Learning is key to success. How many new things do you learn in a month? Surely the more new and relevant things you learn in a given time span the greater your improvement is expected to be in that period. So there is definitely more than one good reason to want to learn things faster. It’s a subject we’ve covered before but I thought we could follow it up with practical tips that you can use to not only learn things faster but to ensure they stick.
The first step to getting something right is to reiterate the lesson. There is a school of thought that states that it takes 11 inputs to fully grasp something. Whether or not you agree with the number it is fair to say multiple inputs will help you learn something better. So when you want to learn something make sure you approach it wisely and use multiple inputs. One way I love to do this is when reading on a subject I will look for podcasts that discuss the same issue. I will read and practice the subject then take a leisurely listen to podcasts that discuss the subject matter. This accelerates the rate at which I understand the practical implications of the subject matter.
Relate to something you know
The best teachers cultivate a habit of explaining new concepts to students by relating them to something the students already have a grasp of. And you should do the same. Find ways of relating the new subject to the subject matter you already understand or to something you understand that is linked to it. If you’re a regular reader you may have already noticed this in the way I employ examples in articles. This is one of the best aids to understanding a subject.
Practice right away
In most if not all cases you are learning the new thing to use or employ it somehow. So it makes sense to apply the new knowledge or information right away. Nothing teaches you better than the practical application of the skills. Also the mistakes you make in the process will teach you a lot and give you a really deep understanding of how and why some things are done the way they are done. What I would advise is to practice in a low-pressure environment as you may experience teething pains and a steep learning curve. You do not want mistakes or failure to cost you heavily. Mastery is learnt in low-pressure situations so it can be applied in high-pressure situations. When I learned to bake I aimed for repeating a recipe 10 times and would aim to make sure those 10 times were in the space of a month.
Practising right away will give you an understanding. It is practising continuously that will deliver you to the promised land of mastery. With experience, you can practice the skill in higher pressure situations so the opportunities to practice will become plenty as you progress in your journey. For the most part, the experienced and novices do the same things; apply the basics. The difference as Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in Outliers is that experienced people spend more time practising the basics and perform better at them.
This one isn’t always applicable but it is a pearl of long-held wisdom that the best way to learn something is to teach someone. Firstly finding someone who wants to learn the skill may be difficult. Secondly, the degree to which you can teach may not be ideal to completely teach. And finally, the risk of getting it wrong is quite high if you are still learning. All that considered you will still gain a lot of value from teaching someone. It will quickly expose your level of knowledge or lack thereof. My advice would be to teach one person rather than look to teach groups.
These tips are guaranteed to help you learn things faster and better. You can speed up your journey to mastery. The faster you learn the current skill the faster you can move on to the next level or the next skill whichever the case is for you. Do you have any other practical ideas that can help people learn faster? Share them with us, please.