Saqib Razzaq - Living a creative life

3 Steps to Maximise Learning Speed

I’ve learned more this year than probably the last 5 years combined and that’s coming from someone who hates reading.

We all have similar weeks, months, and years where we can get so much done but then we’re back to our miserable boring routines filled with procrastination and terrible patterns that are slowly causing a downward spiral.

There is no magic pill to swallow that’ll turn you into your most productive self no matter how hard someone tries to sell you on it. Nothing will happen until you change your mindset. That is what happened to me but it wasn’t intentional and I kinda stumbled upon it.

I’ve consumed an obnoxious amount of content in hopes of coming out on the other side a wiser person. Be it a book, course or whatever. But the end result is always terrible.

I feel like batman sitting down inside that well looking at the grim sky hoping that one day I’ll be the one to make the climb.

It all changed earlier this year when I started doing the following 3 things and I’ve been absorbing information and grasping ideas more efficiently than ever.

1. Know your why

It might sound corny and generic but hear me out. There is no point in pumping your foot on the pedal until you know “why” you’re doing it. Our mind is constantly trying to convince us to step away from pain, suffering, and discomfort because it wants to keep us safe.

But there is no growth in being safe.

Hence, knowing your “why” gives your mind a story, and each time it sparks a little flame of doubt inside your brain, you can quickly stomp it out by showing it what you are there for in the first place.

A generic reason won’t take you far when pushing yourself to hone your craft, learn something new or simply welcome discipline into your life.

“I want to start reading more books because Warren Buffet does it” Nah. Your brain will break this reason and shove it down the graveyard of dreams.

However, this may help you push through.

I want to start reading more books about psychology because I want to understand behavior better.

Or push yourself even further by continuously reminding yourself what you can have if you push through the earlier phase of learning.

I want to start reading more finance books because I’m tired of being tired and sitting in the same dump and being broke year after year.

2. Know your medium

Once you have the right mindset, it is time to figure out the right medium to consume. There are three major ones.

  • Written
  • Spoken
  • Video

What works for one person may agonize the other but picking the option that works for you, makes you feel what you learn, remember, and come back to it repeatedly can be the difference-maker.

If you read a lot of fiction books or stories then picking some autobiographies or grabbing some written courses might be the way to go.

If you are super busy throughout your day because you have multiple jobs or responsibilities to attend then plugging in an audiobook or podcast might be the way to protect your sanity as you get better.

In short, pick what you find fascinating but effective at the same time and awesomeness will follow.

3. Know your limits

It doesn’t mean what you think. I don’t want you to know your limits so you know when to stop (though that’s also a good thing to have).

I want you to know your limits and use that to convince your brain into doing more by reminding it how far away you are from how much you can still push forward.

Learning new things, no matter how fascinating, is going to get boring at some point. That’s when you really need to push through but your brain will start dangling reasons in front of you why it sucks and how badly you need to stop doing it.

“Oh, man! You are so tired of reading this. You don’t have to finish it today. Maybe tomorrow” and then that “tomorrow” never comes.

When we start learning, we spend hours and hours honing our craft but somewhere in the journey, it starts feeling dull. That’s when you need to remind yourself how far you can push and don’t stop until you get there.


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