Have you ever asked yourself how much learning you do on a daily basis? Are you still learning new things, or do you think you pretty much stopped when you left college?
If you think you stopped learning when you left college, think again. We are learning new things all the time; how to drive, how to change a fuse, how to use the latest time-saving app, even how to bake a chocolate cake. Everything we do and every action we take is a result of things that we have learned in the past.
What we learn can determine the direction we take in life, and really there is very little that we learn that is not beneficial to us in some way, (even algebra) but in a world of information overload it is as important to be discerning about what we learn, as it is to determine how we learn.
People learn in different ways and are more responsive to certain mediums. To find out the how you can achieve your optimum learning capacity - test yourself!
Find out if you are a visual, audio, or kinesthetic learner; maybe you respond better to a blend of mediums. Just Google “test your learning style” – there are plenty of sites out there that will point you in the right direction.
Knowing how other people learn can be of help too; inside information is a useful selling tool. If you know for example that someone is a visual learner, phrases like “do you see how good it looks”, and “imagine how good that would look” will resonate with them.
When you know you your learning style you can choose the medium that suits you. Audiobooks and podcasts are suited to auditory learners, and videos and books are more helpful to visual learners. Kinesthetic learners react to the way things feel and learn by physically carrying out a task.
Purely visual learning does not always suit everyone. I got myself a Kindle recently only to discover that I really couldn’t get on with it. I prefer a real book; I respond better to the way they look and feel.
Victor who is my business partner in a software company is what is known as a hybrid learner. Victor is Hungarian, and he listens to audio while reading at the same time meaning that he gets double the input. This two-pronged approach to learning means that he is improving his English at the same time. This is a great method to use when learning another language.
There are various advantages to different forms of learning. Auditory learning is great because it allows you multitask, and it is posited that by hearing something repeatedly a good listener will eventually be able to retain that information; it will be burned into their memory bank.
Visual learners are often goal motivated, and their response to the way things look enables them to see the bigger picture. They often have the ability to imagine their goals in terms of scenarios that can be achieved through careful planning.
Kinesthetic learners are inclined toward touch and movement. Often talented in the field of sport, physical prowess and physical expression such as dance; they are generally very coordinated, react to different situations quickly and have great memories.
Learning can be time-consuming so you might want to take a course in speed reading. Speed reading is not tearing through the words on a page with no comprehension like you are competing in the speed reading Olympics. Speed reading is a skill and therefore needs to be learned. Speed reading also helps with focus, memory and improves logic.
For those of you that prefer to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, it is possible to do this at an increased rate, but do be aware that doing this can increase your stress rate and impact on the quality of what you are listening to. Being more discerning about what it is you listen to, and not wasting your time listening to content that is not specific to your needs might be a better way to go.
Often it can seem as if you are drowning in a sea of information, so once you find that rare and valuable pearl of wisdom you are going to want to hold onto it. Ok enough of the floweriness, what I am basically saying is that we don’t always have the time to sift through the amount of information that is out there so if you come across, or someone recommends a book or video that you think will be helpful – make a note of it. Keep a book bucketlist! Do not say "thank you I will make a note of that", and then immediately forget it. I mean it, literally make a note of it, whether that be by texting the name to yourself then and there, or as I like to do use Evernote.
If you do not have Evernote – get it! It is brilliant; it is an app that enables you to remember ideas you come across, and make sure that you don’t miss out on anything. So if you are out and about, and someone whose opinion you respect says to you “you really need to read this book” you can make a note of it then and there. Not only will you have a recommendation for a potentially invaluable source of information, but the person you are talking to will also know that you are listening to them and that you value their opinion.
Having a book bucket list is great. How many times have you been looking for information and said to yourself “I wish I could remember that book that so and so recommended”, and had to go to the quickest source of information instead of the most useful or reliable one. You just end up going for an Amazon recommendation instead of something original. With a book bucket list you have a list of recommended books at your fingertips, and using Evernote means that you can share it too! I have a list of books that I want to read in the future and that tie in with the direction I want to head.
Don’t imagine that you will find time for learning unless you schedule it in on your calendar. It is important to find that "me time", that time for self-improvement. You might look at those quickly disappearing windows on your calendar, and think that getting some "me time" it is as likely as Hell freezing over, but look again – it is there!
There are plenty of opportunities to multitask during the day, and there are dead times when you don't have to give your brain in its entirety over to a specific task. You can study and find time for self-improvement while you shower, jog, go to the gym, travel from A to B, cook, or even when you wait in line at the supermarket. Never feel guilty about making “me time”.
Take advantage of the work that others have done for you, learn from them and their experience, stand on the shoulders of giants! Remember it can take between 10 and 20 years experience to write a book, but less than a week to read.
So let’s recap! Find out what kind of learner you are. Consider a speed-reading course. Use the medium of learning that is appropriate to your needs. Keep a book bucket list. Schedule "me time" for self-improvement into daily routines, and use that dead time!