I’ve been a big fan of Tim Ferriss for years, and have been particularly interested in understanding his learning style so I can apply it to my own life. When I try to apply the 80/20 principle to a skill I am trying to learn, I typically spend hours attempting to identify the fundamentals before I even get started. This is extremely difficult, because as an outsider you really have no way of knowing what efforts will lead to the greatest returns. Experts might not provide the best guidance either, as it’s difficult to remember what it feels like to be a beginner. In the Rock ’n’ Roll Drums episode I was surprised how late in the learning process Tim applies the 80/20 principle. First he tries just about everything, then after identifying what’s working, he decides which 20 percent of his actions are yielding 80 percent of his results. After that, his practice is simple, efficient, and he improves rapidly.
My big takeaway from this episode is that I should get started faster when learning something new. My learning process should involve more experimentation before I perform my analysis. Next time, I’m going to try a wide variety of approaches before I decide what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully this accelerates my learning process.
I’ll post an update below once I get a chance to give this a quick test: