Lets be honest, anyone who says that they are done learning, is also done growing in their lives. I have had a life long love affair with ongoing learning for as long as I remember. During that time, one thing has become evident to me, ….not all learning is equal.
But before we get in to that, take a minute to honesty answer the following questions about your learning?
How do you decide what or need to learn something new?
Do you start to learn things but loose interest quickly after starting them?
How do you go about learning any subject or topic?
Which way do you learn best?
When is the best time to learn?
For me, answering those questions threw a huge spotlight on the way I used to learn. In the process I took the time to step back and discover how I could deliberately structure my learning to skyrocket my results in any area of my life.
The key word here is deliberate.
The Big Enough Why?
To be successful in learning any subject there has to be a big enough WHY?
Why do you want to learn this subject in the first place?
If you are like most people, probably you think that learning is all about increased skills or knowledge leading to more money, more sales or more pleasure in a hobby or interest. But what does that ultimately give you?
Dig deep enough though and you will discover that it isn’t just about having more money, but what does that money give you,… dig a little deeper again and it all comes back to a feeling that you get from the end result of that learning.
Let me illustrate …… you decide to learn a better closing technique, that means more sales commission, leading to more money from commission, you know have more disposable income to spend on a new car or home, which increases your social status, and ultimately leads to you feeling good about yourself.
Get crystal clear on why you are learning a subject and what it will give you. Using this method to evaluate your learning choices will show you why you started down the path of learning some things and then gave them up.
Ultimately, you have the greatest level of success learning when that learning is directly related to you achieving your goals.
Just in Time or Just In Case
Another thing to consider when learning anything is when you learning it. There is a great phrase originally coined by the Internet Marketer, Eben Pagan, which asks is your learning just in time or just in case?
Simply put, there are things that you need to be learning and a time to be learning them.
Sometimes learning can be too haphazard and unstructured. With the explosion of information and instructional information on the Internet it is all too easy to learn for the sake of learning. Whilst I am not… this is a bad thing, if your why is clear the next big question is …..
How Deliberate is Your Learning Choices?
The key word here is deliberate. If you have any goal of any size it will mean a journey of many steps. This will involve you learning skill or a set of skills / knowledge that’s ultimately leads you to your end goal.
So take a few minutes and look at one of your goals
Next, take a sheet of paper and list all the things you will need to learn to reach that goal
The first thing that becomes evident is that there is very definite sequences to learning these skills in, some naturally come before or after others *(Just in time that’s is)
So the next thing to do is rearrange the list of skills into the logical sequence, tin which the natural building blocks that naturally build upon each other.
You now have the Sequencing of how you should learning each part of the skill or skills
Sometimes one of the skills or areas of knowledge is way too big to learn in one go. All you need do here is break the skill down into smaller and smaller chunks until it becomes manageable.
By effectively using Chunking and sequencing you can break any skill or subject down into manageable bit size pieces and dramatically increase you level of success and speed of learning.
Not all pieces are Created Equal
One thing you will discover when learning any skill is that not all the pieces are equal in helping you learn the tasks. Some of the chunks are more important to the process than others
This 80:20 relationship means that if you can identify theses competent you will learn more effortlessly and quicker. So just how can you do this?
Identify someone that already has and can perform this skill, and speak to them. What you are looking for is the 2 or 3 things that best performers of the skill do that even seasoned pros mess up.
The next thing to do is to identify people that are good at the skill despite not possessing what you considered to be essential for good performance of the skills. What is that they do that allows them to preform the skill in spite of their supposed limitations?
Your task is to identify the difference that makes the difference and you will massively increase your learning speed beyond the norm.
The cycle of learning
There is a very definite 4-step cycle we all go through when learning any new skill
- Unconscious incompetence: The First stage of learning any new skill is when you don’t know how to do the task and are unaware of what you don’t know
- Conscious incompetence: Next you become conscious aware of what you don’t know or cant do
- Conscious competence: Next you become able to perform the skill with deliberate conscious action
- Unconscious competence: Finally you become so proficient at performing the task that you can carry it out with out having to conscious concentrate of carrying out the task
So that’s concludes the overview of deliberate self directed learning.
Over the forthcoming articles we will look at how you speed this process up and delve into the entire area of holistic and accelerated learning