It’s hard to change.

Image Credit: Big Think

Learning is a very important part of being human. If you don’t learn, you can’t grow and if you don’t grow you can’t survive.

So it’s a pretty neat thing to do regularly.

But… as with everything else, it’s a double edged sword.

Why?

Well picture this, you want to own a successful business and you’re of the belief that all you need to do is set up shop and people will flock to you to buy your service, except they don’t and you don’t know why.

Let’s assume you rarely read, but one day, a friend of yours sends you an article from entrepreneur.com and you’re suddenly introduced to the concept of online marketing and communities.

It’s a whole new frontier opened for you, but it’s also a dilemma because this new information you’ve received forces you to question “YOU”.

It forces you to question your choices, both past and present.

It forces you to question your habits.

It forces you to question your beliefs.

And it leaves you conflicted, because now you’re closer to the truth and so far your life doesn’t measure up.

To act or to ignore. Image Credits: Deviant Art

So now you have two choices, ignore what you’ve learnt and act as if all is good and fine or act on what you now know.

Most people choose the former and I don’t blame them, change doesn’t come easy, in fact your brain is wired for repetition

Before we go on, I’d like to point out that this article applies to people who have trouble acting on things they learn. If you do not fall into this category then this article is not for you.

You can choose to leave this page or you can select your pick from my other articles here.

Moving on,

As young adults, learning is probably the single most important thing we can invest in, because like I mentioned learning leads to growth.

Growth leads to refinement, whether it’s a promotion at work, expanding your business, having better social skills hence communicating better or having a healthier relationship with yourself.

But then, what’s the point of learning if what you learn stays stuck in your head.

Sure you’ll know more and thus have a lot more potential. But potential energy is ineffective till it becomes kinetic energy; energy in motion.

And the only way to practice what you’ve learnt is by acting, no matter how small and no matter how imperfect.

But these things are easier said than done, so I’ll drop a few pointers to help you integrate the habit of active learning.

  1. Think process, rather than results:
Systems vs Goals. Image Credits: James Clear

If you really take a moment to think about results, you’ll see that they are not isolated events, but are the effects of a process just like a fever is the side effect of your body’s attempt to fight a parasite.

For example, getting rich is the result of providing a service that people will gladly pay for and good financial management of the money you make.

A result or outcome can never happen without its originating process, even if it happens as a fluke, it was still the result of the required process. Nature is perfect; there are no trees without seeds.

So let’s say you want to learn how to play the guitar, rather than trying to sound like Bruno Mars, try to focus on the basics, like notes, keys, chords etc. and practice these fundamentals regularly.

Eventually you’ll find that you’re good at playing the guitar and then you can choose to sound like Bruno or whoever catches your fancy.

2. Kaizen:

Image Credit: I am Kaizen

Kaizen is a concept originating from ancient Japan which incorporates the principle of compound interest and habit building. The concept states that a 5% increase every day will compound into a massive increase over time.

A good example is the folded paper theory, which states that if you fold a piece of paper on itself 47 times over, it will be thick enough to reach the moon.

In essence, aim for small improvements rather than instant perfection. Start with the smallest thing possible, if you want to get better at reading or read more, start with a page, then increase it the next day, by one line and then the next day by two lines.

It will feel small and inconsequential but as time goes on, you’ll be tearing through books on a regular.

3. Your environment influences you

Image Credits: Iz Quotes

Quitting weed while living in a trap house is an effort doomed to failure. Reducing your junk food intake when your fridge is stocked from your latest trip to the mall is self-deception. Reading while the TV is on will leave you the same as before you read a single line.

The point here is that, you’re not stronger than your external environment. If you want to practice a new skill or habit, change your environment into one that will suit the new skill.

For example, buying foodstuff rather than junk food will force you to cook rather than going out to buy junk food, switching off your phone when you’re busy will make practicing focus easier.

Rather than exerting unnecessary willpower on a battle you can’t win, work with your environment, it’s much easier.

4. Roll with goons who do the things you want to learn:

When I was in my third year in the university, my roommates were FIFA gods. I was a novice, but I wanted to learn to play FIFA better, so I played them.

Obviously I got thrashed a lot, but because I was playing guys that were far better than me, I improved really quickly.

You can do the same with whatever it is you want to learn. I don’t recommend trying to do what people who are more advanced than you do, that can lead to discouragement as you’re still a beginner.

But being in their company will keep you accountable and motivated and you’ll find that in time you’ll be able to sit at the table with the men.

5. Find a learning partner:

We all know that doing things with friends or other people takes a lot of the toll of the activity, also sharing accomplishments and growing with people is one of life’s pleasures.

Same goes with learning. It’s why study groups can be very effective (if you guys are serious).

Learning with someone provides encouragement for those times you’re down and also company for the times the road gets lonely, which it will.

6. Talk to people about the things you’ve learnt:

Talking about what you’ve learnt keeps you sharp. It also forces you to stay accountable as you have to keep up the image.

And it can also lead to deeper understanding as you have to frame the things you’ve learnt in a way that the person you’re talking to can understand which requires you breaking it down and questioning it, which are essential aspects of learning.

7. Be prepared to fuck up:

Yeahh, there’s not much you can do about this, at some point you’ll mess up here and there, you’ll forget, you’ll skip a learning session out of laziness, you won’t exercise because you’re tired, you’ll eat junk food, sometimes you might even binge on it. Yeah you’ll do all of that because you’re not a robot and because life is hard, we all need a break.

What’s important though is that you do not hate yourself after you mess up, rather, you stay true to your goal, you wipe yourself and get back up, you probe as to why you messed up and the conditions that led to it, and then you start small again till you’re back to 100%.

You have to be able to forgive yourself and move on, the greatest of men fall. That’s all there is to it.

So that’s it, that’s all I have for you, if you feel there’s anything I left out, feel free to let me know in the comment section.

Learning is a vital skill, it’s also a process and processes take time, patience, faith and surrender. I’ll talk about those in another post.

Till then, stay chilled. Peace.