This is unlike ultralearning, which seems to suggest doing more work. Josh Kaufman’s approach also uses rapid skill acquisition but encourages lesser time investment through the following steps:

  1. Break down your learning project or skill into smaller projects or parts.
  2. Identify which of those parts are most relevant and important to you.
  3. Learn enough about these most relevant parts to be able to practice them and self-correct yourself.
  4. Remove physical, mental, and emotional barriers to practice.
  5. Use Deliberate practice to learn the most relevant parts for at least 20 hours or until you have achieved your target level of performance.

This process is obviously inspired by the Three-stage model of skill acquisition. I find this very compelling, given the nature of my monthly schedule. I want to be able to achieve learning goals within my free 26 days every month.


Kaufman, J. (2013). The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast! Portfolio.

World-class mastery may take ten thousand hours of focused effort, but developing the capacity to perform well enough for your own purposes usually requires far less of an investment.

Deliberate practice is the core of skill acquisition. The question is how much deliberate practice is required to reach your goal. Usually, it’s much less than you think.

We’re going to tackle the steep part of the learning curve and ascend it as quickly as possible.

We’re going to start with twenty hours of concentrated, intelligent, focused effort. We’re shooting for the results we value with a fraction of the effort.

knowing what you’re getting into, learning the fundamentals, practicing intelligently, and developing a practice routine, you’ll make progress more quickly and consistently, and you’ll achieve expert status in record time.

Rapid skill acquisition is a process—a way of breaking down the skill you’re trying to acquire into the smallest possible parts, identifying which of those parts are most important, then deliberately practicing those elements first.

Four major steps of rapid skill acquisition:

  1. Deconstructing a skill into the smallest possible subskills
  2. Learning enough about each subskill to be able to practice intelligently and self-correct during practice
  3. Removing physical, mental, and emotional barriers that get in the way of practice
  4. Practicing the most important subskills for at least twenty hours