together after helping my friend Jubril Agoro run through the same steps that I just outlined and used myself to learn how to ride a ninja super fast!
Jubril went from never riding a clutched bike to competent on the ninja in a matter of days! I am telling you now, there is something to this speed learning stuff
Over the last few years my viewpoint on learning new skills has shifted yet again as I keep seeing proof and evidence all around me of just how easy learning even a complex skill can be, I don’t believe it has to be ‘hard’ and involve a ton of suffering only to suck a little less after a long period of time.
As with anything you’re in direct control of YOU, your inner dialog, your state and how you feel about what you’re doing- make it count!
The better you feel about something usually affects the outcome of it! Whether you want to speed learn on a clutched bike to look cool or take on a new career there are specific things you can do that trigger a positive result faster, what I outline in this post is the foundation to that.
I wrote this post because I really want you to take this and apply it to your own efforts and see how it works out for you. That is the main point I share all that I do, is to share the things I have learned that can help others better optimize and tap into more of their potential. Finally I wrote this because I accomplished what I call a “Challenge goal” earlier this year in 2017 when I took a Ninja all over the island of Bali!