Learn a skill a month: The demanding life of Maxwell Hertan

By SALONEE MISTRY,
social issues editor

Learn and master a new skill every month – that is the challenge Maxwell Hertan set himself 13 months ago.

He has in that time learnt the art of juggling, how to do backflips, skateboard like a champ,  and draw a self-portrait. 

Mr Hertan has also learnt to body-build, speak Spanish, dance the salsa, produce films, play the violin and do stand-up comedy, among other skills.

“I always loved learning and am obsessed with it. It’s a gateway to meet new and interesting people, be inspired and build your own personal brand even,” Mr Hertan said.

Maxwell Hertan started taking up monthly challenges last year because he was obsessed with learning. Source: Maxwell Hertan

“It is also my way of giving back to the community by inspiring others to do whatever it is that they hope to do.”

Mr Hertan has documented his journey on his YouTube channel, Max’s Monthly Challenges.

He said he chose what to learn next simply by what sounded the most interesting and visually pleasing for his viewers.

Mr Hertan said he did not find it difficult to stay motivated to continue  his challenges.

“The fact that I get to learn and am determined to complete the challenge keeps me motivated even in the face of adversity,” he said.

Mr Hertan admits the challenges are not always smooth-sailing.

He sometimes has found it difficult to find a good instructor, and at other times his own fears have held him back.

“My toughest challenge so far has been the stand-up comedy one,” he said.

“You need to put in five hours worth of work for a four-minute performance, and the feedback is minimal. Improving then becomes difficult.”

Maxwell Hertan said learning stand-up comedy was the most difficult challenge. Source: Maxwell Hertan

Mr Hertan said he faced a personal challenge when he had an infectious ulcer on his hand.

“As a result of the infection I could not complete my challenge for August, which was to revisit all my previous challenges,” he said.

Although his hand is healing and there are still limitations on what activities he can do, Mr Hertan said he would soon ease back into his challenges.

“This month, my challenge is to follow a morning routine beginning 5.30am every day. Next month too I will be picking something that does not require too much arm strength,” he said.

Next on his list of challenges is solving a Rubik’s Cube under water and learning to do a headstand.

Mr Hertan said he planned on revisiting his past challenges in the future to see how many of those he could still do.

“There are a lot of valuable life skills that I have learnt and want others to be inspired by,” he said

Although he eventually plans to write a book about his experiences, Mr Hertan said his immediate goal was to reach 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel