Learning new things in life is an essential skill to progress in our work, sustain our lifestyle, and even keep ourselves young and agile.
Learning a new skill is always sensitively dependent on getting the initial conditions right. Being in the right head space, having the right level of focus on the task, understanding your existing behaviours that you’re trying to change, and even the learning environment. These are all parts of these initial conditions that impact how fast we can learn something new. Acquiring new skills requires slow evolution building to the right volume of focus.
I am sure you have heard the term “stop trying so hard.”
Over-focusing on developing a new skill can create noise in the system as the intense focus will strengthen your ability to focus but not necessarily forming the neural network required to develop the new skill. It is all about balance at the end of the day.
Simply taking a step back from what you are doing, and allowing your system to get some contrast can rapidly accelerate the pace we can learn new skills.
Every individual has their subjective speed limit to learning. That is the effective rate, which a person can take in new information, place value and meaning on the information and store it as a memory. Value and Meaning is an extremely important concept as it is a higher order association process involving more regions of the cortex (The newer and more advanced part of our brain).
Without this high order association, the learning is just another experience and the system will inhibit the input/output to conserve energy and desensitise itself to the stimulus.
So an example of putting value and meaning on what you’re learning is – being clear on “WHY” is this important to you. If you are not clear on this reason, then there will simply not be enough of a motivation for the brain and the central nervous system to create and make connections needed to anchor this new learning.
The speed and volume of the information coming into a persons system must not exceed their reasonable speed limit. If you are learning faster than you can cope with, your system will withdraw and adopt a protective posture (Tense up and become stressed). That will impact how much you can remember or how much you can change your existing behaviours.
There is certainly a great body of science behind these basic tips and I would be happy to elaborate. BUT at the end of the day, sometimes it’s the simplest of approaches that get the job done. I have had to apply and refine this approach to my learning process over the past 12 months while getting my certification as a Neurotricionist.
These tips have been lessons learned as part of this journey. I have scored >90% in every exam, which I never thought would be possible for me. In the past I have not been the study and sit exam type of guy. I am usually more, the get out there and give it a go type of person which is how I have traditionally got results. These principals have helped me learn in a totally new way. Hopefully, they do something for you.