Have you ever read through a book only to be left with only a vague understanding of what it was actually about? Have you ever spent months with a book on your shelf knowing that you should read it, but never got around to it? Have you ever caught your mind slipping while reading only to realize you haven’t absorbed any information in the past several pages? Have you ever read a blog that sounded like an advertisement on QVC
In our super busy daily lives it can be hard to find the time to learn the skills we need to learn. Some of these things might be vital to our career or business. Some of them might be important in improving and sustaining our personal lives. Many people have just resorted to the excuse that they simply don’t have enough time to learn all these things.
But is it really a lack of time?
Mr Google whispered in my ear “a high amount of Americans will never read another book after leaving high school. Most people end up spending a few hours each day watching television, reading celebrity magazines, and checking how many Instagram likes they recently received from their latest post. Even reading cheesy romance novels or seeing what Bruce Jenner has planned for his next operation or her next operation. Anyways I give you full permission to make any choice you want to make.
I don’t think the real problem is a lack of time at all, but a lack of priorities. With the right intention and inclination, everyone can devote a few minutes of their day to reading, practicing or studying something that can genuinely improve their lives. (I know I sound like your 80 year old grandma giving you advice.) It is never about time but always about the right priority set in motion.
Okay, ready for the super hero training?
So even if you have decided to immerse in your own education, either as a full or part time Bad ass student or even just in your own personal self-education endeavor, it can be difficult to really get the most out of the material you are reading.
Quick knowledge bomb: The Word For Perhaps in Spanish Is *Quizás* pronounced: Kiss-ass
So Quizas “kiss ass there are courses you need to study to get a degree that you just can’t seem to focus on. Maybe you want to get better at a skill such as writing, personal finance, owning your own business, learning a new language or getting in shape (I’m your guy for for when this happens) but your focus drifts off whenever you try to read the material.
So the question reveals itself:
How can you improve your learning?
1. Numero Uno: Learn With Purpose
The first rule of super learning domes with purpose. Your WHY. You want to improve your ability to learn? Therefore before you decide to pick up a book, go to a seminar, or head off to class, is to simply decide why you are going and exactly what you are trying to get out of it. Be specific with this. Vagueness is the villain (Joker, Doomsday, Ridley, Green Goblin). So don’t be vague.
Before you open that freakin book, decide what you want to get out of the book. That could be learning a new skill, getting a grasp in a particular theory or even getting new ideas. Never read a book just to read it or because you ‘have to’. The reason you have difficulty studying some material is because you don’t have a reason. Your subconscious knows this and follows through by making you procrastinate.
Deciding why you are learning something also makes it super easy to decide whether it is worthwhile to continue learning it. That time thing we were talking about, well, if you decide to take time to jot down your WHY, You could save yourself some TIME. I’ve put down books midway through because I felt they just didn’t offer any new value. Once I learned this little trick I’ve picked up old books that I couldn’t focus on and created a clearity of why I was reading it and sparks started to fly like I was freaking Jubilee from X men.
Don’t be this guy
Try to find a reason that is directly linked to the learning itself, and not just to pass an exam. Learning something just so you can get a letter grade Reuters the wrong
signal in your subconscious and you will find it painful to study and read.
2. Numero Dos: Make it Fascinating
The next step to reaching a Super Hero High, I mean Mind is to make information stick. When you genuinely take interest in the material you are reading. Think about the things you really enjoy, aren’t they also the things you found easiest to learn? When you tell yourself that something is boring, dry or uninteresting it will be super difficult to study.
Often uninteresting material is the fault of the teacher.
“It doesn’t matter what you major in, what matters is that you learned from the best professors.”- Liz Dolan
I’ve realized that when I’ve created a genuine purpose for why I’m learning lines for an acting role, or learning a new exercise in the gym, the teacher or author has to write or relay that information in a relatable way. Either through story telling or through mini applications. For example if you’re trying to learn how to squat. Let’s start with how to stand before we throw in any barbells, kettle bells, whistlin’ bungholes, spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don’ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistlin’ kitty chaser. Yeah…. I just wanted to learn how to squat..
So what if the teacher or author stinks?
How can you make something more interesting? Start by asking better questions. Ask yourself why this book or subject is incredibly fascinating. You might just find yourself getting engrossed in a subject you previously found painfully boring. There aren’t boring subjects, there are just subjects that are either poorly taught or you can’t find a purpose for learning them.
3. Numero tres: Relate With Analogy
I sort of touched on this before. People relate to material through stories and analogy. Metaphors and analogies are incredibly powerful tools because they describe unknown relationships in terms of a known relationship. Isn’t it easier to understand something once it is broken down into easily understood terms?
Whenever you are hit in the noggin with an abstract relationship, try to seek to understand this new information to an analogy you already know quite well. Creating analogies is a super power, but it is incredibly useful for memory and ret after what they wanted.
The truth is if you can’t find an analogy to describe something then you probably don’t understand it very well.
Creating analogies make it super easy to hold onto information. Solid teachers will offer up analogies, but when you are reading from a source that doesn’t do this, make your own. You are responsible for your own learning.
This kind of feels like an ending to this article…
Not yet, Jack and Jill. You still need some more snacks for that super learning brain of yours.
But you’re not gonna forget anything again with that super brain of yours
Think of an analogy as a map. Although it isn’t the same thing as the actually territory it describes, it allows you to quickly find information that can be difficult to see from the territory. Now how’s that for an analogy about analogies!
4. Numero Cautro: Emphasize Through Multiple Senses
I have noticed in my own life that whenever I get a chance to absorb information through more than one sense, I intake the information way more. So if I read a book and then listen to a speech about the same topic, I often pick up details in understanding missed from only using one. Whenever I get the chance I try to read information from speakers I’ve heard and vice versa. Sometimes a trick I’ll utilize is reading it out loud and recording it on my iPhone and listen to the information while doing laundry or cleaning dishes.
You may have noticed that some of my articles are accompanied with graphics. I find that by adding the graphics to reinforce abstract information it is easier to relate to later.
Create your own Memes on An app called Typorama, record yourself talking about the ideas or create your own diagrams. Even though it can take a little more work- remember that Super heroes aren’t born. They’re created. And don’t you dare argue with me on this.
Numero Cinco: Find a Student
The best way to learn something is to teach. This simple practice has to be the number one reason I’ve started this blog myself. By writing down my thoughts and ideas, they become reinforced into concrete mental patterns. If there is one way to improve your ability to learn it is to teach someone else what you are learning.
Don’t be this Teacher
Check it out if you have a camera, an iPhone or a Android device. Record yourself explaining the new material you just read. Record it, don’t worry about it being perfect, and just post it. Perfectionism leads to procrastination. This is sound advice. Please try it.
Numero Seis: Follow Up With Practice
Doing is the best way to learn. Reading, listening and studying are poor ways to gather conceptual knowledge and they are horrible for gaining skills. What separates people of excellence and wisdom from those who aren’t is often the amount of practice involved. Studying How People smile is not even close to as effective as just going out there and trying to smile. I know that sounds stupid but it’s true. You gotta try it out, failure is the point of it.
Reading, listening and studying can get conceptual ideas, but if you want to transform them into skills you need practice. How much practice depends on the person and the field, but it is generally much longer than it takes to understand the ideas. Without practice you’re sunk.
Numero Siete: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, and on your way to being Iron Man Status Smart
Once you’ve decided why you want to learn about something, become interested in it, used analogy to describe it, taken in through multiple senses and taught it to someone else, the only thing that can really slow down your learning rate is your own mental clarity. Mental clarity comes a lot through physical health.
Intuitively it is easy to understand how important health is for learning. Have you ever tried to pay attention and learn something when you were sick? How about writing a test? If your experiences are similar to mine, then sickness greatly impaired your performance. Let me offer you another thinking point, are you ill right now?
Myself as well as many notable self-help masters such as Tony Robbins and Steve Pavlina believe strongly in a diet that avoid animal products to increase mental clarity. I’m not saying you NEED to do this. I’m just saying, you should DEFINITELY eat healthier if you want to be a Super learner.
Take one step at a time. Try eating at least one salad today. If you hate it. Throw on some liquid Splenda sweetener and wolf it down.
If you’re reading these blogs then you’re probably exercising but if you aren’t exercising regularly, you should add exercise to your daily activities. Again, start small. You don’t need to run a marathon to be better at learning material. Start by walking. I have to endorse treadmills for most of my success. If it wasn’t for treadmills and a nice strength workout I would honestly not be even close to as productive as I am during my day.
Another honest bomb is that most people live like they have the flu. That sounds like a harsh statement, but I believe it is accurate. Taking steps to increase your health can be an incredibly powerful and positive boost to your own ability to learn. Even if it is as simple as cutting down on junk food or slightly increasing exercise.
If you’ve read to this point, all these steps may seem like a lot of work to improve your ability to learn. Fortunately the steps work in a progressive order, and by deciding why you are learning something and making it important enough, the other steps will follow. I believe it is worth it because learning and education are probably the most important factor in your growth and ultimately happiness. So start your super learning skills today and comment below what you’re going to try today.A