Although I’ve always been a new information junkie, and obsessive with the technical aspects of what makes good creative work, I’ve been trying to tackle the hard question “How can I learn better?”
Here’s my current perspective on it:
Our learn rate is rather proportional to how much we invest in 3 major sources:
Synthesized information (text, video & all media)
People (exchange of ideas and insightful conversations)
When we reflect on the energy and time spent on these three sources and see what we’ve taken away, we can begin to improve our systems of learning and eventually make meaningful changes.
Reflecting on the mix between all these in my own journey in the past decade, I think the biggest challenge has been learning coming from people by interacting with them live – I tend to learn by myself and being a loner comes easy to me, as does geeking behind a screen or a camera, watching tutorials and trying out stuff endlessly.
While we’re not all blessed enough to have started having mentors around, surrounding ourselves with good knowledgeable people gets progressively easier as we grow professionally and build a social circle with similar interests. I still don’t have too many people around me doing similar stuff but I think it’s slowly getting more balanced.
So my take on “How can I learn better” comes down to this: What kind of habits do we have in place to make sure we’re reading, having stimulating conversations that we learn from, along with reflecting on our experiences day to day?
If I had to break this down to three important questions, these would be:
1) Are we regularly reading or listening to insightful books, podcasts, blogs, newsletters or social media accounts?
2) Are we spending time with people we really learn from and having conversations that move us forward instead of only chatting about Kylie’s hip-to-waist ratio (oops)?
3) Are we taking the time to reflect on the above plus our own daily experiences and synthesize on that?