Sometimes we get the strangest things in our heads; silly ideas out of which no one can talk us. These ideas can take many forms, from Columbus deciding he could find a quick way to India by going west rather than east or Ben Franklin wondering how to harness lightning.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how we can suddenly yearn to learn a skill. Many boys, for example, dream of becoming martial arts masters after watching an action movie, while others want to become accomplished yogis.
Either way, these dreams fade with time, only to be resurrected when people are in a maudlin mood.
Not so, however, with Karen Cheng from San Francisco. In her case, a 2012 Coca Cola commercial inspired her. In the commercial, a dancer performs a version of the “robot,” a move from the 80s, adapted to modern times.
Cheng had always wanted to become an accomplished dancer, but had never gotten around to doing so. She decided to make this her goal, to become someone who could dance within a year, and started immediately putting her plan into action.
It should be mentioned that this is not the first time Cheng set out to master a skill in a single-minded manner. In high school, for example, she saw the “cool” boys spin their notebooks on their fingers. She, too, wanted to achieve this awesome effect and practiced it every day until she could do it as well.
The same goes for playing the guitar; she practiced every day for several minutes, stuck with it and became a decent guitarist within a few years.
Her approach of practicing a little every day, coupled with a dogged determinedness to get it done, has served her well outside of hobby projects, too. While working as a program manager for Microsoft, she slowly became a little bored of her job, as we all do from time to time.
Unlike most of us, though, she decided to do something about it and it came upon her that perhaps becoming a UI designer would be better suited to her. So she started to learn the design trade, not by going to school, as it would be too great a drain on her time and resources, but by rushing home from her day job every day, sitting herself down in front of her computer and doing the work.
After six months, she was able to do a good job, and a few months after this regimen she was so good at UI design that she was headhunted away from Microsoft to a small local startup.
Her approach is definitely a winner, and it proved itself once again in learning to dance. According to Cheng, she danced everywhere and at every opportunity, making sure she never missed a day and logging her progress in a journal. Her slightly obsessed journey she documented on camera and put on her website for all to enjoy, but also as an inspiration for others.
She figures that many people are unhappy with their lives because they have not realized their dreams, and she hopes in this way to inspire those people and show them it can be done as long as effort is made over an extended time.
In a last note, Cheng’s endeavor to learn to dance has worked out in another way. After all the positive feedback she received on her video, she decided to start a new website: www.giveit100.com.
On this site, people try a new skill, it could be anything, and try hard at it for 100 days and videotape it. After that period, they upload the video and show how progress has been made. The site has been an astounding success, and so far has inspired a paraplegic woman to learn to walk again beside the more standard fare of learning musical instruments.
So, how about you? Is there a skill you could consider yourself trying out for Give It 100 fame? Why not learn how to dance in a year, or whatever else you desire. You can do anything. You just need to follow Karen Cheng’s approach of single-minded, determined winning approach to succeed!
Pick your dance move, practice every day, journal your progress and see that yes! You can dance!