Today is the first day of a 50 week challenge in rapid skill acquisition. Over the next 50 weeks I’ll attempt to hit a number of goals in a rapidly short amount of time. Although the goals or timeframe may expand or contract over time the preliminary goals are as follows:

10 million YouTube views by the end of January

1400 elo on by the end of February

B2 Fluency in Spanish, Italian, German by the end of September

The first goal is YouTube views, currently I’m at around 40,000 as of this writing. I’ve been doing YouTube for about a month so it’s not a bad start but if I want to hit my goal of 10 million within the next 3 months I’m going to have to rapidly increase my proficiency at learning. I’m beginning by spending the first 5 weeks studying 5 books on learning which I covered yesterday. Right now I’m reading Ultralearning and these are my notes for today.


First I learned about the principle of “metalearning”. This basically means “learning how to learn” something specific. So not necessarily “learn how to learn” in the general sense, but learning how to learn to edit for example.

You can practice this skill many different ways. For example asking experts what’s important to learn is something Scott recommends. The idea is you spend some time setting a goal, deciding exactly what it is you want to learn. Then creating a map to get there by asking experts, researching yourself, or otherwise learning what facts, concepts, and procedures you need to learn this skill.

For YouTube I’ll need to know which channels in my niche have the most subscribers (fact), which ideas produce the most views (concept), and how to write great scripts (procedure). Given the ultralearning is always unique to the individual, I will make it a priority to gather a large number of facts, turn them into concepts, and then into procedures or SOPs that I can use.

I’m going to do my best to reach out to as many YouTubers as I possibly can to get this information from them, form connections, and make friends. The more smart, enthusiastic, ambitious, hardworking people I surround myself with the easier this project will be.

Once I’ve identified the who, why, what, and how I need to cultivate my focus. In ultralearning Scott talks about different levels of focus. Basically if you’re trying to solve a concrete or procedural problem (like editing a video) it’s best to be highly alert. Lots of coffee, long sprints, very hype. However if you’re trying to solve a more diffuse or uncertain problem (like coming up with a great idea for a video), it’s better to be at a lower level of alertness. More meditation, more quiet, more alone time. I think I’ll probably go to coffee shops to write my scripts, edit at home with coffee, but come up with the ideas/headlines/thumbnails while in a state of deep meditation (often 4-5 hours). This combination is likely to produce better quality videos as well as prevent burnout because I’m switching between different styles of work throughout the week.

The other thing I have to learn is how to stay on task for long periods of time. Right now I sort of default to quitting when a problem gets too difficult. Scott recommends first taking short breaks to close your eyes or move around for a minute before giving up completely. I think genuine interest and curiosity is the true key to real engagement and it’s just a function of me becoming more of a student that will make me more interested in doing the work.

Finally the last thing I learned today was that you can really only learn by doing and by drilling. If I want to learn to make better YouTube videos I need to drill the specific things that make a good YouTube video. Write a 100 headlines, write 100 hooks, make 100 thumbnails, etc. According to the “problem of transference”, knowledge is more domain specific than we really think. It’s hard to transfer even related skills, for example writing advertising headlines to writing YouTube headlines. Just because you’re good at French doesn’t mean you’re good at math (except to the degree that your IQ helps you learn faster). So I need to practice the specific aspects of creating the perfect YouTube video and then drill it as hard as I can for as long as I can.

So far this book has been incredibly valuable and I’ve probably learned more from these two days of study than I did from a lifetime of haphazard learning. I’ve gained a genuine passion and drive for learning which was noticeably absent in my life before this point. It’s only the first (I guess technically second) day but I hope my passion only grows the more my skills are cultivated. See you tomorrow.

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