Learn to dance – or do anything for that matter – fast! By adjusting old ways of thinking, implementing productive behaviors, changing bad habits that do not serve you and redefining yourself into the person you want to be, you can learn to dance quickly.
In this article, I challenge you to take a different approach to learning. Many of us believe it takes years and years to learn new skills. While it may take that long to master a topic, it certainly doesn’t have to take that long to get an in-depth, working knowledge that can serve you. With the learning techniques below, you can learn any new skill in a short amount of time. Keep in mind, even though we are focusing on learning Salsa dancing here, you can take these learning approaches and apply them to anything you want to learn, from Salsa dancing to learning a new language to playing the guitar.
The first essential element is CLARITY. Be clear about what you want from this endeavor. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want at first, at least have an idea in mind of what you want to take away from any dance class you attend. Perhaps you want to learn arm styling. Maybe you want to become a better leader. Half the battle is having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Once you have clarity, you can easily map the way to success.
Action Item: Scribble down one or two sentences on what you most want to learn from your efforts. (i.e. I want to lose 10 lbs. from dancing within the next 3 months).
Become a SPONGE. Use focused energy to soak up as much knowledge as you can from class or your other learning efforts. Whenever you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask for feedback that you are on the right track in your understanding. Ask your questions to the instructor or someone that has more knowledge that you do to ensure that you are getting accurate information and not wasting your time with irrelevant information. Don’t ask another student who is at the same skill level you are at. Be fully engaged and present in the moment and take in as much as you can from the experience.
Your Second Action Step: Before going to class, take some deep breaths. This will help calm your body and mind. Then remind yourself to relax and enjoy the experience. Feeling at ease enhances your ability to receive and retain information.
MENTAL ACTIVATION is the next important element. If you don’t activate the information you have learned, you will eventually forget it. Review mentally what you have learned so far. Take notes immediately after class and review those notes a couple times throughout the day. Then give yourself a few minutes to think through the information. Visualize yourself executing the moves correctly and hold that picture of yourself in your mind.
Action Item: On a piece of paper, quickly jot down a few notes after class or after you learn something new. The mind is quick to forget. So force yourself to remember. Then on a daily basis, review your notes a few times and take just a few seconds to think through them. See how you can apply the material you learned to other things. For instance, you learned to resist your leader with pressure from your fingertips. Take this concept and see how it can apply to more moves and steps.
MAKE IT EASY TO SUCCEED is the final step. Often times, when we fail at something it’s because we are making it hard to succeed. We are human beings who like to complicate things for some strange reason. This is backwards. If you aren’t having fun doing something, what’s the point of doing it? Whenever you embark upon a new skill, make it easy for yourself to learn by finding a way to make it fun. If you stress out about how you look when you’re dancing or about doing a move wrong, then you are creating putting a lot of pressure and tension on yourself that will make you feel like a failure and stress you out. This does absolutely NOTHING to help your accelerated learning in any way, shape or form. The beauty is that you have control over your experience, so you can change it if you find that your thoughts do not serve you in learning at your highest potential.
Your Final Action Step: Look for ways to enjoy what you’re learning. I like to impose random challenges upon myself, so I will tell a friend that I will demonstrate “x” number of moves to him or her by the end of the week. This challenges me to make sure I learn these new moves and practice them enough to comfortably show them to my friend. It makes learning fun and challenging for me. Explore ways that you can make learning more fun and exciting for you.