Since leaving Uni I’ve found it really difficult – despite all of my best intentions – to keep learning as an adult.
Uni helped me 1. learn new things, 2. learn how to learn new things and 3. unlearn stupid things. This is much harder to do without accountably and structure.
Seven years later however, and I’m going through something of a personal learning renaissance! This has been like wearing tumble dried socks after walking in sandals through the rain: Heaven.
Here are three really simple things that I’ve been doing that have been helping me to learn new things, exercise how to think and learn how to break bad thinking habits. Maybe you could try them too?
1. Watch TED constantly.
TED brings the best communicators and thinkers from around the world and gives them a very short amount of time to blow away their audiences. The talks have to be properly researched, thoroughly thought-through and creatively presented. Easy, digestible and discussable mental stimulation.
2. Learn to speed read …. properly.
I had to speed read a lot in Uni because our reading lists were simply terrifying! This was usually skimming through for key words and quotes while quickly digesting conclusions. However, by utilising peripheral vision theory of word groups and following lines properly I’ve sped up my reading time about 40% – reading EVERY word! This means I can read more intently, widely and quickly.
3. Write as a job.
I’m now a part-time freelance writer for startups and charities. I have to research an incredible breadth of topics so that I can write in the required voices and sound like an authority in any given topic. I have to sound like the client who obviously does know their trade and market. Just this past month I’ve written for a world class robotics firm, a martial arts academy, a private tuition agency and a start up exterior plastering trade. Writing with the pressure of a client means you have to research, think and communicate on several different levels.
The smartest people that I’ve ever met are incredibly convicted but not at all black-or-white. I think the more of complexity you understand the more scope you will give to variables. Thinking is a gift; one that I take very seriously…. some of the time. It’s well worth getting gritty with our brains and learning how to think critically, communicate clearly and understand compassionately. These three C’s will eventually save civilisation. I hope.