How do you decide on what you should be self learning and the most effective way to do it?
That’s what Season 3 of Quest for Freedom is all about.
I’ll be talking about hacking the way in which we learn and going down the unconventional route of creating your own learning University, plus throwing some stats and interesting factoids at you about why the traditional route of education isn’t the best.
Before we dive in, I just want to give a quick update as to why you might even be listening to this podcast (and reading this blog).
So hey, it’s Natalie Sisson and I am on a quest for freedom for you in 2017 to uncover what you can do to simplify your life, feel connected, live mindfully and develop true personal and financial freedom.
In Season 1, I covered off around personal freedom and I really delved into that mindset freedom through meditation, through mindfulness.
In Season 2, I talked about business freedom and all about the business sabbatical that I went on where I essentially fired myself from my business for three months.
I shared the outcome, I shared the results and the journey of taking that much time for your business as well as flipping your life 180 degrees which was an added bonus.
Season 3 is about self learning, a topic that has always fascinated me because I believe that if we really want to truly grow and learn and later very fulfilled life we need to be constantly learning.
We need to stay curious.
And yet as we get bombarded more and more with information, how do you consume it in a way that feels good, that feels fun, that feels like you are actually developing, growing and taking things in?
Where you are not just consuming stuff because it’s in front of you. You are curating what you want to learn, what you read and what you take in.
And so that’s what this season is all about – self learning mastery.
I recently read an article on Quartz by Zat Rana called ‘If you want to be smarter, learn to say “I don’t know’”
The Value of “I Don’t Know”
When you think about it, acknowledging ignorance is actually productive.
Sometimes, the best answer is simply “I don’t know.”
Now, that isn’t to give you a reason to exercise indifference or to avoid making difficult decisions. It’s just about choosing to stick to your circle of competence and awareness.
At any given point, there’s only so much information we can make sense of. On a daily basis, there will be things we don’t understand.
If they aren’t relevant, it’s okay not to know. If they are, it’s better to take time to think.
This may seem fairly intuitive, and yet, the vast majority of people rarely find themselves comfortable enough to be at ease with not knowing.
Instead, they recite from memory whatever has been ingrained into their mind.
They would rather stand for something with a loose foundation, and they prefer certainty even after being challenged rather than to reconsider.
In the long-term, none of these tactics tend to lead to a healthy outlook.
“I don’t know” not only keeps us in our circle of competence and awareness where the risk of potential harm is low, but it also works as a feedback tool.
It’s a competitive advantage because it adds an incentive to critically break things down rather to take the easy way out. It forces us to get smarter.
There’s no point standing for something if you have a bad reason to do so.
Life is complex and messy, and it’s okay not to know everything. It’s fine to take time to form an opinion, and it’s useful to acknowledge ignorance.
We live in a world saturated with ideas, and not all of them are good, and not all of them are right for everyone.
Ask questions, be critical, and don’t be afraid to change your mind. There are no solid rules against doing so.
No one makes progress by standing in the same place, and we didn’t get to where we are by always being right. Everything is trial and error, and if you truly want to understand the world, you have to be comfortable with that.
It’s okay to open your mind.
I want to share with you that I’m experimenting with up to 60 minutes of active learning EVERY Day.
Apparently it’s good enough for Oprah and Bill Gates and other super smart, successful people.
I’m doing this because if I can’t even commit that amount of time to invest in my myself, and in my mind, then I’m clearly saying I’m not worth it.
Robin Sharma believes you can grow effortlessly in 60 minutes and unlock your hero potential.
Robin is considered to be one of the top 5 leadership experts in the world.
His work is embraced by rock stars, royalty, billionaires and many celebrity CEOs, so again I’m going to heed his advice and suggest you do too.
Listen to the podcast to get the snippet of him talking to Vishen Lakhiani, founder of MindValley, about why 60 minutes of learning each day can unlock your Superpowers.
They go on to discuss Traffic University – as in listening to a podcast when you’re stuck in traffic and learning something new.
Or Running College – where when you’re out running you go with someone you can learn from, or again you listen to an audiobook or educational podcast.
Or School of Walking – same concept. Listen to a course while you are walking.
The real point being – anything that you’re doing you can be learning – working out, grocery shopping, walking to your airport gate.
What you feed your mind is ultimately what you will believe and become.
So why not take the time to curate it carefully with what you WANT to expand your mind with, not narrow your mind.
So how do you go about self learning anything faster and better?
Well as part of my self learning I’ve been looking into this.
In Elle Kaplan’s Medium article she shared some tactics on this very topic.
In fact Elle quotes research that says Robin Sharma’s 60 minute principle is 10 minutes too long.
And I quote:
“Ellen Dunn of Louisiana State University explains that “anything less than 30 [minutes] is just not enough, but anything more than 50 is too much information for your brain to take in at one time.”
To put this into practice, make sure you’re scheduling your learning sessions for short bursts of time, using quick methods like flashcards.
Schedule at least a 10-minute break between sessions to give your brain some much-needed R&R.”
Elle also quotes Tim Ferriss who seems intent on hacking everything in life from your brain to food to health.
“He says you should focus first on the most important 20 percent of what you’re trying to learn, which will actually cover 80 percent of what you need to know.
Ask yourself: What are the most important elements that yield the biggest return on investment?
For example, if you’re learning a foreign language — what 20 percent of words are used 80 percent of the time?”
When I read that I instantly thought to myself: But of course!
I mean this is the Pareto rule we’re talking about here, where you aim to focus on the 20% of whatever it is that you do, that gets you 80% of the results.
I typically apply that in business whenever I can, but I hadn’t thought about applying it to learning before, and frankly I’ve no idea why!
Why do we learn all this extraneous stuff that doesn’t serve us, instead of narrowly focusing in on the most important.
Now to find a language app that does just that….anyone have the answer to that? I’m happy to put my hand up and say “I don’t know”.
And the final tip I liked most in her article was this one:
Think about modifying your self-teaching techniques as you learn.
A Johns Hopkins study found that “if you perform a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the exact same thing multiple times in a row.”
If you use flashcards in one session, think about a more hands-on method the next time, or listening to a podcast or webinar. This will help your brain remember and recall information at a quicker rate.”
So I think that’s enough learning for today, I wanted to start off light, and build up over Season 3.
That way I won’t lose you in information overload.
Instead I’ll help to expand your mind in the best possible way, and learn more than ever before, that’s actually relevant to you and even better, curated by you.
More on that in the next episode when I bring on Phoebe for more insights.
This episode is proudly brought to you by Freshbooks.
So you’re racing against the clock to wrap up 3 projects, prepping for a meeting later in the afternoon all while trying to tackle a mountain of paperwork. Welcome to life as a freelancer.
Challenging? Yes, but our friends at FreshBooks believe the rewards are so worth it.
The working world has changed. With the growth of the internet there’s never been more opportunities for the self-employed. To meet this need, FreshBooks is excited to announce the launch of an all new version of their cloud accounting software!
It’s been redesigned from the ground up and custom built for exactly the way you work. Get ready for the simplest way to be more productive, organized, and most importantly get paid quickly.
The all new FreshBooks is not only ridiculously easy to use, it’s also packed full of powerful features:
- Create and send professional looking invoices in less than 30 seconds.
- Set up online payments with just a couple of clicks and get paid up to 4 days faster.
- See when your client has seen your invoice, and put an end to the guessing games.
Go to freshbooks.com/quest and enter Quest For Freedom in the how did you hear about section when signing up.
Get the latest blog post and episode delivered straight to your inbox.