Quick learning strategies

1: Put it into practice – do some worked examples. mindmap the application of it to something you’re currently doing, You can’t learn golf from a book, you need to swing a club at a ball. You can’t learn Ruby on Rails from a book – you need to put together a site.

2: Find someone who knows how, and has a reputation for being good at explaining things. Ask them to explain something. Buy them lunch if needed. If you don’t understand something, ask them to repeat it. If you don’t understand it then, ask them to explain it a different way. If they can’t, or they won’t, or you still don’t understand, find someone else to explain it.

3: Find someone else who is keen to learn about the same subject, and arrange to get together with them regularly (online or in meatspace), to run through how things are going.

4: Each month, go and buy a magazine in a category you’ve never bought before. I don’t care what – Interior Design, Fishing, Cooking, Sports Cars, anything really. Read it – you may pick up a ‘pattern’ that resonates with something else, elsewhere, and much of learning is about patterns. (Even if you don’t, you’ll learn something, so the day won’t be a waste.)

5: If you are in a meeting situation (class, business, club, whatever), don’t be afraid to put up your hand and say ‘Sorry, can you just explain why…’ a bit more. Stupid people will think you are stupid. Intelligent people will admire you. This helps discover who the people to start networking with are.

6: Accept that mastery takes time and practice…. and isn’t a constant upwards curve. Learn to love the plateaus.

7: If you are having trouble getting something, write it out, longhand (not on a computer) on a pad of paper, just before you are going to bed. (Ideally, wait until you are in bed, do it, then close your eyes and go to sleep). You don’t actually need the conscious mind to be involved to internalise a lot of things.

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