The speed at which you learn anything new is linked to your amount of connected skills and your level in each one of them.
The Web of Connected Skills and the 7 phases leading to the Threshold and closely connected. When used correctly, connected skills will allow you to skip the early phases and learn new skills in record time.
I held back on learning how to Kitesurf for a long time.
I had a feeling I’d really like it, and I knew that I could learn fast since my Web of Connected Skills was huge.
I held back because I wanted to make sure that I could make it through the 7 phases and cross the Threshold in one go.
The problem with Kitesurfing is that unless you live in paradise, you can’t really choose to practice for an hour a day after work.
If you want to do it right, you need consistent wind, flat water, good gear, and a great team to help you out with security and coaching.
So after a few years of waiting, the elements did align, and a friend convinced me to set a date for us to spend two weeks Kitesurfing in Egypt.
In the weeks preceding our trip, I made a commitment to myself to cross the Threshold before coming home. I didn’t know when I’d be able to Kitesurf again, and I wanted that skill for life.
So I took a pen and paper and wrote down all of the skills connected to Kitesurfing that I could think of (my Web of Connected Skills).
I had a good level in most, but I knew nothing about kites:
I wasn’t going to wait idly counting the days leading up to our trip. I knew that my lack of experience with kites could hinder my ability to cross the Threshold.
Instead, I did a bit of research, bought a small training kite on Amazon, and started to watch “how to fly a kite videos” on Youtube.
Whenever I could, I’d drive out of Paris and practice flying my kite.
The wind was often very weak and irregular near the city, and I had no idea what I was doing, but session after session, I could sense that I was getting a better feel for how the kite responded in all kinds of conditions.
The wind was so weak that I often had to run backward just to keep the kite up. I had to find ways of getting my kite out of trees more times than I like to remember and I drove home covered in mud more than once, but my persistence paid off.
I managed to boost “Kite Manipulation” enough to balance out my already strong Web of Skills.
On day-one in Ras-Sudr, we had our first practice run with a “real” kite. It took me 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the power and feel of this wing which was ten times the size of mine, but luckily my skills transferred quickly.
Two days later, I was kitesurfing.
My teacher confided in me that he’d only once in his career seen someone progress as fast as I did.
Now you know one of my secrets: I showed up with a very strong and well-balanced Web of Connected Skills.
(By the way, that other guy my teacher mentioned – who learned how to kitesurf incredibly fast – he was a professional wakeboarder. I can only imagine what his Web of Skills must have looked like!)
I’d like to leave you with something to actively think about:
Considering your current web of skills, what activity would you be able to learn the fastest if you were to start tomorrow?
P.S. Here’s another article about my Kitesurfing experience in Egypt that I think you might like: How a Slight Change in Mindset Accelerated My Learning Forever. (Published in a Sports Illustrated publication on Medium)