You Won't Become a Fast Learner Until You Do These 5 Things
Learning how to learn is the only thing worth learning.
The ability to learn quickly is the most essential skill in the 21st century.
The world is changing fast. People are changing fast. Ideas and trends are coming in and out of existence faster than any of us can fully understand.
There’s never been more opportunity in the world to make money, be successful, and be happy, but it is very difficult to learn the skills you need to learn fast enough so that you can take advantage of them.
Social media and the internet are just a few of the things that are rapidly changing the way that human beings operate. If you cannot adapt quickly to the changing world, you will struggle to reach your long-term goals.
The hard truth is that in today’s world, it pays to be a fast learner.
Here are 5 things you must do in order to become a fast learner.
Push yourself beyond your limits at least once.
The relationship that you have with failure is one of the most important relationships you’ll have.
The relationship that you have with failure is akin to the relationship that you have with your ego. A large ego will slow down the rate at which you reach your goals.
When I started training Jiu-Jitsu, I was obsessed with winning my sparring rounds in the gym as much as possible, and this obsession held me back in my total improvement as a grappler.
You should try to fail (in controlled environments) so that when you are being tested on gameday, you’ve seen everything.
You should push yourself to your limits so that you know where they are so that you can avoid overwork and burnout in the name of continuous progress.
Set specific highly specific goals.
The most important factor for success that most people ignore isn’t grit, hard work, or discipline.
In competitive fields, everyone works hard. People work their asses off for the hell of it — just because they can. A lot of people are working really hard in the name of vague goals.
Most people don’t have specific enough goals. They’re chasing stuff they don’t even want and it’s heartbreaking.
The solution is to set general goals and then go back and specify how you’re going to achieve them. After you have a specific plan, set micro-goals along the way to your larger goals.
My goal was to become a good writer.
To be a good writer, you have to write a lot and publish a lot. You have to practice your craft a lot.
Sure, there are other aspects of improving at writing (reading, editing, researching, etc), but the reality is that getting good at writing mostly boils down to nothing other than getting good at the act of writing.
I set the specific goal of writing 2 blog posts per week. When I started on Medium, I wrote 2 articles per week for several months. I was just getting my feet wet and learning how to be a person who writes often.
After a while, I bumped it up to 3 articles per week. Then, for a time, I was publishing 5 (or more) articles per week, in addition to my newsletter and my freelance clients. I knew exactly what I had to do broadly speaking, and my specific goals reflected that.
You can’t get anything you want until you know exactly what you want.
Treat your body like a temple.
Productivity, learning, and success require a great deal of discipline.
Your mind does not function best when you’re treating your body like an amusement park. If you’re drinking, doing a lot of drugs, or skipping out on the essential sleep that you need to recover from your hard work, you will struggle to make long-term progress and build lasting discipline.
If you have shit habits, all of your success will be short-term.
You have to train discipline in your life. You learn the value of discipline by enforcing strict habits on yourself for a period of time.
When you are in control of your physical body and your mind, it’s a lot easier to learn about the world around you.
You can do this through disciplined fitness routines, a strict diet, fasting, or a combination of them all.
Seek out the best in your field and learn from them.
What if you could take a guitar lesson from Jimi Hendrix or a writing lesson from Stephen King?
That’s essentially what I’ve been able to do in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with all of my travels for training and learning. I’ve surrounded myself with people who are way better than me.
In this year alone, I’ve trained with multiple world champions, taken a class from the best coach in the world, and trained in 3 different countries.
Oh, and they didn’t invite me to train with them. I’m not that cool. Instead, I’ve spent my own money traveling the world and pushing myself to chase down these new learning experiences. It’s financially stressful and even nerve-wracking, but it’s always worth seeking out the best in your desired craft.
The best ways to learn are disciplined effort and new experiences. When you are able to blend these 2 together, you get the best of both worlds.
For 2023, I already have 3 training trips in the works.
Develop some sort of reflection habit.
I love writing. I’m writing this article in my free time.
I could be watching TV or reading or even training tonight, but right now I’m writing because that’s the best way that I reflect on the things that I experience in my life.
I’m weird. I’m a little bit obsessed with words.
Some people like writing, but not as much as me. Some people like writing tweets or social media posts, but they don’t want to write multiple 1000+ word essays in a day. I get it.
Some people don’t like writing at all. I respect that too.
However, what’s essential for learning quickly is finding a way to reflect on everything that you learn about in your life.
Some people jot notes, some people write blogs and books about their experiences, and some people go to therapy every week for years.
One great and easy reflective tool is the voice memo feature on your phone. Just talk about your thoughts for a few minutes each day and watch your head feel lighter and more focused.
Learning is the most important skill that you can learn as a human being.
The most successful people in the world all have one thing in common: they are insanely quick learners.
Becoming a quick learner, however, can be a bit complicated. As someone who’s struggled with ADHD for my entire life, learning has always been a bit of a struggle for me. After years of struggling to learn and resenting my teachers for forcing me to learn in ways that I didn’t gel with, I’ve become obsessed with finding my own best ways to learn.
These 5 habits have been essential in my training myself to learn better and faster, especially over the last few years, when I’ve been trying to balance professional Jiu-Jitsu with professional writing.
I don’t know where I’d be without them.
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