Have you ever wondered what it is an effective method to learn something? In the last 3-4 years I switched from a common lifestyle where I was reading maybe one book a year, to a more exciting lifestyle now where I read at least one book per week.
Do you guess something? 80% of what I’ve studied in the last 4 years is gone, probably 2 days after I studied it. Why? Because what I read was useless for me at that time. Don’t get me wrong, reading is a great mind workout per se, but let’s try to focus on the remaining 20% to see if we can get something out.
First, I want to clarify that I had the opportunity to study a wide range of topics from programming languages to business, from self-development to marketing, and from neurology to math. You can an almost up to date list of books I’ve read here.
There were two reasons I learned fast and with nearly permanent memory: necessity and curiosity. I believe these two emotions are the key to effective learning.
Necessity is so important because is something you can’t miss. It often happened to me the necessity to resolve a particular problem with a time constraint and to be able to solve it a few minutes only because I had no other chance.
If you think about it, our brain is built to solve immediate problems like eating, defend himself, resting etc., so it becomes natural to be able to learn something fast when you absolutely need it.
On the other hand, curiosity is also a powerful tool when it comes to learning. I particularly noticed this when I studied neurology because I was really interested to know how certain parts of the brain works together, and so my brain had always the illusion to receive important information.
So how can we take advantage of these two emotions to accelerate our learning process? I have a theory for this, and it’s the following: first, try to pick a topic that interests you, for example you may buy a book about a particular programming language or a business book. Now, there’s a good chance that the book itself will be boring after page 5, so you must try to maintain a constantly high level of curiosity. To do this, imagine that you were reading a book that would explain to you how to become reach in one week (or something very exciting for you); try to reproduce that sensation with everything you read from now on.
At this point you should be able to easily read the whole book in a couple of ours, but you would forget its content quickly if you don’t take action. It’s here where necessity plays an important role. Returning to our previous examples, you could either create a project with your new programming language, or improve your existing business of 20% with the new information you just acquired. Try to be very emotional at this point, you should feel an urgency to get back to work and realize something concrete.
If you don’t know where to start, start with what you’ve just read in this topic. I guarantee that if you follow this method you’ll learn (and produce) awesome things.
And remember that taking action is the single most important thing to do. Most people don’t succeed because they don’t take action. Why? Because it’s not really necessary for them to do so. Why should they try to build a passive income if they already have a job that pays the bills? Why should they learn a new language if they already know English? The point is that real necessity will eventually arrive and it will be harder to achieve results, so start early and enjoy the results.