“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein, physicist, scientist, Nobel Prize winner
One of the things I’m learning recently is learning about learning. In a world that is changing so fast, if you want to stay relevant in your field or area of specialization, you’ve got to really master the art of learning; in other words hack learning!
Though this is not another 8weeks Udemy course or a superbly long read, you sure will find this beneficial. I want to share with you proven principles that have improved the way I learn. Consider the image below, it just describes me perfectly — I love learning.
So let’s get started with this learning spree.
Learning the basics
This is probably one of the things we are usually lazy to do. We always want to dive in. While diving in could be faster and recommended in some cases, it remains vital to understand the core (guiding principles) of any endeavor. It simply gives you the power to replicate your successes. So you might be asking: “How do I strike the balance?”. Here’s a simple answer: Dive in but don’t ignore the details! Dive in, but also ask questions! Dive in, but also learn the basics.
This is why learning the basics is important. So if you master the basics in playing the piano, It would be easy to learn to play on all keys! Let me insert my experience here.
So, I basically dived into playing the piano. I did not learn the basics. I really did not the pay attention to the rules that govern proper fingering on the piano. This is still costing me a lot! I still sometimes find it difficult to play on other keys or play with the appropriate fingers. I am going back to the basics! The core is boring but it enhances effective learning. If you learn the basics about driving, you should be able to drive any car with little or no hassle. Mastery is gained in learning the basics. You don’t build a life time endeavor on shallow knowledge.
Roll with the Stars
This is quite simple. I’ve seen it over and over, those who roll with the eagles don’t find it difficult to fly. Those who sit with the masters, learn faster. This is very important. Make sure you are not a premature champion. Premature champions mistake achievement for arrival. No matter how great you are at what you do, always surround yourself with people that are better or smarter (in some way) than you. You know it’s time to change your circle if there’s nobody around you to learn from. Cultivate or join circles that foster learning. Set yourself up for a life time of learning.
I once attended a Tech Event where someone said: “If you want to know where the future is going, follow mega trends”. Let me put it this way; if you want stay on top of your game, follow the mega trends in your field.
The Law of Practice
Practice! There’s no other way stress this point. You have to learn to do what you want to do by doing it. Personally, I have decided to adopt an incremental style of learning. Everyday, I make effort to improve upon what I learnt yesterday. It’s great to read books, of course it’s part of the learning process. But make sure you always have an action plan for every article or book you read. Be intentional about writing out one or two things you need to do to apply what you learn. It should be actionable, that is, an exercise you can carry out.
This has been my watchword for 2016. I believe learning should be deliberate. It should involve your entire being. You should learn because you want to learn. Sometimes, we learn by virtue of the places we find ourselves or from the people we meet, and sometimes from events that happen around us. But we also need consciously create an atmosphere that fosters learning. You can’t survive on what I call accidental kind of learning.
There’s a reward that comes with making learning habitual. When you making learning a habit, you have automatically set yourself up for greatness. Learn by reading, learn by observing, learn by doing. Constant learning does not only make you a knowledgeable person, it also make you a better person.
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