All of us have our vices. Some of us like to eat that bag of donuts right after a workout while others stay up late watching reruns of TV shows.
Not a single one of us is perfectly efficient one hundred percent of the time, and we shouldn’t be either. It is useful though to get rid of some of those activities or habits that tend to hamstring us when we want to get better at something.
Here at 10 of those actions that keep us from reaching our learning potential.
1. You Don’t Jump In Deep Enough
Learning little fact here and there about the world is fun and interesting, but unless you are willing to jump into the subject a little deeper there will be two negative results.
- You won’t remember anything about it. It is interesting now but without further investigation it’s just random trivia.
- It won’t connect to anything else you are studying or interested in. Without knowing more about the context of the study from which these facts come, you won’t see the larger picture.
Without jumping in a bit you hold back future learning in that same area.
2. You Take In But Never Produce
If you really, really, really want to learn something, write about it, make a presentation on it, make a video, or teach a class.
Sure, taking in is part of the learning process, but when you actually have to explain that topic to someone else it becomes something else. There are holes in theories and ideas that need filling that you didn’t notice before. There are questions others may have that you never thought of yourself.
You have to prepare in such a way that your own understanding of the topic is drastically improved.
3. You Leave The Learning To The “Classroom”
You don’t necessarily have to be in school for this one to apply to you. Even if you are out of school and working a steady 9-5 you are at risk for this pitfall.
Don’t leave your classroom or workplace and instantly shut off your desire to learn. So many of us enter a zombie-like state when we get home.
This is nice and relaxing but all too often we will find ourselves sitting in the recliner from 5:30 to 10:00 having not remembered what happened in between.
Sure, relaxing is nice, but if you still want to learn and not feel like you are working find something else you are interested in and look into that topic. It may have nothing to do with anything but your mind will be working to connect it to your life and you may find something unexpected.
4. You Don’t Pay Attention To Your Productive Hours
So often I come home after a long day and think, “Now will be the time when I write a new article.” But the truth is it never gets done. Why? Because my most productive times of the day happen to be when I’m either working or doing something else.
So I had to make a change and now do a lot of my work over my lunch break.
You need to learn a little about yourself and when your capacity to learn or produce is at its highest. Doing this will pay dividends in the long run.
5. You Don’t Read Enough
Everyone already knows this one but how often do we still not do it? Reading is probably the most important aspect of learning yet one of the toughest to do consistently.
Reading anything you can will do, but sometimes we need a tough read to really push ourselves to understand something new.
6. You Avoid Mistakes
Everyone may hark on and on about how mistakes are part of life, but a deep dark secret of our current consumer society is that people don’t like it when mistakes are made. This puts a lot of pressure on those in these kinds of industries to try to never make mistakes or cover them up as best they can whenever one is made.
This is a silly way of life. Sure, we should not be afraid to make mistakes, but we should also not be afraid to tell others to chill when they are angry about somebody else making one.
7. You Don’t Involve Yourself With Projects
There is no denying it, we are goal-oriented creatures. We seek meaning and explanation in our daily life and goals supply that meaning.
And meaning brings emotion. Learning, backed by emotion, is cemented in the mind. When we feel passionate about something, we tend to retain it better.
Projects supply you with goals.They don’t have to be fancy. Anything from building a new fence to writing a book to drawing a picture will do. Get a goal in mind and get a plan to pull it off with excellence.
8. You Don’t Indulge Your Curiosity
Curiosity is an innate state of humans (amongst other animals). Certain things catch our eye and interest us. All too often we don’t really indulge in these curiosities because we are either at work or somewhere where it might be considered “weird.”
Let your random curiosities soar. Who cares if you find yourself wondering how the heck shampoo works or how water bottles get made? Stop what you are doing and find it out.
You may find out something pretty cool.
9. You’re Not Taking Advantage Of All Your Tools
We live in an age of information. It’s everywhere whether we like it or not. We are bombarded by it day in and day out.
Don’t get overwhelmed though and just shut down.
Use it to your advantage. We have laptops, phones, all of this smart wear and the like. We have libraries and Kindles and what have you. Pick your projects, your goals, your interests and get to work.
10. You Think Learning Should Be Easy
The older you get it seems like the harder it is to learn. Recent studies are showing that this isn’t quite as much the case as we thought it was, but it’s still a little bit true.
Some of the reasons are biological. Our hardware just doesn’t work the same as it used to.
But it’s also harder to learn because we spend so much time building our own perspective of the world that things that conflict with that perspective or attempt to change it in some way are difficult to incorporate, even if it is making us a better person.
Just like it takes continuous work to be healthy and work out, it takes continuous work in order to learn and grow.
It’s a never-ending adventure, one with a lot of trial and error, but one that pays off.
It’s the reason it takes endurance to learn. You need to be in it for the long haul, but you’ll find that if you keep it up, you won’t ever lack the determination to keep going.