5 Things in Life Worth Learning

Plus the first three steps you can take.

Eva Keiffenheim
Jun 10 · 5 min read
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“Which life skills have earned you the highest dividends?” a writer friend recently asked.

After pondering a week about it, these are my answers. You will also find the first three steps you can take to master each skill.

1) Investing to not worry about money.

Financial Literacy is inherited. If your parents aren’t smart about money, chances are you never learned about investing.

In the last three years, I read finance books and learned from the best people on the internet. I realized your salary wouldn’t make you rich, but your spending habits will. I understood that wealth isn’t about how much you make but about how much you save and invest.

Since this realization, I don’t save what is left after spending. Instead, I spend what is left after saving.

Your first three steps on learning this skill:

  1. Start your journey to financial wealth by reading ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad.’ The author is a scam, but the book still offers great pieces of wisdom.
  2. Educate yourself about Exchange Traded Funds. Once you understood the concept, read Rami Sethi’s ‘I will teach you to be rich’ and automate your investing plan.
  3. Read the ‘Almanack of Naval Ravikant’ to understand that you’re never going to get rich renting out your time. Rich people got wealthy by establishing systems that make money independent from time.

2) Reading to remember.

Do you ever close a non-fiction book and worry whether reading is a time-waster? If you ever feel like the knowledge in a book can’t help you live a better life, it’s likely because you don’t know how to read to remember.

Many people rely on passive reading. But our brains don’t work like recording devices. The words on the pages don’t magically stick to our memory.

To make reading effective, you need to factor in the two components of learning and memory: the learned information itself and the so-called retrieval cue that helps you find the material you learned.

Your first three steps on learning this skill:

  1. Elaborate on what you read. Whenever you stumble upon something interesting, scribble your thoughts on the book’s page or in your favorite note-taking app.
  2. Write a summary after you finish a book. How can you summarize the book in three sentences? Which ideas do you want to keep in mind and apply? How does the book relate to what you already know?
  3. Teach and explain the contents of the book to your friends or co-workers. This is also the technique Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman used to remember what he learned.

3) Storytelling to build relationships.

People can’t connect with facts. Instead, they connect with emotions and moments of insight and transformation. One of the best ways to build relationships is by telling relatable stories.

Yet, many people don’t know how to captivate an audience. They recite a list of events, get lost in abstractions, or take away the surprise before even starting.

As a result, the listener feels bored. Instead of wondering where a story will take them, all they care about is when it will finally end. Luckily, storytelling is a skill you can learn.

Your first three steps on learning this skill:

  1. Learn from Matthew Dicks, aka the best storyteller I know. Start by watching his 17-minute TED Talk.
  2. Think about a blockbuster moment: A transformational insight that forever changed the way you think about a specific topic. The best stories reflect change over time. Tell the transformative story to a friend.
  3. Practice in public. Join your local Toastmaster community or go through the TED masterclass. Here’s my attempt at practicing in public.

4) Meditating to feel content.

The benefits of meditation don’t come instantaneously. But after meditating almost every day for the past years, the practice has changed many aspects of my life.

I can better read my body signals and have the mental space to follow them. Meditation helped me let go of the things I can’t control. I’m less stressed because I understand stress is the difference between reality and how I want reality to be.

Your first three steps on learning this skill:

  1. Watch this TED talk by Matthieu Ricard on meditation as a key habit of happiness.
  2. Download the Waking Up (a lot of talking) or the Headspace app (less talking) and complete the introduction course.
  3. Dive deeper by reading a book by Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Sadhguru, or Deepak Chopra.

5) Learning how to learn.

No skill will earn you greater dividends than learning how to learn. Yet, most people never master meta-learning.

In 2013 I studied like crazy to prepare for my Bachelor’s most important exam. I spent weeks in the library, and yet, I failed. Out of despair, I watched Dr. Barbara Oakely’s online course on learning how to learn. I’ve aced every exam and test ever since.

After reaping the benefits, I went deeper into the topic. Reading more than 15 books on learning, I’ve noticed a recurring pattern: it’s less important what kind of brain you have — what matters is how you use it.

Your first three steps on learning this skill:

  1. If you can find 10 hours, do this free course by Dr. Barbara Oakley. It’s deservedly the most-watched online course, and I’ve watched it thrice. If you don’t find the time, read this article or go through ​this mindmap.
  2. Read the book ‘Make it stick.’ You’ll realize the factors that shape your intellectual ability lie to a surprising extent within your control. After reading, you’ll understand how to make the best learning techniques work for you.
  3. Read the articles on Farnam Street. The blog explores various topics, such as deliberate practice, double-loop learning, learning from failure, the half-life of facts, and spaced repetition. The site serves as an excellent refresher to the other resources.

Want to feel inspired and improve your learning?

Subscribe free to The Learn Letter. I read a book and 50 articles a week, and each Wednesday, you’ll receive the best in your inbox. This newsletter will make you find tools and resources that help you on your path to health, wealth, and wisdom.

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Eva Keiffenheim

Written by

Learning Enthusiast, Writer with +650K Views | Here to elevate your love for learning | Get your free learn-letter: http://bit.ly/learnletter

Ascent Publication

Strive for happier. Join a community of storytellers documenting the climb to happiness and fulfillment.

Eva Keiffenheim

Written by

Learning Enthusiast, Writer with +650K Views | Here to elevate your love for learning | Get your free learn-letter: http://bit.ly/learnletter

Ascent Publication

Strive for happier. Join a community of storytellers documenting the climb to happiness and fulfillment.

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