So you want to learn faster?
So did I when I first started on this learning journey.
And the question comes up, what do I need to do?
It all depends on where you want to be though. Do you want to be able to learn a college class in a week? Do you want to be able to memorize a book? Do you want to be a sponge who can absorb anything that is said to you?
It all starts with…
The first and most important thing is passion. If you are not passionate about what you are learning, then you will never be able to learn it rapidly. Simple as that. Luckily, in my years of experience, I have figured out passion can be easily faked (or rather cultivated). Are you ever learning something, and you absolutely dread it? That’s a lack of passion. When you’re learning something you need to be hyped up about it. Everything needs to fascinate you. Learning about diphthongs in Spanish. Well, you need to get really riled up about those diphthongs! Learning about how to find the center of a group in abstract math? You better REALLY want to know how to find the center of that group. Why is passion important? I could give you a lot of answers, but the main reasons I see are the following.
- Flow. When you are passionate about something, time fades away and you are solely focused on your task (aka you are in flow). In flow, you absorb new material at an extraordinary rate, and you move though with amazing concentration.
- Caring = Success. Simply put, you do better at what you care about.
- Endurance. Its critical if you want to learn a lot. If every five minutes you really want to check your phone, then you are going to learn nothing. When you are passionate, the passion keeps you going.
Alright, so now you know why passion matters, so let’s talk about how to cultivate passion. Now I am sure a lot of you looking at this post, have something in mind you want to learn about rapidly. I’m going to be a little presumptuous here by splitting you into two groups.
Group A: the people who came here because they love to learn, and they want to figure out how to learn the most in the shortest amount of time possible. Group A, you have passion nailed down, but I recommend you read along so you understand why it works.
Group B: you folks have something you need to learn in a short amount of time for one reason or another and you are not so excited about learning it.
All right, so this part of the guide is going to be written for Group B.
First off, lie to yourself. Go over to a mirror and stare yourself down, and tell yourself that you are going to be passionate about this topic. The mental hurdle of passion is almost always the hardest to overcome.
Next, think of how this this topic is going to benefit you. Not in a “I’m going to keep my job,” or a “I’ll pass this quiz” sense, but think about how it will help you achieve big things later in life. Learning about Spanish? Imagine going to Spain and working out a business deal in the language. Learning about mathematics? Think about how you can apply the math to your job or future job. Taking a writing class? Think about how much it will benefit you if you are a strong writer later in life. You’ll be able to convince people with your essays to buy from you, trust in your idea, or help with a cause. If you are able to figure out how your subject is going to help you, then you will be miles more excited to learn about it.
Alright, passions down. Now what?
Realistic Expectations (Boooooooooo).
Yes, I know. Realistic expectations suck, and we all want to be able to learn at 100x our current speed after a day of training, but unfortunately that’s not possible. But the good news, if you have passion down, you are probably learning around 5x your normal speed! I’d say you can get your learning speed to go up to about 20x all around after a lot of practice and training, and you could even get a lot faster in specific areas or fields of learning, but this all comes with time. Truth be told, you probably won’t even be able to get passion figured out within a month. However, don’t lose hope. The next most important thing is CONSISTENCY.
If you are not consistent in your learning then you will not progress. Consistency is crucial. You have to chunk off an amount of time everyday for this. A half hour to an hour is a good starting point. However, something to be cautious for is over-optimism. Sometimes we think we can do a lot more than we can actually do. Yes, learning Chinese in a week may have seemed like a good idea yesterday, but when you are four hours into day two and all you’ve done is stare at Chinese flashcards you may think again. A crucial part of consistency is giving yourself something you can consistently do. That’s where I get my half and hour to a an hour a day number from. For beginners I would err more on the half an hour a day side. As you keep the habit up for a month or so, you can extend the time up as much as you want. However, you don’t want to start too big.
When learning something, you need to make sure you push yourself to do it at a designated time without fail. Without consistency you WILL FAIL. I don’t know any other way to put it. The only thing that comes between you and any goal is consistency. This may seem obvious in theory, but when you are actually putting in the work you’ll forget this. So just make sure to always do your designated amount. In terms of scheduling, I always recommend that you do something everyday with one day off a week. Doing something everyday seems to be the best in terms of remembering what you have been learning about, and also maintaining passion. Of course you can just study a topic every Saturday, but you may fall into the trap of “Where did I leave off?” and then spend ten minutes trying to figure that out.
All Together Now
So, once you have passion, expectations, and consistency figured out you are well on your way to drastically decreasing the time it takes for you to learn new things. Now, doing all these things together is crucially important; however, this is just the foundation. There is a ton of other things you can learn about that will help you soak up knowledge like a sponge, and this website is dedicated to covering those. Go ahead and explore them and you will be much more productive at learning than when you started.
I recommend you click around and try to find what will work best with the topic you are learning about. And if you have any questions, just comment below!
Thanks for reading!