Lifelong Learner

The first thing I learnt today was from Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk. Krishnan and I have been active on Twitter for many years but didn’t know this !!! Talk about being a lifelong learner 😁.

Learner Elon Musk Twitter

Krishnan had saved a beautiful article on 6 habits of super learners a few years back. Reposting excerpts here to remember and re-learn !

A Super Learner – Some tips

“..Becoming a super learner is one of the most important skills you need to succeed in the 21st century. In the age of technological change, staying ahead depends on continual self-education — a lifelong mastery of new models, skills, and ideas.”

“…We all have enough brainpower to master a new discipline — we use the right tools, approaches, or apply what we learn correctly. Almost anyone can learn anything — with the right technique.”

1. Super learners read a lot

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to your body. It gives us the freedom to roam the expanse of space, time, history, and offer a deeper view of ideas, concepts, emotions, and body of knowledge.

Elon Musk grew up reading two books a dayBill Gates reads 50 books per year. Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks. Warren Buffett spends five to six hours per day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.

My comments – I love reading. Am always reading something. The best way to cultivate the reading habit is to read just before you go to sleep. Start with 5 minutes of reading and increase it slowly to reading a page, a chapter etc. Soon you will get addicted !

2. Super learners view learning as a process

Learning is a journey, a discovery of new knowledge, not a destination.

It’s an enjoyable lifelong process — a self-directed and self-paced journey of discovery. Understanding any topic, idea or new mindset requires not only keen observation but more fundamentally, the sustained curiosity.

My comments – be a lifelong learner ! Its not a fad that you start being a learner for a few days/years. Just be one throughout your life.

3. They adopt a growth mindset

You can’t go wrong cultivating a growth mindset — a learning theory developed by Dr. Carol Dweck that revolves around the belief that you can improve intelligence, ability and performance.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn,” argues Alvin Toffler, a writer, futurist, and businessman known for his works discussing modern technologies.

My comments – Dr. Carol Dweck is quoted by Angela Duckworth in her book “Grit”. The growth mindset is simply telling ourselves that we can learn new skills at any time and any age. The same concept is re-inforced in the book “Ikigai” where learning something new is one way to remain active well into your 90’s.

4. Super learners teach others what they know

According to research, learners retain approximately 90% of what they learn when they explain/teach the concept to someone else, or use it immediately.

Teaching others what you know is one of the most effective ways to learn, remember and recall new information. Psychologists, call it the “retrieval practice”. It’s one of the most reliable ways of building stronger memory traces.

My comments – This is so true ! My book reviews are a way of trying to remember all that I read by sharing it with others through a blogpost. Always read assuming you will be teaching it someday. It changes the way you understand the subject even.

5. Effective learners take care of their brains

Keeping your brain healthy keeps it sharp.

That means eating lots of foods associated with slowing cognitive decline — blueberries, vegetables (leafy greens — kale, spinach, broccoli), whole grains, getting protein from fish and legumes and choosing healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil) over saturated fats (butter).

Fruit and vegetables combat age-related oxidative stress that causes wear and tear on brain cells,” says Dr. Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry and aging.

My comments – #GoVegetarian 😁, its good for your physical and brain health besides being great for the planet’s health too.

6. They take short breaks, early and often

Downtime is crucial to retaining anything you choose to learn. According to recent research taking short breaks, early and often, can help you learn things better and even improve your retention rate.

Experts at the Louisiana State University’s Center for Academic Success recommends 30–50 minutes sessions. “Anything less than 30 is just not enough, but anything more than 50 is too much information for your brain to take in at one time,” says learning strategies graduate assistant Ellen Dunn.

Our brains’ neural networks need to time process information, so spacing out your learning helps you memorize new information more efficiently — give your brain enough time to rest and recover.

My comments – We live in an age of information overload. TVs blare out 24/7 breaking news, Twitter, FB, Insta etc have a constant stream of information flow…. we give our brains very little time to process the info dump. Slow down. Relax, Take breaks. Digital detox is critical. Switch off your devices for a day in a month/week. I keep my cellphone on silent most of the time…my friends get pissed off when I don’t pick up their calls, but I callback. Get off Whatsapp and SM every now and then. It helps to clear things up.

So what did you learn today ?

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