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zauberware Hackathon: Mission42 - The Result (Part 3/3)

Mission42: Impress yourself, impress the world. Discover and learn new skills in 42 days.


If you read Part 1 of this article series you may remember the 4 points we identified as some of the most important factors when you want to learn a new skill:

A) Be consistent in your routine and try to learn your skill daily to build a habit to enforce your new skills.

B) Make it meaningful, so choose something that really interests you . 

C) Learn your skill by actually doing something. Ideally by trial and error and start applying what you've learned.

D) Reflect on yourself and your progress towards your goal

The product should reflect those points and try to serve your needs. We will have to find out in the upcoming weeks and months, if what we build actually does serve the needs of people trying to learn a new skill - but that is a whole new chapter.


Following the KISS principle we wanted to keep it simple. That meant keeping unnecessary (stupid) complexity out. This is why we decided to make the basis of this app a simple timer which will run for 24 Minutes to track your daily progress towards your goal. To underline this daily routine and create some sort of urgency we call this session “daily” (Coming from a SCRUM background, that seemed like an easy and obvious choice).

Mission42 Timer
Start your Daily

To stay consistent and committed towards your goal we give you three “lives”. That means, you can fail to complete your daily session 2 times before your mission fails and you have to start from the beginning.

The reward for your commitment and endurance to train your new found skill for 42 days will be an exclusive t-shirt, but the much greater reward is, of course, your own feeling of accomplishment and in the best case a newly mastered skill.

We chose the 42 days * 24 minutes because 42 day is a manageable time frame that does not feel intimidating and easy to commit to. We also checked it very thoroughly, and we are quite sure that 42 is definitely the answer.

“Of course i can do something 42 days in a row for 24 minutes”

And the 24 minutes is something everybody should be able to put inside their daily routine - no matter what. The 24 minutes are also a small nod to the pomodoro technique, where you work 25 minutes of hyper-focus, before taking a short 5 minute break.
All in all this will result in roughly 17 hours of deliberate practice time for your new skill which should be enough to get the basics down and probably be better than most other people. The first few hours you will probably suck, but after the 5-6 hour mark you will already see exciting things happen.

Some skills will be easier to learn, some will be harder. In the end it is up to you to decide when you will be happy with the results. You should set yourself some sort of target performance level. You don't have to be the next Michael Jordan or Leonardo DaVinci. Define what you want to achieve and persist until you reach that goal (or at least until the 42 days are over). 😉 


Everybody knows this, when we are learning something, or are supposed to learn something you will probably only remember the things that had actual relevance and meaning to you. Something that you can connect and apply to your own circumstances and experiences. Remember all those times you tried to memorise formulae without understanding their relevance? What not everybody knows, but believes is that you have some kind of learning style like that there are visual, auditory or kinestetic learners. But that is not the case. What matters is the meaning you get from experiences by incorporating multiple sensory experiences into one lesson, makes it more meaningful. (Source)

That is why you should choose some skill that you will actually want to pursue out of self driven interest. Something that will propel you in your current state in life and creates a progress towards a more positive direction.

Make it Meaningful
Make the skills you learn meaningful to you

We selected and curated 42 different skills to choose from. This will give you some diversity and hopefully something meaningful for you and your life.

One idea in our backlog is to accept new skill ideas and let people vote on them in the long run, to keep the skills fresh and relevant for everyone.


Learning by doing” - everybody heard this one. So have we. I am personally a strong believer and practitioner of this mantra. We as a species are “natural learners” we learn best if we perform the skill we want to learn.

Let's say you’re trying to learn to play the guitar. Don’t invest all your time in learning the musical jargon and theory of string pulling — dive in as soon as you can to master the skill through trial and error. Start to play. Learn a few notes. Find out for yourself what works and what doesn’t. The more you do it, the more you learn.

Reading about your interest isn’t enough. Skills require practice, and practice requires effort. No practice, no skill acquisition.

That is why we tried to pick skills that will actually involve actual practice and effort to learn. Like juggling, solving a Rubik's cube, playing the guitar or learning to draw. All of those skills require a rather low initial investment and you can actually start and practice them right away.
To get you started, we took the liberty of handling that first “googling” for you and tried to provide you with the best resources we could find. If you think your awesome guide, website or app provides some better insights for all the learners out there, feel free to send me an e-mail.


Self-reflection is critical for improving the way that we learn. (Source) When we include self-reflection, we can actually think about the work we’ve done. This is a great way to grow and improve through self-teaching. The most effective learning happens when learners produce their own knowledge instead of passively absorbing facts.

Reflect on yourself
Reflect on your learning progress.

Self-reflection and journaling go hand in hand. That's why we build the daily notes, so that you can reflect on your current progress, which should improve information retention. We want to get you into the habit of linking and constructing meaning from your experiences while learning the new skill.

Other learning tips:

There is probably a whole lot more to write about and a whole lot smarter people have made some great strides in uncovering the best ways to learn something new and acquire some useful skills.

But nonetheless I'll list a few more tips that I found during the research for the Mission42 App and this article.

Take frequent breaks

In a study of healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may solidify the memories of new skills we just practiced a few seconds earlier by taking a short rest. The results highlight the critically important role rest may play in learning. (Source)

Avoid distractions

Anything that distracts you or pulls focus while you’re practicing your daily routine will hold you back. (Source) Close the door. Throw your TV out. Disconnect your Wi-Fi. Put your cell phone on airplane mode. Find a place that makes you want to study. Do whatever it takes to keep your attention on the task at hand.

Find A Mentor

This seems like one of the harder things to do, but you would be surprised how willingly others will offer their help to you if you ask nicely. The key is starting — the worst a person can do is say no, so ask!

Initially, look to friends, family, and coworkers for an expert in the skill you’re trying to learn. If no one turns up, reach out to larger communities like reddit.

With those final thoughts myself and the zauberware team say goodbye and “Impress yourself, impress the world.

The Team
The Team

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