In life, we aim to gain new skills so we can move up in the world, whether it’s in a job, or if it’s to woo a new love interest. Often a skill that is neglected is how to learn. Most of us are lucky if we have a teacher in school that inspires us to learn; however, most of the time, the current system fails to teach us how to actually learn.
The Current Education System
First, we need to talk a little bit about the current system:
1. Made for the industrial age: training kids to work in factories of the 1900s
School starts at a specific time. Then you have your scheduled breaks morning tea and lunch. You finish at a particular time.
There is a single adult that teaches 20-30 kids, much like how a manager organises the staff and workers of a warehouse.
2. It’s a one-size-fits-all program.
Everyone has different interests and ways of learning things. Some people learn best from reading, and others learn best from experience.
Yet kids are all taught the exact same thing, and if you were to fall behind a couple of weeks, then it is on the child to catch themselves up.
3. Tests and exams are used to rate a child’s proficiency in a subject.
Tests are needed to see where there are areas that can be improved, however, with today’s day and age of technology and being able to look something up on google memory-based knowledge is being less and less needed.
Testing and exams lead to cramming and forgetting the information as soon as it is not needed. I don’t think I would be able to remember any chemistry from when I was in high school.
4. Told what to learn
Throughout school, we are told what to learn. We will read a textbook on the subject, the teacher will teach us and ask us questions on the topics. We are then prepared for a test, and then we move on to the next subject or topic.
Rarely are we actually told how to learn the subject, just read and remember for better comprehension.
Outdated education system
As you can see, the current system is a little outdated, with the development in technology and having the world’s information at our fingertips, memory-based knowledge is becoming less and less needed. What is being needed is critical thinking, being able to learn and use new technology and software, being able to adapt to the fast-paced markets, and being able to overcome hardships and challenges.
We should be teaching children how to learn, this way they can survive in this rapidly changing world.
Why you should learn how to learn
Knowing how to learn can not only help you with learning something quicker, but it can help you understand how to retain more information on the subjec. Along with increasing your skill base and implementing those same skills faster, which will then help you move towards your goals easier. Having more skills and knowledge in a specific subject can turn you into an expert, which can increase opportunities, the flow-on effects continue throughout life.
“That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”
– Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Have I convinced you that knowing how to learn is a good thing yet?
How to learn how to learn
I recommend looking for people that you can learn from. Look to people like Jim Kwik, or Tim Ferriss, or Josh Waitzkin, each has a book on how to learn. Here is a quick break down on each of their books:
Limitless, by Jim Kwik:
Jim Kwik is a memory and brain performance coach, who has helped a range of pro athletes, CEOs, Celebrities and students. In the book, he dives into deconstructing ones limiting beliefs and turning into a limitless learning machine.
Kwik breaks down topics and relates techniques to improve your habits, productivity, motivation, focus, memory, and more. It’s a great starter book as it is an easy read and he relays tips and techniques in layman’s terms.
The 4-Hour Chef, by Tim Ferriss:
Dives into Meta-learning – Learning to learn – how to learn more in a shorter amount of time. Ferriss uses cooking to help explain how to master anything in a shorter amount of time. E.g., compress 6 months of culinary school into 48 hours.
Ferris breaks down the science of learning in 5 steps:
- The Domestic
- The Wild
- The Scientist
- The Professional
The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin:
If you have read the book or seen the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer”, the wiz-kid chess genius is based on Waitzkin. After ten years at the top of the chess world, he turned Martial artist and became world champ in Tai Chi Chuan.
Waitzkin breaks down some techniques that focus on: Learning to understand key concepts more deeply, developing what you have learned to the automatic subconscious, mastering sections of the discipline at a time, and more.
These books are ones I have personally read and can recommend as great reads to learn more about learning. I would recommend you start with Limitless, as it is the easiest to read out of the 3.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is entirely up to you.
How to learn P2
If you are not into reading, then I can suggest listening to the audiobooks, I have linked them below.
*The 4-hour Chef doesn’t have an audiobook
Otherwise, the next best thing is to read articles and blog posts (like this one), listen to podcasts, and watch youtube videos. You could also find a course to complete. Jim Kwik has one, on the pricey side for me, when you can pick up his book and listen to his podcast, where I’m sure he talks about much of the same content that would be in his course.
What are some actionable tips on learning
Now, I am no self-proclaimed learning expert, nor am I qualified in anything to do with the brain. I am just man bumping into things and finding his way through life. However, if you are reading this, you may find my perspective interesting. So, here are my actionable tips on learning.
1. Find an expert
If you are interested in meta-learning you already have a starting point with the 3 mentioned above, you can research an expert or two in the field of your chosen subject field. Once you have found an expert…
2. Read, listen and watch
Read, listen and/or watch a lot of their content. Take notes, if you are watching youtube videos, the recommended section will help you find…
3. Find two other experts in the field.
Why do you want to find two other experts? To get two different points of view, this way you can broaden your scope, you can see what main theories and techniques are consistent across the 3, and you can form your own opinion on the subject.
4. Implement what you have learnt
This is the most essential step, if you were taking notes, you can now implement them. Taking action always beats inaction. Test out the techniques, see how you work within each.
5. Analyse the Results
It can be hard to measure results, for instance, we all have different interests, rates of learning and comprehension, so it is difficult to know how well we performed because there is nothing to compare it to 1-for-1.
What you can analyse is how quickly you grasped the new subject you are learning, how much of it you can remember, and how well you can teach it to someone else.
Learning from the results and self-analysis is just as important as the results themselves. Seeing where things can be improved and making those adjustments will increase the likelihood of you getting better at learning. Which is all part of the meta-learning experience.
In terms of learning things quicker, or how to learn, I will have a full breakdown in my next post, as this is more of an intro into the topic. The above is a birds eye view of how to begin learning.
Enjoy the Process
To finish this article off, I will leave you with a simple message. You are where you are, what has happened has happened. How you learn, progress and grow is solely determined by you. Enjoy the process of growth and learning, no point being a sad-sack whilst on your journey of self-development and mastery.
Thank you for reading, I appreciate all that read this blog and leave comments or hit me up. Let me know what you think I should cover, or if you want me to talk about different topics.
For those interested, my Instagram handle is @carlosygoa, I post bite-sized content on there, drop a DM and say hey!