Rapid Learning

Tim Ferriss has become an expert at learning different things at a rapid rate.  He created this framework while traveling abroad and was able to become fluent in a given language in a matter of weeks.  He has now expanded this to become an expert in many different skills, trades and subjects.  Here are a few of the principles he uses that can help any of us become a more rapid learner:

Start with DSSS

  • Deconstruction: What are minimal learnable units?
  • Selection: Which 20% should I focus on for 80% of the outcome I want?
  • Sequencing: In what order should I learn the blocks?
  • Stakes: How do I set up real consequences to ensure I follow the program?


  • Compression: Can I collapse the most important 20% into a one pager?
  • Frequency: How frequently should I practice, my training schedule.  
  • Encoding: How do I anchor to material I already know for rapid recall. 

Then, create a list of the best people to interview, reach out with a compelling offer and then ask a list of strategic questions such as:

  • Who is good at this that shouldn't be?
  • Who are the most impressive lesser known or unorthodox teachers?
  • What makes you different?
  • Who trained you or influenced you?
  • Have you trained others and have they replicated your results?
  • What are the biggest mistakes and myths that you see?
  • What are the biggest wastes of time?
  • What are your favorite books or instructional tools if someone had to teach themselves?
  • What mistakes do novices make?
  • What mistakes do pros make?
  • What are your key principles for better more consistent performance?
  • What does the progression of training exercises look like?

Tim's final question is the most powerful. "If you were to train me for 4 weeks for a competition and had a million dollars on the line, what would that training look like?"  Adopt these principles and approach rapid learning like you have 4 weeks and a million dollars on the line.  I bet you will surprise yourself. 

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