How to make the most of learning

Books

 

I can honestly say that some of the biggest changes in my life have taken place over the last 10 years.

 

The life I lead today is closer to the ideas that I had about what my perfect life should look like than I ever thought possible and the path is laid out for it to become even more incredible in years to come.

 

But this has all happened following one small but significant change.

 

I fell in love with learning again

 


A youthful curiosity

 

We all love to learn when we’re young. Being a blank slate, we are super curious.   We look at everything with zero judgement and total wonder.

 

Then we go to school and get loaded with a ton of structured learning, to the point of complete overload.  It’s like how you love cream cakes but if you’re forced to eat 20 a day you’ll soon go off them.

 

Then there is the imbalance.

 

As my one of my early mentors explained it, the left brain is responsible for the goal orientated logical thinking and the right is responsible for creativity and flexibility, and it is when both are equally strong and balanced that we are at our most effective.

 

But the way that each these of these two mental muscles are exercised is very different from the other.

 

The left is strengthened through structured learning, and the right through experience.

 

So when we go through school and experience times of structured learning and notably less experience we end up out of balance.   We unconsciously notice this and start to go off structured learning until the right side of our brain has caught up and we are back in balance.

 

This was true for me. I finished school with great grades but completely flopped higher education, because in that moment I had enough of filling my left brain and needed to pay some attention to the right.

 

I needed experience to bring balance.  So off into the world I went.  I stopped learning from books and started experiencing the world we live in with all it’s highs and lows, until 10 years ago when I started to become curious again and the next phase of my life started.

 

You may be here today because you’ve reached this point too, and maybe not for the first time, but you are not a blank slate anymore and as you start learning again there’s an important point to remember

 


Masters study the obvious

 

This is a saying that a mentor taught me.  As adults, we think we know a lot and sometimes that can limit our curiosity and learning.

 

As adults, we tend to lose attention when we feel that we are being taught something that we already know.

 

However, as adults some of our greatest learning and self-discovery occurs when we go back and consciously re-evaluate ideas that we had previously decided that we know all the answers to.

 

So I urge you, as you return to learning and progress your self-awareness, be willing to look at again at what you had previously decided that you know.  Sometimes you will reach the same conclusions that you had previously, but more often than you would suspect a new viewpoint arises and the model you were working from in the area in question is upgraded with a new understanding.

 

There is also a second tool that you can utilise to make the most out of your new education.

 

 


Learn do teach

 

When we first absorb new information, it is consciously.  We haven’t really learnt yet so have to read notes or refer back to some conscious method of recall to bring the information back from our memories.

 

Then we learn unconsciously.  This is achieved by doing.  Through the act of continuous repetition, we learn unconscious competence and then can recall effortlessly, but there is one way to learn something even more deeply.

 

Teach it to others.

 

Nothing challenges us to truly understanding a subject at the deepest level than the act of teaching.  When we are called to re-write our understanding in our own words, flaws in what we thought was a sound understanding are revealed, and when we are questioned by another based on their alternate model of understanding, the process of answering forces us to evaluate what we think we know at the deepest level possible.

 

So as you read from this website or learn from any of the other sources within.  Remember:

  1. Study the obvious
  2. Learn, do, teach

 

Happy Learning

 

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