“Learning is easy for you.” I have lost count of how many people have said that to me over the years, but the truth is, I have to work at it like most people. I do not have an Eidetic memory where I remember everything I see, but I have acquired a few skills over the years that help make the process easier and more enjoyable. I have also discovered that almost everyone can learn these skills.
Whether you are a student, teacher, or auto-mechanic, the more you know about what you do makes you more valuable to yourself and others. Nearly everything we do, from using a new phone to accomplishing our work tasks, require us to be life-long learners. The sad thing is that while most people spend their lives learning, we usually get very little good information on HOW to learn. So are you ready to learn like a genius?
While a comprehensive examination of this subject requires much more space than we have, there are a few simple things you can do to help you learn more quickly and grasp unfamiliar with much less stress.
1. Be Intent
The first rule of learning something new is to approach it with confident intention. Silence the inner voice that says you can’t learn, or you aren’t good at things like this, and instead face the subject with tenacity and confidence. Don’t worry about how long it takes you to get it, if it is worth learning, it is worth patience. And with patience, comes success.
2. Get Focused
While multi-tasking is popular, it is in fact a myth (I know what you are thinking and you are deluding yourself ;-). It takes very specialized training to be able to do two things at the same time and even then, you won’t be as efficient as if you simply focus on one thing and then move on. Not only that, but you also add extra stress when you try to keep multiple balls in the air at the same-time.
A technique that can be especially helpful with focus is the Pomodoro Technique. You can learn more about the history of this on the Internet, but the concept is very simple. Turn off all distractions such as Phone, Social Media etc. And set a timer for 25 minutes. Use those 25 minutes to focus on your reading, memorization or study. When you are finished, reward yourself with a little break. If you need a tool to help, search for “Pomodoro” on the mobile app store.
3. Use Repetition
Repetition is the Mother of memory. Use note cards or an app. Look at them for a few minutes every few hours or so when you have a few minutes. Don’t try to cram. Your brain needs a break for the “glue” to setup before trying to add more. Fifteen minutes over several weeks is far better and more effective than trying to get it all in at once. It also allows the information to be transferred to long-term memory rather than short-term which is far more transient.
This one may seem counter-intuitive but is one of the most important things we can do. The brain releases toxins that affect our brains abilities every hour we are awake. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can be just as impairing as alcohol and drugs. When we rest, the toxins are flushed from our brain and information in our short-term memory is organized and stored in the warehouse of long-term memory. The more we are exposed to related information, followed by rest, the more that information is prioritized in our brains for future recall.
There you have it. Four steps to learning like a genius. Remember, by the yard it’s hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch. Be Intent, Focus, Use Repetition and get plenty of rest. If you incorporate these steps into your life on a regular basis, you will be amazed at how much you learn and retain.