This week, I want to investigate how to learn a new skill by practicing the four key virtues of persistence, zeal, patience, and fortitude.
Learning A New Skill
It’s simple: learning a new skill requires time, energy, and effort. As I explored in my incremental change blog post, if we want to do something worthwhile, we have to put in the work.
We cannot learn a language in a weekend or play the guitar adroitly within an afternoon. We need time to learn a skill, so we can make improvements as well as reflect on our progress.
The exercising of one’s mind requires energy. Our brain is a muscle and learning a skill is a significant workout. Building willpower, learning time management, and mastering emotional control are crucial to learning a skill. All of these activities require mental energy.
Lastly, giving an effort is crucial. We have to be persistent and have a zeal for what we’re hoping to accomplish. Without effort, we’ll never improve, and we’ll quickly see our skill growth stagnant.
The primary virtues involved in skill growth are persistence, zeal, patience, and fortitude. Our adherence to these four virtues will ensure we utilize our time, energy, and effort to their maximum capacities. With these tools at our grasp, we can do the hard, laborious work necessary to grasp new concepts and excel at our chosen skill.
Persistence is the art of going forward no matter what. Without persistence, we lack the energy necessary to move onward in our daily lives.
Persistence is motivation, and we have to stay motivated to study a craft. Learning a skill is tiresome, involved, and draining. However, we have to keep our feet moving and our eye on the prize. With persistence, we can push through our doubts and faults to reach our end goal of mastering a skill.
In order to build persistence, I suggest setting goals you’ll accomplish each day. For example, I aim to draw for an hour every day. By sticking to this daily goal, I remain consistent as I pursue the mastery of drawing.
Zeal is akin to passion. Without passion, we fail to fuel our desires and wants. When we are passionate about learning a craft, we are inspired to study even when we’re unmotivated or tired.
Persistence is the forward movement while zeal is the fuel. Without a deep understanding and appreciation of “why” we want to learn a skill, we won’t be able to stay the course.
For example, I want to study art so I can tell stories which inspire individuals. There have been multiple times I’ve had to deprioritize drawing or moments when I’ve hit a wall with my art skill. However, I have a zeal for art because I understand that learning to draw is crucial for accomplishing one of my life goals. This understanding enables me to return to my drawing with the same drive I had when I left.
If we want to master a skill for superficial reasons, say to impress a girl, then we’ll lose love for what we’re doing. A number of events could undermine our passion such as the girl moving to another town.
Zeal allows us to be self-going. Understanding your legacy and life goals can help you remain passionate about the skill you wish to learn.
Patience is the art of staying emotionally stable in trying and difficult times. To remain patient is to refuse to exert any extra energy being frustrated or disappointed by things outside of your control.
You know what is outside of our control? The reality that it takes time to learn a skill. To deeply ingrain ourselves in a subject, we must fully love and understand it. This process takes time. No matter how zealous we are for a topic, our passion will not speed up the time required to learn, correct mistakes, and consistently create better works.
If we want to be a mechanic, for example, we have to spend time each day remembering the different parts of the car. We need time to understand the best ways to resolve various issues. We need time to build a support network of individuals as passionate as we are. We need time to reflect on difficult topics so we can provide effective and safe solutions that produce long-term benefits.
When we’re patient, we recognize these realities. We realize that mastering a craft requires time and we cannot rush anything. Don’t jump ahead in the pursuit of knowledge. Take the time to sit, reflect, and learn.
Fortitude is our ability to withstand distractions, negativity, and different outside and internal roadblocks.
Learning a trade is arduous, and it is infinitely more fun to play video games or watch YouTube videos. However, with a strong fortitude, we can overcome our want to be distracted and instead focus on mastering our craft.
Fortitude is essentially “focus.” Persistence moves us forward. Zeal is the fuel the keeps passionate about our task. Patience helps us remain calm during the rough roads and long travel. Fortitude ensures we stay on the road and not stop at every gas station or town to go sightseeing.
Build fortitude by building willpower. Additionally, do not expend energy on emotional trite. Remain focused on the task at hand, so your efforts and energy are helping you learn the skill you wish to master.
Learning a skill requires time, energy, and effort. By being persistent, we stay motivated to complete our tasks. With zeal, we develop a deep understanding of “why” – this understanding keeps us passionate for what we’re doing so we don’t burn out at the first sign of difficulty. Patience allows us to be understanding with our mistakes as well as emotionally stable during rough patches of learning. Lastly, fortitude keeps us focused on the tasks at hand, so we spend more energy learning our chosen skill and less time regretting how many cat videos we’ve watched.
Learning a skill is difficult. However, an individual should develop knowledge as well as a diverse set of skills. Skilled individuals are freer from the arbitrary nature of the world, proud of their personal achievements, and capable of serving their virtuous and chosen communities.
So take up the gauntlet and chose a skill you wish to learn. Master it and live the life of a competent, capable human being.
- What’s a skill that you’ve always wanted to learn? What would it take to learn that skill?
- Are you fired up to learn this skill? Do you understand the “why” behind your passion?
- What’s a talent you’ve mastered over time or have invested in heavily? What did it take for you to learn that talent?
- When learning a new skill, what worries you about the process?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.