How Do You Learn?
Some Thoughts on My Approach to Learning
I often have moments in life where I realize I am ready to level up or to learn something new. I don’t always know exactly what that something is when I begin –sometimes it’s just an idea, an inkling really, about a topic I’d like to understandbetter. It starts one day, I’ll hear someone mention it in passing, or I’ll seea post or article from someone I admire discussing that same topic. Thencuriosity gets the best of me and I start googling, trying to better understandwhat exactly it is, who are key thought leaders in the area, what books orpodcasts exist on the topic, or perhaps accounts I can follow on social mediato get a bit more exposure.
I go from curiosity to research, seeking out information and insights and ideas.
Once I go through the research phase I’ve either satisfied my interest, or still feel intrigued to learn more. So I sit on it. I let the idea gestate a bit further, thinkingabout it from time to time and paying attention to the nudges that come into myawareness from the outside world. Sometimes the idea remains strong in my mindand sometimes it shapeshifts into something else. Sometimes it is merely theopen door to a new idea or concept that I have yet to explore.
I used to become frustrated if I realized that this new shiny idea that I was just learning about was already “full” of people before that has already discovered andmastered it. I used to think I was somehow late to the party. Now I realizethat we are all just at different stages of a million different journeys and weare each here to forge our own path and to guide others who are just arrivingat the stage where we were previously only a beginner.
We all open the door for someone else to walk through.
So when an idea sticks around long enough, I’ll find myself researching the same topic over and over, solidifying my understanding of who are the experts and what has beenwritten about the topic. I’ll find overlapping books and interviews and articleslinking those that put their mark on the field and I’ll delight in discoveringthese synchronicities.
Then, when intrigue has gotten the best of me and I cannot let the idea go, I’ll read the book, hire the expert, sign up with the coach, or whatever the next best stepforward is. And then, I'll pour my heart in and do my best to integrate what I've learned.
In short, my approach to learning is:
1. An inkling – a hint of an idea or knowing that there is something new to be learned or understood
2. Curiosity – a hunger to learn more and get a better understanding of what exactly that idea is
3. Research – finding out what exists on the topic, or near the topic, learning about the experts, the different overlapping fields, the books, the learning programs about it
4. Fascination & intrigue – going deeper down the rabbit hole, following people of interest, dabbling in learning, discovering more concepts or uses of the idea
5. Diving in – going all in on learning whether by taking a course, reading a book, hiring an expert, or someone else engaging more deeply with the topic so that I, too, can learn it
6. Integration - applying what I've learned into my work and life.
What is your approach to learning something new?
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