Learning is not some magical happenstance that falls all around you. Learning is about capturing the lessons that are happening all around you.
That doesn’t happen automatically, or else we would all be learning the lessons that could make us extraordinary. It takes massive and relentless focus on becoming a learner. And that means going out of your way to make life your laboratory.
Related: 3 Techniques to Never Stop Learning
You don’t wait for answers to magically appear. You actively look for answers from everything around you. You don’t learn only when you feel like it. And you don’t learn only the lessons that you want to learn.
Being willing to learn is different from hoping you will learn something.
Being a learner means taking what life serves you—fair or not—and turning it into either the best choice or some kind of understanding. It’s using the worst moments in life to plan your future best moments. And sometimes, you need to learn the same lesson a few different ways.
The key is to keep learning. Even if it means learning the same lesson over and over again.
We all like to think that when presented with the right facts, we learn the right lessons the first time around. Sadly, that’s usually not how it works. It’s OK (and perfectly normal) to be a little “thick” at times. The key is to keep learning. Even if it means learning the same lesson over and over again.
Learning is also about curiosity, about purposefully putting yourself in the position to find answers to your questions. It’s about asking questions until you know, until you really have clarity, so that you can be the best you possible.
Here are a few questions that work:
- “Tell me more….”
- “I’m not sure I understand….”
- “What makes you say that?”
- “Can you clarify what you mean?
Regardless of the exact words you say, you need to keep asking until you understand. Sure, at times you might feel like a fool with nonstop questions. But your feelings on the subject aren’t really that important if what you want is outrageous success.
You need to be learning. You probably already agree with that. But here’s the real question for you:
Are you learning? Are you obsessed with figuring it out?
The other option is to be a loser—stuck, silent and scared. And that clearly sounds like the worse of the two options.
The way to win is to keep seeking knowledge. No one can stop you when you refuse to stop looking for answers.
Be edgy. Make Life your laboratory.
1. Take notes while reading a book.
2. Be a mentor.
4. Listen to contrarian points of view.
5. Put out a risky question in a crowded room.
8. Stop saying “uh-huh” and “yeah” when you don’t know.
11. Keep asking “Why?”
13. Take three new friends to coffee and learn from their talents.
15. Tour a museum and take a few pictures.
16. Put together a list of lessons you’ve learned.
17. Read USA Today or The Wall Street Journal.
20. Be kind when you know something that someone else doesn’t know.
21. Be involved in music, sports or a hobby.
22. Push your body to the limits with exercise and activity.
Related: How to Learn Something New