Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.John Dewey
Five Ideas To Help 10X Your Learning
I preach to my kids all the time about the importance of reading as a learning experience. The World Wide Web (www) is an evolution of books, with all it’s hyperlinks to related information. Similarly, books typically have links to other books and so on. Ideas build upon ideas to form new ideas. I personally find reading to be relaxing and very stimulating in terms of visualizing new and interesting things and ideas. Other people might prefer listening to books. Still others might learn better by watching videos or listening to podcasts.
I guess the key point here is to be selective in the content you consume and how you best consume it in order to improve your learning.
Second, Find A Mentor
I view certain books as mentors. Books can contain far more information about an interesting subject than you might get by trying to tease similar information out of someone’s head. However, sometimes there is no substitute for having a mentor that you can ask questions of and learn from in person.
Last year I joined a Master Mind for just this reason. I was able to pick the brain of Global Entrepreneur, Jeff Hoffman, about how to come up with a business idea, implement it, and fail your way to success. Along the way, I met other very experienced entrepreneurs like Brandon T. Adams, Bryan Post and Jefferson K. Rogers, from whom I was able to learn many things about business It might have taken me years to find and learn from a book.
Mentors are huge in helping you 10X your learning in whatever skill or new knowledge you are seeking to acquire. Find someone who knows what you what to learn and pick their brain.
However, you first need to possess humility, gratefullness and a learner’s mind, grasshopper.
Third, Deep Practice
‘Deep Practice’ is different than regular practice in that the intensity and focus are much greater, and the practice period is likely shorter. In Episode 30 we reviewed the book ‘The Talent Code’ where author Daniel Coyle discusses how ‘deep practice’ can help build myelin around key brain pathways that help one perform a given task at a higher level of ability.
‘Deep Practice’ takes motivation. Either you simply love to practice whatever it is you are doing, or some combination of love and other things drive you into the practice zone. In Cindy’s case, as we discuss in this podcast, one episode of deep practice for her was in a recent Highland Games competition she took part in in Southern Maryland. Executing a (true) Caber Toss for the first time, while hundreds of on-lookers watched, helped to facilitate a state of deep learning in Cindy.
Fourth, Just Do It!
It can be truly scary to set off to do something you have never done before. I know, I’ve been there many times. One time, Cindy and I pushed off from a dock in Scituate, MA, with the intent to become the first American pair to ever row across the North Atlantic Ocean. There was great unknown in that event that caused more than a few butterflies in my stomach that day. When we failed to accomplish our mission, and upon subsequent reflection (see below) we learned a great deal about our failure (and about ourselves). Cindy experienced similar jitters the first time she set foot on a Highland Games Competition Field for the Heavy Throwing Events.
The only way to build-up learning and confidence about things you’ve never done before (and maybe have only ever read about) is to try them yourself.
After reading, experiencing and learning new things, you can learn more through reflecting on these things further. Reflection helps to burn new thoughts, ideas and beliefs into your brain and heart. Turning failure over and over in your mind, analyzing it, discussing it, and re-framing it, can lead to valuable learning. Reflection can help you modify your mental models - maybe even build new ones - to help you more effectively accomplish the same task in the future, but better, or to see the world through a more productive lens.
Whatever abilities you have can’t be taken away from you. They can’t actually be inflated away from you. … So the best investment by far is anything that develops yourself, and it’s not taxed at all.Warren Buffett
When you have your own retirement account and your friendly adviser suggests you put all the money into Bitcoin, just say no.Charlie Munger
podcast learning entrepreneurship competition innovation learning personal growth leadership adventure punctuated equilibrium mental models repetition best self neural plasticity neuroplasticity dewey john dewey experiential learning celtic society of southern maryland warren buffett charlie munger