My love for learning hasn't always been the most consistent. As a kid up until high school I was very curious, enjoyed reading and writing, basically most subjects I had an interest in, all the while loved being outside and being active as well. But as high school hit and into university, I just lost the motivation to continue learning. Reading and writing became more of an obligation, and 'learning' for the purpose of pursuing a 'higher education' and having to follow compulsory curriculums just did not sit right with me.
Learning at a young age was fun and exciting, but as I grew older it become more dutiful, and felt more like a societal requirement and responsibility in order to land some highly regarded job.
But I still had this itch to learn, as in learn for the pure excitement of learning. The joy I got from devouring The Hardy Boys series, or from speeding through the times table for the first time, or writing out my own murder mystery in elementary school, or learning to speak a bit of Spanish to my Latin friends, or learning to progressively get better at playing football, all of these moments are strongly ingrained in my memory and serve as reminders as why learning is so powerful and crucial to live a fulfilling life.
And as I was longing for something worth diving into, learning about, and obsessing over, along came Bitcoin. And boy has it been a learning experience and a half!
I still have so much more to learn about Bitcoin and probably will continue to have things to learn until my last breath. But Bitcoin has also been the catalyst that has awakened my learning spirit once again. And I am even more driven to learn and apply what I have learned into my life than ever before!
Traditional academia and education ended up putting my natural curiosity and willingness to learn into a deep slumber. The reasons to learn were always externally driven I felt. For a good job, to go to a good university, to live a stable life, so on and so forth. Basically I felt we were just being conditioned to 'learn' instead of actually learning for the sake of satisfying our inner curiosities and questions. Learning and knowledge should be something that allows you to feel empowered and yet within the confines of academia I felt I was becoming more and more enslaved.
So here I stand today. Constantly learning, building up my knowledge, linking my thinking, applying what I have learned, and sharing it in order to collaborate and communicate with others, as well as expand my consciousness with new ideas I receive from the plethora of brilliant brains in spaces such as on SN.
Truth is, I'm still learning to learn.
Therefore, I'm curious to know, how do you optimize your learning?
When I was younger I was pretty diligent about reading at least one chapter from several different subjects everyday.
These days, I have more of an unschooled approach. Whatever grabs my interest I dive into more and I don’t try to force myself to study anything.
The unschooled approach I like better as well, there is more freedom to it, but sometimes I struggle to make sure I stay disciplined (contrary to your SN name lol) on the topic of interest and jump around instead of focusing on the initial topic. Which isn't a terrible thing, but for me it can lead to being learned only on the surface level of a topic instead of comprehending the depth.
Someday, when my mental bandwidth recovers, I'd like to get back into deeper learning. That's purely aspirational for now, though.
How Sensei Optimises His Learning
  1. Begin with the end in mind
I studied Japanese because I wanted to join the Japan Exchange Teaching program. I now want to learn Markdown because I am interested to experiment with how formatting slightly tweaks the impact of my message. Having a goal to strive towards fights off inertia.
  1. Just learn one thing at a time
It’s tempting to go all out in the pursuit of learning, but I tell myself it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I also don’t let myself get discouraged when I cannot milk time out for learning. Since I want to know more about teaching dyslexics, I sometimes post that ONE question on a discussion forum. Then, when I read the answer the next day, I consider my learning to have been accomplished that day. Grandiose goals, baby steps.
  1. Apply what I learn
When I integrate my newfound understanding into my life, I will feel that learning is worthwhile. The other day, I read about how effective writers write a loooooong complicated sentence, leading the reader through twists and turns & charting an exciting journey before following it up with a short one. The climax before the plunge. I tried to use this tip in my writing. If I feel that I have levelled up by 1%, I will be inclined to do so every day!
  1. Monetise my learning
So, I have taken to blogging again recently. I could post about what I have learnt on my blog and get my one cent from Google Adsense for the day. Here’s my recent book review.
Hope this gives you some ideas. I tried to use different examples to illustrate the various points.
Obsidian has been a great tool for me to learn and practice markdown.
Application is paramount for sure! I could read up and learn about something on optimizing health or sports performance, but if I never apply it to my own life what was the point of learning about it?
Monetization via sharing what I have learned and experienced has been a new experience, but it does add motivation to my learning process, as I now want to make sure I'm learning at a deeper level and applying everything I learned and taking meaningful experiences from what I learned in order to best share my newfound knowledge and to add value to the world in some way.
Learning is a lifelong process. Nwe should definitely optimize our learning.
Indeed it is and that is the beauty of it! Unfortunately, so many of us stop seriously learning after we graduate from school....
10 sats \ 1 reply \ @Fabs 15 May
I write about it.
Yes, writing has helped me learn better as well!
Reading is key. Reading high quality material accelerates learning. You get decades of an author's knowledge and experience condensed into a few hours of focused reading. I can feel my brain and spirit growing when reading good stuff. Optimize your learning by reading great books. Full stop.
Reading is key for sure! Do you highlight or take notes when you read?
I don't take notes, typically. Nor do I highlight. But I look up every single word that I don't know. And I frequently look up the etymologies of words as well. This practice has improved my vocabulary immeasurably. Also, I concentrate when I read so that I comprehend what I am reading. Sometimes I will catch myself scanning without internalizing. I will then reread what I glossed over so I capture the meaning of the sentence or paragraph.