The rapid pace of technological change demands career-long adult learning for workers to gain new skills and retain good jobs.
Traditional institution-driven mindset around learning: learning is passive. It’s something that happens to us, and is dependent on a specific context.
We need to change this mindset. Learning is something that we must practice regularly on our own. It’s a health habit as important as exercise. It can be painful in the beginning but gets easier with time.
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1. Pick a goal but stay flexible.
2. Warm up but stay challenged.
3. Find the right environment and the right people.
4. Get addicted to progress.
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of recovery time.
Reason why we should care about learning: it is a source of limitless joy.
Exercise your curiosity. You might feel fatigued or like you’re not up for the challenge, but with practice, patience, and effort, we are all capable of learning.
Giving yourself time to think, without any goals or particular outcomes in mind is one of the most powerful and enjoyable parts of the learning process. That’s where you’ll find the deep connections, epiphanies, and pure joy in feeding your curiosity.
Start from the basic level and watch yourself progressing. Don't get discouraged when you see people who make it look easy.
When we’re trying to understand something fundamentally new, we’re not going to see results right away. And the only difference between you and the people making it look easy is that those people have spent more time getting to that stage. With time and deliberate practice you will start to connect new ideas and notice minor changes in the way you think.
We must remember that our brains needs rest to let information settle and before we can fully absorb it.
Sleep, meditation, and regular breaks are all vital for optimal cognitive performance. Sometimes you’ll have your biggest breakthroughs when you just walk away from the problem.
Sometimes we all tend to feel pressured. It could be as petty or big as solving a math problem and not reaching to a solution. These situations may make us feel inadequate and shake our confidence. We tend to see ourselves as inferior to others in terms of knowledge.
But if you feel this way maybe you're just out of shape and you can use this idea to get rid of that internal dialogue.
Being out of shape isn’t a permanent state, the same way that lack of knowledge isn’t fixed.
Don't be so much specific but flexible because great learning can also be spontaneous.
Perhaps you pick up a book about labor policy that you find quite dense, but it points you to a biography about Frances Perkins. If you are too attached to your goal of finishing the first book and ignore your curiosity, it will become a recipe for killing the joy of learning.
Before you start exercising, you need to stretch. Before you dive into very challenging material, you ought to review. But also ensure you don’t get discouraged right off the bat. Don't lose focus.
Everything gets easier with practice, and the end result is worth the effort.
Being in the right environment is key to continuous learning. Right people and these maybe your friends, colleagues or just internet groups can help you find the right solution. It’s also important to have the right equipment, like a whiteboard or your favorite pens in every color.
Habit stacking means adding new habits onto existing ones - to the things you already automatically do every day.
After waking up in the morning, you might put on a cup of coffee. When you visit the bathroom, you wash your hands. And before you go to bed, you brush your teeth. Throughout the day, we have lots of such behaviours that we perform automatically, and we can take advantage of them to establish new habits.
We have an impressive ability to learn, but our motivation to do so tends to decrease with age:
Unlearning is the process of discarding something from your memory. When you unlearn something you forget it, put it aside, and you lose knowledge of it.
But - why exactly would you want to unlearn something? In many cases when you unlearn something you can get rid of a bad habit, preconceptions or something that is false. Alvin Toffler, futurist and philosopher said:
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
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