“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
And that is the reason I say that your learning ability decides your earning capacity. And that’s also the reason why if you learn faster, you will stand out from everyone else. If you learn faster, you can go from underpaid to being overpaid. And if you learn faster, you can have an unfair advantage over others.
So the question is: HOW DO YOU LEARN?
So it all starts with input and what I mean by input. Now, most people just focus way too much on input. What I mean by input is they go to seminars, they read books, they watch videos, they listen to podcasts, they follow blogs, it’s input, input, input, input and more input.
But there’s nothing wrong with learning. The problem is if you have too much of input with no output, what happens is you have shallow learning; that’s not good. What we want is not shallow learning.
For example, how many of you had this experience where, you know, some of your friends come to you and say, Hey, read this book? And then you go, yeah. Would you learn from this book? And then they go, Oh, it’s a good book. It’s a good book. It’s a very good book, you know?
And then you go, OK, like, I understand what you’re saying, but what’s the take away from this book for you? I’d say? I tell you, you must read this book.
Well, what is the point of learning something if you can’t implement it and benefit from this, that is pure intellectual entertainment, nothing else? We don’t want shallow learning. We want deep learning. And how do you do that? We do it. It’s very simple.
For true mastery, you need to focus more on the output rather than the input. You need to focus more on the output rather than the input.
So raise your hand if you’ve heard this thing before. Yeah, thank you very much. So use it. This is so true with learning. When you learn something, if you don’t use it, if you don’t output it, you lose it. So that’s the reason why we should become more of an output person than input.
Here’s my formula of how you can be a master at anything.
The first thing is, of course, learn, which is what you already are doing. But the interesting thing is, when you are learning, you must ensure that the quality of input is really, really high. You must be paying 100% attention. But the problem is when people are learning these days, what do they do? They do MULTITASKING, because of the devices that you’re actually holding right now. Because of the phones that we have, people do multitasking.
Just imagine you, and you’re reading a book when you’re watching a video, you have your phone nearby. And while you’re reading, while you’re learning, while you’re understanding and the phone message goes off, there’s the notification goes off. What do you do? Of course, you attend to it. When you attend to it. What happened? What you just did? You killed your momentum. You messed up with the quality of input.
Now, here’s the thing, your quality of input determines the quality of retention. How well and how long can you remember information, it also affects the quality of recall. That’s the reason why my suggestion is, if you are learning something, at least for the time you’re learning, you should be doing not multitasking but the exact opposite of it, which is a single task.
Do one thing at one time, especially when it comes to learning. Stay away from distractions, pay 100% attention, and then you’ll be well on your way to mastering. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is, of course, is REFLECT. Now many people are in a rush to learn new things, which is good. But the problem is you also need to do reflect, what I mean by that. After you learn something, pause for a while and ask yourself: hey, what’s the takeaway from this thing? And how can I use this information in my life? How can I use information in my work, in my family?
When you pause, when you reflect when you ask these questions, that’s how learning solidifies. Otherwise, it’s all just wasted.
After reflect, the next step is IMPLEMENT. And this is where the magic happens. Unfortunately, many people miss out on this. What they do, is they go on learning new things, they get excited, and they feel good, they feel inspired, and they go on to learn something new. You just mess up.
But the problem is, if you get into the habit of just learning without implementation, you know what you get, you get the illusion of competence. You feel you’ve learned it, you feel you’re competent, but it’s not competence at all, because you haven’t implemented.
So my suggestion is when you are learning something, stop, write down what are the few things I can take action on, schedule it in the calendar and take some action because this is what one of my mentors told me:
“Nishant, a lousy action is better than no action.”