How to Learn anything Fast and Easily
What really is the use of knowledge or a piece of important information that is not shared or used to make an impact in the lives of others?
These were my exact thoughts while listening to Nishant Kasibhatla, a grandmaster in memory in Singapore and one-time Guinness record breaker in memory.
But was he born like that? The answer is No. Obviously, he has made conscious effort to master the art of fast learning as well as memory techniques.
I am pretty much aware of how challenging it is to read and not being able to recall retentively.
You find yourself reading hard and doing the most but still, you entered that examination hall and went all blank, what exactly was the problem?
Is it that you didn’t read?
Nah, of course, you did.
So what then went wrong?
Why do you find it difficult memorizing stuff?
It mustn’t always be la cram la pour (cramming) you know.
These were some of the questions I pondered on that eventually made me go looking for answers and what did I learn?
What I realized about learning fast
If you look around and get to study persons who have reached an extraordinary level of success you would get to notice something that is common amongst them besides passion, determination and the whole lots.
Actually, What you would realize is their commitment to a life long learning.
They keep learning new things on a life long basis because
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimension – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Your learning ability decides your earning capacity –Nishant Kasibhatla
When you learn faster, you would be able to stand out from everyone else.
You could go from underpaid to overpaid and you can have an unfair advantage to others.
But the question is how exactly do you learn?
And where exactly are you getting it wrong?
It actually all starts from the input.
Meaning most people when learning, tend to focus way too much on input and by input I mean; attending seminars, reading books, watching documentaries and youtube videos, listening to podcast, following blogs etc.
It’s usually all about input.
There is actually nothing wrong in learning so much but if you have too much input with absolutely no output then what you’ve succeeded in achieving is known as shallow learning.
An example of this could be seen in those moments when you are asked to read a book and then you are asked questions only to realize you can’t quite answer them or deliver properly on what you might have learnt.
This is because you read it using the shallow form of learning which I also love to refer to as Passive learning.
What really is the point of learning something if you can’t implement it and benefit from it?
Then it is just pure intellectual entertainment and nothing else.
So we do not exactly want shallow or passive learning if we really want to learn. Rather what we want is Deep learning otherwise known as Active learning.
So with all these, we can see that learning could actually be classified into 2 major categories:
So how exactly do we engage in Deep or Active Learning?
It’s pretty simple.
You engage in deep learning when you focus more on the output rather than the input.
What do I mean?
Take for example you choose to learn to play an Instrument.
Do you only just learn by reading on it or watching them play it?
No, rather you only truly learn by actually playing it yourself.
I remember before I actually started writing, I always thought I had to learn and read a whole lot on it before actually taking the bold step.
I was wrong because I would have only been focused on input while ignoring output and waiting for the right time when my brain has been bombarded with all of the input.
It took some time for me to realize that you learn faster by doing.
So all I just needed to do was to go ahead and write, irrespective of whether I am good enough or not.
At the end of the day, I can only actually judge myself after I have written and that’s the best way to actually learn.
So what are the memory techniques that can enable one to attain true mastery?
4 Cogent ways to Learn Anything
As we all know, in order to become a master at anything the first thing, of course, is learning which you are probably already doing.
The interesting thing is whatever it is you are learning, you must ensure that the quality of input is really high.
Meaning that you must be paying 100% attention but the problem these days is when people say they are learning, what they are actually doing is – Multitasking.
We often multitask with devices such as phones and this is a form of distraction that allows our mind to deviate from what it is meant to be focused on.
If you happen to be reading for example and you get a message from your phone, what do you usually do?
You leave your book and attend to your phone.
And what have you just done by doing that?
You have just killed your momentum and that means that you have messed up with the quality of input.
Your quality of input determines your quality of retention
This means, how well and how long can you remember information?
It also affects the quality of recall.
That is the reason why if you are learning anything, at least for the time you are learning you shouldn’t be multitasking.
Do one thing at a time especially when it comes to learning.
So learn to stay away from distraction while learning.
So many people are in a rush to learn new things.
This is good but the problem surfaces when they keep packing more knowledge without sitting for a bit to reflect on what they have previously learnt before rushing into another.
After learning something, try to pause for a while and ask yourself;
hey! What have I really learnt from this thing?
What is the take away from this chapter?
And how can I apply this information to my life, work, family, relationship etc?
Whenever you pause, reflect and ask yourself these questions, you create room for learning to solidify otherwise it’s all just waste.
Implementation is actually where the magic happens and unfortunately many people miss out on this.
What most people tend to do is;
after learning one thing, they get so excited, motivated, inspired and immediately go on to learn something new.
Now that’s where it just gets all messed up.
If you have gotten used to the habit of learning without implementation, what do you get?
You get an illusion of competence and that means that you would then feel you have learnt it, you feel you are competent but that’s not competence at all because you haven’t implemented it.
So when you are learning something, stop and write down some of the things you can take action on and then take action or some of the things you have learnt and see how well you can implement it.
A lazy action is better than no action
We would all agree that the best way to learn something is actually to teach it.
It reminds me of a male friend I had in my senior year back then in high school.
After every chemistry class, he would always come and meet me to ask if I understood what the teacher had taught.
Well, I being someone always willing to learn something new and in a different way even if I actually understood would usually say no(plus I realized it often hits differently when your mate or someone you can relate easily with is teaching you rather than your teacher).
So he would begin to explain the best way he could and to my understanding.
I always gained something new every time but then I began to wonder why he always did that.
“Could it be that he likes me? ” (LOL) I thought to myself, but well “don’t flatter yourself too much dee”, I mumbled after
So it pretty much became a routine.
Eventually, I realized chemistry had been a little challenging for him the previous year and he had found out the secret to fast learning and retention at that time.
So it might seem like he was helping me by teaching me, well yes he was.
However, what he was actually doing was helping himself more and of course, it was evident in his results because he became the best in chemistry.
Now, Why didn’t I become the best and why did he become the best? That’s the practical role of input and output.
Whenever you learn something, always inculcate the habit of sharing it, teaching it, outputting it.
If you don’t want to teach, you could just share it or discuss it because when you share things to people, what you are actually doing is helping your brain pay more attention and before you realize it, you are on your way to mastery.
Summary on how to learn something fast
Basically, no one ever mastered the art of learning by just input which is to learn, rather they mastered learning by doing more of the output which is to reflect, implement and share.
When you are learning something new, how much time do you spend on learning and how much time do you spend on reflecting implementing and sharing?
If you find yourself spending more time on the input than on output then you are obviously going about it the wrong way.
As we know, all of these learning involves proper memorization.
How to memorize
So a little tip on how to memorize include:
you would agree with me when I say the brain happens to remember pictures and images better.
Reasons why we often hear “ Oh! Have we met before? I think I have seen you somewhere, sorry what’s your name?”
But you will never hear anyone say “Oh! I know your name please what’s your face?” (LOL). It doesn’t happen.
So that’s just how the human brain works. So when trying to memorize, learn to make use of images, pictures, videos etc.
Association is pretty easy and it involves relating what you are reading to things around you or other things which you can remember or easily relate to.
An example could be the characteristics of living things we were taught back in high school.
Many of us used the acronym “MR NIGER D” in order to remember it.
So acronyms too could be used as a form of association.
Creating acronyms you can relate to that could help you remember what you need to.
So, there are many other forms of associating whatever you are learning to anything that relates to you for better retention.
If you are spending X amount of time on input, then try to spend 2X amount of time on output and when you do so, you are on your way to mastering the art of learning.
Repin for later
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