How to Learn Fast and Smart – Accelerated Learning with Josh Kaufman

Can you become good at something in a matter of hours? I like to think so, and a recent interview made me see how it's possible to learn something in a short time.

Josh Kaufman interview First 20 Hours by Cynthia MorrisI recently had the  pleasure of sitting in on some tapings of Jonathan Fields' Good Life Project TV. During these interviews with entrepreneurs and authors, I captured the conversation on paper.

I'll be sharing them with you as the shows go live. You can watch all episodes of the Good Life Project here.

Some say the interviews are too long. At 40-ish minutes or so, I think they make the perfect accompaniment to household chores. While folding laundry, washing dishes, or shelling peas, I listen in on these interviews that Jonathan hosts.

Some of them have literally changed my life. The Good Life Project show is also available on iTunes.

I can't wait to try the accelerated learning methods of Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours and The Personal MBA. In the interview he explains his method to learn anything in 20 hours.

Some of my favorite concepts:

  • if you practice a motor skill within hours of going to bed at night, you will see improvement the next day.
  • use your willpower to set up more ideal practice conditions. This is the step I use with my clients all the time. I ask: What would make it easier to get to the writing desk? 
  • the barrier to learning isn't intellectual, it's emotional. So true. Frankly, this is why I have a job helping creative people bring their ideas into reality. We are afloat in how-to information, but there's very little support for the emotional ride that creatives experience. This is a big part of how I help writers and artists.

There's a lot more. Capture the gist of it in my illustration, and listen to the Josh Kaufman interview at the Good Life Project.  Better yet, get the book and try it yourself.

I look forward to trying this accelerated learning method with either Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. There are some things I need to learn and I want to do it quickly.

What would you like to learn in 20 hours or less? Tell us in a comment below.


  1. says

    I love this interview – it was equally a game changer for me – especially knowing that the barriers toward movement are EMOTIONAL – WOW!
    I like your idea of learning photoshop this way. I think I’ll try learning InDesign this way and then I can create a lot more of my marketing materials instead of sitting on the sidelines “art directing” and paying someone else.

  2. says

    Glad you liked this, Linda!

    I don’t want to learn Illustrator or Photoshop, but kinda need to in order to do what I want. This way makes it seem more bearable, containing it to a specific period of time.

  3. says

    Thanks, Cynthia for the iTunes link. Wow! There’s a lot there! I like the idea of watching/listening while doing household chores… listening to all of these, I could have a very clean house!!!

  4. says

    THANK YOU for something to listen to while doing drone work!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved the 20 hour interview…and am on to the next one about always finding time to make art (in an older “season”). =D

  5. Diane says

    Very interesting interview. And one of his examples is exactly one of the things I want to learn – how to play the ukulele!!
    Have downloaded First Twenty Hours and plan to start tonight.
    It will be interesting looking through some of the other interviews to see what resonates with me at this time. Thanks for the link.

  6. says

    Such a wealth of inspiration into this post!

    I love the way you collected the nuggets in your very own “wow-packed” visual format for me to read quickly and absorb. (I definitely learn best by drawing/mapping things out that I hear and see, and then connecting the dots)

    Now I can go back and check into all the links you provided and leisurely absorb more goodness.

    Love that I can play the sessions while I’m in the studio – I ‘read’ a lot this way while my hands are busy.

    Diane – Playing the Uke is on my Let’s Learn It list for 2013! Here in Port Townsend there is a huge community of Uke players – they gather at least twice a month for playful ‘jams’ and lessons. It looks like so much fun – that of course, is my motivation! ; )

    Thanks Cynthia for connecting more dots

    Cheers from Yes and Yay

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