How to Accelerate Your Learning Curve
Guest post by Eduard Ezeanu
I’m fortunate enough to know a lot of people whom you might call ‘high achievers’. You know: the kind of people who make a tone of money, manage 5 successful businesses or they’re top professionals in their fields while still in their 20’s.
One think I’ve noticed they all have in common is a very fast learning curve. They were able to learn things faster, better and at a younger age than 99% of human beings. Thus, they can get at a young age results most people need two lifetimes to achieve.
Here’s the best news: although it also has an innate part, a fast learning curve is for the most part something you develop. Following certain principles, you can accelerate your learning curve and maximize your results. There are 4 principles which I believe are the most important.
1. Build on your strengths. Counter-intuitively, the fastest way to grow as a person is not fixing your flaws; it’s further strengthening your strengths. This means that you identify the things you’re naturally good at and you continue to learn in the same direction.
So if you’re good with numbers, you learn finances, if you’re good with words, you learn public speaking. This way, you reinforce natural abilities with connected learned abilities and you become exceptionally good in a certain area. This is great because exceptional skills create exceptional results.
2. Dedicate huge blocks of time to learning. I find that past high-school, college or the first years of work, most people don’t learn much. Their work becomes repetitive; their free time no longer involves stimulating activities, their brains become kind of like chewing gum.
If you wanna accelerate your learning curve, you want to do the exact opposite. You want to set bold personal development goals for yourself and dedicate a big piece of your time to achieving them. You want to practice life-long learning and you want to commit to it.
3. Get great mentors. A lot of our learning happens naturally if we interact with people who are true role models for us. We naturally tend to model and imitate them. If on top of this, we add conscious, analytic modeling, then the learning process skyrockets.
This is where great mentors come in. They are people who possess extraordinary skills in certain areas and can greatly help us grow. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to be very sociable and seek to meet these kinds of people, and then build quality relationships with them. It will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
4. Believe in your power to learn. There are a lot of limiting, disempowering messages we hear about learning, which have little to do with reality. For example, the common talk about the fact that adults learn harder than children. Guess what? That’s a bunch of baloney.
There are some serious studies which indicate the exact opposite: since adults are more capable to organize their learning process, they are actually better at learning many things than children are. Be willing to doubt the things you hear about learning around you and learn to believe in your ability to learn.
5. Structure your learning. Speaking of adults and organizing the learning process, this is one of those things which the more you apply, the more benefits you get. As an adult, you will naturally tend to structure your learning, but it’s best to also do it consciously.
Organizing your learning can include many things:
- Chunking the material into small pieces,
- Ordering the material using a criteria;
- Taking breaks and varying your tasks;
- Learning at the best times during the day.
The fundamental idea is to use your head to manage the learning process. Logic, creativity and a good understanding of how human learning works can make a huge difference.
I remember that many years ago, I heard a trainer say something I found truly inspirational about learning and change: there are only two types of people who don’t learn and don’t change. The first type is in mental hospitals, the other type is six feet under.
Apply the four principles above and not only that you will learn, but you will do so in an accelerated way. You will see this manifest in the most practical way possible: the real-world results you can produce.
Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. He has recently launched the site Conversation Starters and he also writes on his blog, People Skills Decoded.
Huh! So is it 4 principles? Or 5?? Sorry – sadly one of my strengths is pedantry!!
Seriously, thanx for some great advice although I’m grappling with whether or not points 1 & 2 are contradictory. If I only focus on what I’m already good at (as per point 1), maybe that mightn’t be a bold enough personal development goal (as per point 2)! I see that wasting energy on things for which I have no natural talent may be counterproductive, but some of my most rewarding achievements come from mastering things I found truly difficult! Results vs life balance, perhaps?
But I guess that’s a whole other discussion.
Thanx again for some thought provoking and useful pointers!!
Happy New Year!
Ooops, that is 5 :)
That’s an interesting point on difficulty. I think there is another way to be bold than developing non-talents: setting really high personal development goals, but in areas you already have talent for. So you get challenge and valorification of your nature at the same time.
Eduard, my favorite point is the one about believing in our power to learn. I’ve never heard it phrased that way before, and I think you’re on to something. thanks for sharing :)
meanwhile, i also can’t stop starring at your name! it’s very unique. do you mind sharing the origin of your last name?
Eduard I tell people to go the the Book a Million and continue to educate yourself..I’m there every week reading something..
“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”
Ha, well said…
It’s great that these people learn at an early age. What about those of us who are no longer what anyone in their right mind would call a young age!
It’s never to late to learn something new Steve. Each age has its pros and cons for learning. Young people seem to have more flexibility in learning, but older people have better developed cognitive structures so they often assimilate things easier.
Indeed, Eduard. I very much believe it is never too late for the proverbially dog to learn new tricks. I’ve done it myself many a time (a year ago I didn’t know what a Blog was!). We all have the innate ability to create new epochs in our lives. Creating a new epoch requires consciously setting new aspirations and aims that challenge how we regularly do things. Especially poignant is when we “believe in our power to learn”(#4) we can take on new challenges eagerly and enthusiastically.
I think we’ve touched on this subject before, you and me. You set quite an example for the proverbially dog learning new tricks. Real people are the best evidence ;)
I find that as an adult all I want to do is learn. I could spend hours/weeks/months learning a new skill, especially if it has anything to do with blogging.
Thanks for sharing these tips. Life-long learning is so important, and I think we could all use a little encouragement sometimes to ‘sharpen the saw’!
Great post. I totally agree with principle #1. It is far better to be a master in just one single thing than to be mediocre at many things and get lost in the crowd.
Dedicating yourself to learning does work. But when you apply when you learned. Well then you take the cake my friend. Then you take the cake. Great post Eduardo.
The beauty, as you point out, is we can learn how to learn by modeling the best.
What has always served me well is learning how I learn best and owning my learning path.
Great advice, I definitely agree with your points.
Although I would add: Take the time to Teach others (& Give back)
I have learnt how to improve my learning skills by giving answers that you have to go & hunt for the answers. You are also forced to put thing in your own words, which improves your understanding of the topics as well.
Q: If you are already working, How do you get a mentor inside the company? Do you know any other posts that cover that topic?