How To Master Any Skill (real life lessons from Avatar)

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avatar the last airbender is all about the journey of learning new skills from novice to master it’s an animated show so obviously not everything in it is realistic but it’s very well-written and there are lessons you can take from it to help you master almost any skill whether you’re interested in sports languages music or social skills we’ll go over some things avatar gets both right and wrong so that you can learn any skill way faster and avoid some common mistakes that will stall your learning combine this with our other video and you’ll be learning at superhuman speed the first thing to do to master skill faster is find the right teacher for you that’s a great idea I could have never gotten to where I am without master pakku everyone needs a teacher this can be someone who teaches in person but it can also be a video program or even a book but you have to be careful who you learn from not everyone who’s mastered a skill is going to be a good teacher so there are three learning principles you want to follow to make sure you advance as quickly as possible the first thing you want is to make sure that each day builds upon the last if you’re learning random things each day and today’s lesson doesn’t build directly on the last thing you worked on then you’re going to struggle to remember and perfect what you learned before the second thing you want is someone who teaches you based on your current skill level as anglers while earthbending there’s no point in trying to learn something advanced if you don’t have the fundamentals good sounds good in the show learning can seem very linear but in real life it’s more complicated how do you know which part of the basics to focus on and if you’ve got the basics down how do you know what to focus on next the answer is to try the thing you want to master and see what area you find yourself most frequently running into trouble for example let’s say your goal is to have a conversation in a new language many teachers focus on vocab lists haven’t you learned animals colors and how to count to 100 the problem is when you try to have an actual conversation in that new language you’ll find you rarely have to say the phrase 88 purple pigs instead find a teacher that focuses on your most frequent sticking point which is likely how to introduce yourself and ask or answer introductory conversation questions the third thing you a teacher is someone who teaches in a style that matches how you learn for example an wilts under a tough-love approach to teaching then you can at least give the pleasure of smushing you instead of jumping out of the way like a jelly boned wimp do you have what it takes to face that rock like an earthbender I don’t think I do by contrast when his teacher takes Katara’s advice and focuses on positive reinforcement and flourishes reinforcement unfortunately books videos and even most in-person instructors won’t be able to adapt their teaching style to suit your learning style so the best thing you can do is keep track of your progress when you’re learning from a new source what gets measured gets managed so by tracking your progress you can see if you’re actually getting better or if you’re stuck and need to try something new the second key to mastering a skill is setting goals that are a stretch for your abilities but are within your abilities if you regularly set goals outside your abilities you run the risk of getting demoralized and giving up this is exactly what happens to Aang when he moves too fast with firebending that’s firebending and you’ll hurt yourself wonder how that juggler did it I’m never gonna firebend again by contrast if you set goals that stretch your abilities but are achievable you’ll set yourself up for a dopamine rush that makes the learning process feel great this is exactly what they show when Aang to Earthbend for the first time you’ve got stuff but do it [Music] spender I can’t believe it that type of dopamine rush will keep you motivated to learn more one thing worth noting when setting goals make sure success is completely in your control for example if you’re trying to improve at starting conversations with strangers don’t make your goal to make people like you make your goal something like start 3 conversations today with people I don’t already know once you’ve started 3 conversations celebrate it as a win no matter how those conversations go celebrating your wins is one of the best ways to achieve the third key to mastering a skill which is to find a way to make it fun to practice for most of us you’re way more likely to put in the practice to master something if you actually enjoy the process that’s one of Anna’s greatest strengths he loves to learn one of the best ways you can make something fun is to find someone to learn with this gives you someone to motivate you when you’re not feeling inspired to make practice fun and to celebrate your wins with Aang and Katara’s show this dynamic very well at first Aang is naturally more talented than Katara at waterbending which motivates her to practice harder than she was on her own then through dedicated practice Katara surpasses Aang at which point instead of gloating she works with him to help him catch up you make a fine octopus pupil egg so how do you find a friend to learn with first broadcast your existing friend group what you’re interested in learning you may already have a friend who’s quietly interested in the same thing or who becomes interested when they hear you talking about it second if the skill you’re learning puts you around other people with a similar interest start conversations with them for example if you’re surfing start conversations with the other people in the water if you’re playing pick-up basketball talk to the guys on your team after the game third you can look for meetups Facebook groups or forums that are specific to your location you know these people live near you and they already share your interests so now you get to filter for who you eat it off with this way you don’t have to rely on finding your new friend floating in a chunk of ice [Music] now one thing that stands out about Aang that we’ve already touched on is that he’s willing to learn from his friends he doesn’t let his ego get in the way of his learning this is extremely common to struggle with once your average or above average if you desire to have a self-image that you’re already good at something it can blind you to your shortcomings a great way to tell if you’re guilty of this is if you blame your struggles on other people or external circumstances Sokka is particularly guilty of this early on when he loses a fight but you’re always hungry he’s just upset because a bunch of girls kicked his butt yesterday they snuck up on me right and then they kicked your butt but after getting beat a second time he realizes it wasn’t luck and credit to him he puts his ego aside and tries to improve himself instead of making excuses hey Suki hoping for another dance lesson No well let me explain spit it out what do you want I would be honored if you would teach me the parallel and charisma would be making a bunch of bad first impressions and blaming those people instead of looking at yourself this is very common in dating where you’ll often see someone try to approach a stranger to start a conversation have it go poorly and then come back talking trash about the person they just approached if you catch yourself doing this then it’s assigned to step back and reevaluate how you approach people now while the avatar show has a surprising amount of wisdom for a cartoon it does breeze over one aspect of learning a skill which is the length of time it takes to achieve mastery for example here’s Saco on his first day of sword training now here he is sparring the same guy after having greatly improved guess how many days he trained between these two clips if you guess less than one day you’re right unfortunately for us unless you’re an insanely gifted savant that’s not how learning a skill actually works for most skills if you want to improve rapidly you’ll want to practice at least three times a week but that doesn’t mean you need to practice all day every day there are ways you can use your time more intelligently to get the quickest results for the time you put in for example instead of doing one three-hour session a week you could do two one-hour sessions and two 30-minute sessions spread out over four days this spaced out recurring practice schedule will help you master your skills faster katara is the character that most closely resembles what learning is actually like she starts off unable to do much but the regular practice she becomes amazing Katara you have proven that with fierce determination passion and hard work you can accomplish anything if you want to learn more about how to master any skill quickly I highly recommend the art of learning by Josh Waitzkin I first heard of it from Tim Ferriss years ago and it is incredibly helpful if you want to understand how to learn faster and more effectively you can listen to it as an audiobook for free thanks to our sponsor for this video audible all you have to do is go to slash charisma or text charisma to five hundred five hundred and you’ll be able to sign up for an audible trial and get a free audiobook and access to a monthly selection of audible originals personally I use audible whenever I have a new fantasy book I want to listen to it’s a nice way to enjoy time spent doing things like driving or doing chores around the house if you’re in a fantasy I recommend checking out the audio book theft of swords it’s a fun story and a great narrator again you can get that free trial at slash charisma or by texting charisma to five hundred five hundred thanks so much for watching today’s video it was a bit different from the topics we usually cover so I hope you liked it I’ll see you in the next one [Music]



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  1. All the skills I like to learn are very difficult have 1000000s of different avenues to learn and master and have very abstract results. Not like a math problem where you learn how to do math and boom you can solve the same equation over and over again. I like creating things like games or contraptions and competitive games and writing/singing/rapping. I wanna get better but it's difficult to even know if I did something right which stunts the learning process. If I do something right I can still fail miserably and think I made a bad choice. Or do something wrong and think I made a good choice. Just wanna know how to really make the most of all my time spent practicing my favorite skills.

  2. Fantastic vid! Love the usage of Avatar. I'd be curious to hear a deeper take on personality affecting learning. In particular with this show. Azula was amazing throughout the series. Skills wise she was second to none. Did her seemingly emotionless demeanor aid her skill development? I'm curious. She never appeared vulnerable until the episode when she spoke of her mother.

  3. that episode where aang controls his chakra changed my life…i was going through such a hard time and that episode helped me get grounded…it was pretty profound haha!

  4. I dont like the fact you said Toph wasnt a good teacher. She was a great earthbending teacher the issue was Aang and his inability to adapt to earth bending and not Tophs teaching ability.

  5. I wanna be confident and bold and I'm sure that charisma on command is the right tool for me… If you could analyze Avatar Korra attitude that would be awesome!
    Thanks for the avatar method video… Fantastic!

  6. I found my best method which is also the hardest, just do it once.
    Often I don't even start with things i've already started with, but once I start doing it just for nothing then I immediately just keep going.
    and i'm best when I don't try. If I try then I set expectations, and that gives me too many thoughts and I overwork myself without actually doing any work.

  7. The school system needs to watch this. I know school can’t be perfect e.g. schools are underfunded, classes of 30 make it hard to focus on individuals, etc. However, I think school should be improved. Children should enjoy learning and want to learn more.