1. You Are a Genius! Last week, I discussed ways to unlock and tap into the incredible and powerful potential in your mind. I also covered the attitudes of successful learners and showed how your attitude about learning will determine how far you go in your life and career.
2. Six Stages of Learning. This week, I will talk about how to accelerate your learning and discover what your unique learning strengths and weaknesses are. I will also cover the topic of finding your particular learning style, and how to best tailor your learning to fit your unique needs.
3. Improve Your Memory. Next week, I will talk about how the mind and memory work and how to train yourself to remember more. I will also cover basic speed-reading techniques and show you the importance of reading and how to develop a basic reading plan.
4. Lifelong Learning. In Week Four, I will discuss the importance and benefits of being a lifetime learner. In addition, I will talk briefly about a basic plan for lifelong learning and how to keep your mind tuned for success, as well as how to win the battles of thought that take place in our minds.
So, let’s talk about the topics for this week!
Six Stages of Learning
Brian Tracy shows us (along with co-author Colin Rose) what he calls the Six Stages of Learning in his program entitled Accelerated Learning. I want to give you these six stages, as Brian calls them, and then my thoughts on each section. It is important for us to understand this process so we know what direction to go. Once we understand the process, then we can learn to accelerate the process.
The Six Stages of Accelerated Learning:
1. State of Mind
2. Intake of Information
3. Explore the Subject
4. Memorize the Information
5. Show You Know
6. Reflect on How You Learn
Here are my thoughts on each:
1. State of Mind—It is so very important for us to have our minds in the right state before we train to learn. A good analogy would be if you were going to paint your home. You wouldn’t just go buy paint and then paint it. No, first you would prepare the home because you want the paint to stick! If you do not prepare the home, the paint is less likely to last. So you would pressure-wash it, sand it, cover the windows, etc. You prepare so the paint will last.
The same is true with learning. The mind must be prepared. We must be in a state of learning. We must be in an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. We should demonstrate the attitudes talked about last week. All of this is necessary preparation.
Once your mind is prepared, then you can go to the next stage. Yes, you could have skipped the preparation stage beforehand, but preparation will enhance your chances of having a successful learning experience.
2. Intake of Information—The fact is that you have to take in information. This can be through a variety of ways—listening, reading, watching and action—and all at various times. When your mind is prepared, it is then open to the intake of information. You allow that information to stick.
A good balanced plan of learning includes using a variety of learning opportunities, although as shared later, you will have a dominant style of learning. The key is to regularly take information in. A person serious about learning should be a reader. They should read good books, they should be a listener, they should listen to audios and to people, all with the goal of learning. They should observe people and see what other successful people do. They should try many new things and learn from those experiences. All of this will help your intake.
3. Explore the Subject—It is one thing to know that Mr. Whitmore drives an $80,000 car and lives in a million-dollar home. That is called surface knowledge. It is quite another to know exactly how Mr. Whitmore became a successful person and to apply that knowledge to your own life. One is easily seen and acquired, but the other takes exploration. It is one thing to know basic addition and subtraction, but it is another thing altogether to know advanced trigonometry! So we must explore, read different books, listen to different viewpoints and try different things so that we can learn at a deeper level.
4. Memorize the Information—I will cover this more in detail next week, but repetition plays a large role in memorization. There is also association work here, but let’s stick with repetition for now. Have you ever sat in a coffee shop and watched the person behind the counter? Or perhaps a waiter in a restaurant? This is a place you wouldn’t expect to see the wonders of the mind, but you can if you listen closely.
We repeat things until we learn them. Do you know your home phone number? Of course you do. But when you first moved in, you probably had to carry it with you until you had called it enough or repeated it enough to others to remember it.
5. Show You Know—This is what we call the old “test.” You have to test your knowledge to make sure that you really know it. The idea of learning is to master information so we can apply it long term, not just brush up against it from time to time. Think about it: If there is a classic book sitting on your coffee table, you can look at it sitting there and never be the better for it. But then you could also quickly peruse it, maybe look at the table of contents. That wouldn’t benefit you much more. Or, you could take a good slow read through the book and stop to reflect on the truths you learn. Now that would be good. Then you could be out and about and come across a situation that you read about—that’s when you apply it. And you can only apply it if you know it! That is the test! Do you know your stuff?
6. Reflect on How You Learn—Reflection is something that doesn’t happen much anymore. Reflection is deeper thought about what we know and what we do. It is where we seek meaning. It is where we take our time to find the purpose and examine what we have learned and what we have lived. This is why I promote journaling so passionately. We can take in information and then apply it because we know it, but it shouldn’t stop there. We must take regular times to review what we know and what we experience so we can see if it is right, to see if it is applicable, to see if there is a better way, or shorter way or more efficient way. This only comes when we take the time to go back and think and reflect about what we have learned. So set aside the valuable time to reflect, to gather your knowledge and experience and invest them into your future.
So, let’s repeat the process to ourselves (that’s the way we learn, you know):
1. Get your mind in the right state.
2. Take in the information.
3. Explore the subject deeply.
4. Memorize the information.
5. Test yourself to show that you really know it.
6. Take time to reflect.
Now let’s take a brief look at how to accelerate your learning:
Here are five tips for accelerating your learning.
1. Apply the sequence of the process above. That is the key. Use these proven steps to put you on track for learning.
2. Make your learning regular. That is, do it on schedule. Your mind will get used to learning and become extremely efficient at it if you will train your mind to learn.
3. Be methodical. The best way to accelerate your learning is to do it every day. The person who progressively learns something every day for 30 days, applying the process above will be much better off than the person who learns nothing for 27 days and then crams for three days. As Robert Schuller says, “Inch by inch, it is a cinch.” True words.
4. Focus on doing most of the learning in your main learning style. That is your strength. It is safe to say that when you are learning in the way you learn best, you will learn faster.
5. Work with a partner. Learn together. Challenge one another. Stretch one another. Compete with one another. Test one another. And, of course, encourage one another.
You can accelerate your learning. It just takes a little practice and learning some new skills. Be encouraged—your mind is capable of tremendous things, and when you get into the flow of learning, you will grow in ways you have never grown before!
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!
We live in an incredible time in human history! Never before has learning had so many opportunities! Think about it for a moment: A thousand years ago, a man wakes up in a rural village and decides that he wants to learn something. What are his options? Not many! Read one of the few books in the village—if there even were any, and only if he could read. Maybe he could sit at the feet of the smartest man in the village, who knew about as much about the world as the average third-grader does now.
Yes, we live in an incredible world:
CDs and audios
DVDs and videos
And on and on…. There are just so many places to get information.
But there is another key that is very important and one that we want to touch briefly on: learning styles. It is imperative that you identify your learning style because your dominant learning style will help you learn much more quickly and deeply. For example, if you learn in one way and yet you take in a certain bit of information using a different learning style, then you will not learn the information as well as if you had utilized your strongest learning style. Let me explain.
There are two points to go through:
1. When do you learn best?
2. How do you learn best?
First, when do you learn best?
Some people learn best in the morning. Maybe they like to get up at 5 or 6 and do lots of work in the morning. By 10 p.m., they couldn’t learn how to unfold a paper bag!
Some people learn best at mid-day. That is when their minds are ticking right. These are the Goldilocks of learners: not too early, not too late, but just right.
And some people learn best at 2 in the morning. They study or work at times that most of us are hitting the first cycle of REM sleep.
The key is to find what time you learn best and go with it. Now, what about people in school? They go primarily in the middle of the day. That’s OK. Just make sure that you are doing the deep work of learning in the time when your mind is most efficient at it.
Secondly, let’s talk a bit about how you learn.
There are four predominant styles:
Some people learn best from reading. Give them a book and they can learn it.
Some people learn best from listening. Let them hear it and they can learn it.
Some people learn best from watching. Let them see it and they can learn it.
Some people learn best from doing. Let them do it—feel it—and they can learn it.
It is important that you know which is your strongest style. Now, yes, there will be times you will be called upon to read, but if you learn best from watching, then, by all means, do what you can by watching. The point is to find the way that you learn and master information best—and then pursue it!
Learning is too important to use only the default learning style. It is important enough to do some research, find a book on the topic and then develop a plan for learning, which will help you become an awesome learner!
Be sure to download this week’s workbook pages to complete the Questions for Reflection and Action Points exercises.