How to accelerate your learning

They say learning something requires hard work and putting in the time. And according to psych writer Malcolm Gladwell, 10 000 hours of "deliberate practice" are needed to be world-class in any field. Science supports the fact that humans have a near-infinite capacity to learn (neuroplasticity) so mastering the skill of learning can allow us to not only retain more information but also to learn at a faster rate.

Okay, I'm not planning to be world-class in any field but I am most interested in accelerated learning because there are soooooo many interesting things to learn in the finite amount of time I have left on this earth.

Here are some ways that I have accelerated my learning....hopefully you can implement them to accelerate your learning too.:)

1. Keep an open mind.

The older we get, the less risk we are willing to take because we think we know the calculated risks involved. Just last month when I was in Hanoi, I went kayaking for the first time at Halong Bay. Now there was the option of just sitting in a boat and letting the locals row you to see the caves but I decided to be adventurous and kayak instead. I mean, the water is 5 metres deep, I can swim, I will be wearing a life jacket and there are plenty of people around to "save" me if I did fall into the water, right?

Of course, excitement did not trump over fear. When I got into the kayak from the pier, it rocked side to side and I immediately started thinking that I was going to fall into the water. And then they passed me the paddle and I started to panic because it was quite heavy (to me) and that cave in the distance started to look further than it is. Never mind that the bestie was just behind me. I mean, on hindsight, that moment was totally laughable now. But at that point, I was a little scared for sure. Especially when I started paddling and water kept getting into the kayak.

But then, I just watched others kayaking by and slowly got into a paddling rhythm. And once I learned how to steer left and right and paddle backwards, my confidence grew and I started to relax and enjoy myself.

Clearly confident enough to stop to take a selfie. *winks*

2.  Learn from a variety of sources.

We all learn things differently. Some people enjoy learning through the written word (that would be me!), others need feedback from someone else on learning (take an in-person class), some like watching videos showing step-by-step instructions.

Personally, I enjoy the written word the most. So I tend to hit books or blogs/websites first when researching about a subject. Then once I get the gist of the basics, I watch a video to reinforce my learning. And if there is a chance to get feedback from someone in the field, I would ask questions to further reinforce what I've learned.

When friends ask me how I improved on my eye drawings, I would tell them that I practise every time I wear my eye-makeup. I wear fun colours on my eyelids (My eyes are hooded so you don't really see them unless I blink.*winks*) eyelids are my canvas. It's way easier to practise on something 3D than it is on something 2D. It has really helped me to "see" how light affects colours at different angles.

I haven't taken any in-person art lessons to get feedback but I've certainly learned a lot from makeovers at the makeup counters. *LOL*

3. Accept that there will be some parts of the process that you will HATE.

I will not lie to you. Some parts of the learning will be tough. And extremely boring. You must have the discipline to keep on going even when the going gets tough. Of course, you start with lots of enthusiasm and motivation with your goal clearly in sight. But as the difficulty level increases, you start to lose enthusiasm and self-doubt sets in. This is perfectly normal. It is okay to cut yourself some slack. Learning something new is always challenging.

Like learning the basic facial anatomy...that was so painfully boring but totally necessary for me to learn if I wanted to do portraits.

But you know me...I learn the rules, then reinterpret the rules to make it fun for me. *LOL*
Do what works for you. Just because somebody else is doing this doesn't mean you HAVE to. You are the captain of your ship. But of course, learn the basics first. Without a clear grasp of the basic concepts, you will encounter problems further down the learning road.

4. Practise mindfully.

I try to be creative in all aspects of my life. Like when I eat at a fancy place, I might try to take an artistic shot of my know, practise composition and adapting to light situations.

I also challenged myself to NOT repeat an eye look (18 months and counting) and NOT repeat an entire outfit (I have to change up my shoes/bag/accessories) because it forces me to go out of my comfort zone and create more interesting outfits (and better utilize my wardrobe).

I think the more you challenge your brain, the faster it learns.

There you have it. My tips on how to accelerate your learning. What is your learning style? Do you like reading books or watching videos or attending an in-person class?


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Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Love that you did the kayaking! You are a braver woman than me! LOL!!! And I am a 'show me' learner -- I cannot read instructions to save my life! My eyes glaze over, and all the words become one!! LOL!!! Which is weird since I am such an avid reader -- I guess cause that reading is for fun VS. learning! LOL!!

Cindy deRosier said...

Excellent advice!

As a parent, I do my best to expose Trevor to as many things as possible. Not only does that broaden his world and open up possibilities, but it means that if/when he tries those things again as an adult, he'll have a foundation, even if it was just exposure and not experience.

Lisa said...

What a fabulous post!! These are all excellent tips!! Reading is definitely my learning style of choice!! Have a great day!! Big hugs :)

A Mermaid's Crafts

Lizzyc said...

I think trying something new is a great way of learning a new skill.. good on you for kayaking, it looked fun and yes I probably would have been a little scared too.. I love your eye colors, very cool.. thanks for these ideas. I like to listen and watch you tube these days, tutorials on something where I see and hear and learn are good for me...

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