5 Ridiculously Simple Strategies All Quick Learners Follow
I would consider myself a fairly quick learner.
The above photo is me as a teenager, playing classical piano—a skill I eventually “mastered” after racking up about two decades worth of practice.
I have applied many of the same lessons I learned at the piano to various aspects of my life, many of which appear unrelated: professional gaming, bodybuilding, advertising and marketing, writing, etc.
I attribute my ability to fluctuate so drastically between industries and skill sets simply because of the way I approach my work—not necessarily my inherent talent or IQ.
Here are some of the things I do:
1. Memory Tricks
Based on what we know about memory, we know it’s easier to remember something when it’s tied to a piece of knowledge we know deeply, than to try memorizing it in its solitude.
Case in point, try to memorize this series in order:
banana cream pie
Now close your eyes and see if you can repeat those five objects back, in order.
Chances are, unless you made it a point to “root” those objects somewhere in your memory, by the time you finished reading the above list, the list was gone.
But now, imagine your childhood home.
At the end of the driveway is a bloody dead pig.
And in front of the front door is your old bicycle with shiny silver spokes.
And as soon as you walk inside there is a bright red hat hanging on the banister.
And at the top of the stairs there is a glowing banana cream pie.
And what is the banana cream pie sitting on? A fat car tire.
Suddenly, it’s very easy to see these objects in order every time you think about your childhood home—and the bloody pig in front. That’s because we’ve created “triggers” for these objects, which are much easier to remember than information that floats around freely in your brain.
This is a memory trick, and very useful when you’re learning a ton of new information all at once.
2. Dig In
When you’re learning something new, you HAVE to be willing to fail.
You HAVE to be willing to create a lot of garbage.
And you HAVE to be ok with the process of what it takes to go from awful to average to good to great.
Quick learners the first ones to fall and the first ones to get back up again.
One thing I’ve always done when learning something new is I’ve thrown myself into it with total disregard to the consequences and/or potential outcomes.
This will end up teaching you the hard stuff first, and give you a better foundation to build on.
There is no better teacher than experience.
I think there is a huge misconception out there about what it takes to actually learn something . And it always seems like everyone else is just “smarter” or has a knack for “picking things up quickly.”
Hate to break it to you, but that’s rarely the case.
In order to learn, you have to practice, and the ones who learn faster are the ones who practice more.
Plain and simple.
Practice, practice, practice. It’s an input/output game.
The more you put in, the more you get out.
Finding a teacher or mentor is one of the quickest ways to get exposed to mass amounts of golden knowledge in the shortest amount of time.
Because they allow you to see the world through their eyes, and expose you to lessons that would otherwise take you years to discover, let alone understand.
That said, another huge part of learning is surrounding yourself with people like yourself, hungry to learn and in search of knowledge.
You will all end up teaching each other, and benefit greatly from the exposure of each individual’s unique approach to the craft.
5. Draw Parallels
This, I believe, is the root of all learning. If you do it once, you can do it again and again and again.
When I was a teenager, I played hockey and the piano. These two things taught me the building blocks of a few very important skills — practice, discipline, routines, etc.
When I was in high school, I applied these building blocks to video games and began to “master” them — becoming one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America.
When I graduated high school and took up music production, I applied what I’d learned playing competitive video games and forced myself to write and produce a song a day for a year straight.
When I picked up bodybuilding, I applied those same skills, lifting 6–7 days a week for 4 years, eating 5–6 meals a day.
While I studied creative writing in college, the rest of my peers would whine about “not feeling creative” and “having trouble writing.” Meanwhile, I was churning out endless material because, again, I applied that same work ethic to my craft.
I didn’t write when I felt like it. I wrote every day no matter what.
Over and over again, I applied the same principles I’d learned to different and seemingly unrelated crafts, and each time found a path towards mastery.
Quick learners always bring their own unique expertise to each new undertaking.
This is what allows them to “learn” so quickly — because they aren’t learning EVERYTHING from scratch all over again.
They’re applying what they know deeply and just changing the variables.
Thanks for reading! :)
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