Learning to Learn

I’m going to continue a subject that Teemu started few weeks back. I’ll describe a personal way of learning and do a short analysis of this hoping it might help you to learn faster and make it more conscious.

I think learning to learn has been the single most powerful revelation that I had at work so far. Learning to learn and do it faster have even been called a superpower by some. For me learning to learn is easier through following ways:

  • Moving from subconscious and random (ie. attending a random seminar, reading a book that people complimented) to conscious (ie. following a process that you know will go through the curiosity and motivation to deeper understanding, when you need to learn a new idea or a method even if at the moment it doesn’t feel like you want to do it).
  • Basically admitting that you probably know very little. When you train a thinking that will assume that every situation is: “is it so?” instead of “of course it is” will help you to accept new ideas easier without going to defense mode (again sCarf). You need to question even things that defy the way you consider how the world works and you know that this is the truth!
  • Also non-violent communication listening method: Everthing is either “thank you” or “a please”, even if it’s coming out in a non constructive way. An example: You think you did a great job, better than ever, in communicating a change to team leaders, but you still get ranted for someone not hearing it or hearing about it too late. What he or she might mean is: “could you please explain this to me further, I didn’t really understand this” or “Could I please get more time in completing the task you requested from me?”. This also leads to self reflecting, because you could probably do something in a better way to make the change go smoother for everyone.

Practical Tips

Follow a process where you didn’t learn and where you did learn and analyze it thoroughly:

  1. Analyze what you tried to do and why it didn’t work.
  2. Analyze what you did do and why it worked.
  3. Train this.

I think many times learning happens on subconscious level and how it turns out is sometimes you learned something and sometimes you think you did, but you don’t really know if you did or didn’t except by trying it out and being honest with yourself (another loop that needs training). Here’s a good tip for you: If you think it’s the people why something didn’t work, then it’s a good hint that you probably are not there yet. Most times there’s something wrong in the way something was attempted, and not with people participating in it.

What’s My Process of Learning to Learn?

An example that I’m sure most of you recognize: You’re reading a book and after 10 pages you realized that you remember just the first one. You don’t have the motivation to do what you want to do.

study

For me if I want to learn something, this works a lot better than just trying to ram through a brick wall (ie. reading that book):

  1. Watch a keynote or a tutoring video. This creates motivation and shallow understanding. Better yet if you can attend an actual training where you can engage others and discuss about the subject.
  2. Reading an article or two to create more understanding.
  3. Going deeper with a book.
  4. Training in practice things I think I learned, analyzing what I did and how I did it.
  5. Going back on the subject with re-reading articles and train more.

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Conclusion?

For you the ways or the order might be different, but you need to be aware of yourself on how to create motivation and how to repeat the process so you will be on a lifelong path of learning instead of sometimes picking something that just happened to come in the right medium and order for you.

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