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How to Be More Knowledgeable

How to Be More Knowledgeable
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Learning new skills at any age reaps a huge amount of benefits including raising self-esteem, increasing our sense of accomplishment and personal growth, as well as keeping those brain cells active and well-used.

We can all struggle to find the motivation to carry on learning no matter what the subject is but there are several different ways that can help us along the way. So how exactly can we learn effectively and become more knowledgeable as a result?

Motivation, the Sweet Spot and the Information Gap

To learn something effectively, we need to be present in the sweet spot. This is the magical space where we are neither sitting in our comfort zone nor forcing ourselves so much that we become demotivated.

Motivation is paramount in keeping us on track when learning new things and the sweet spot is the key to keeping this motivation going. Lingering too long on information we already know can lead to boredom and going too far into unknown territory can cause us to lose that much-needed motivation very quickly. It’s important that you keep a good balance and take small but challenging steps to keep you moving forward.

By doing this you need to be aware of the information gap. This is crucial when keeping up the motivation to gain more knowledge; we should always start with a subject in which we have basic understanding but where we still need an advancement of information to fill the gap. This way we can better connect our knowledge to what we’ve previously learned.

Remember, curiosity is one of the greatest motivations for learning, but this can be easily killed off if the level at which we are learning is too difficult. Maintaining a good pace and remembering that small steps achieve big goals will keep demotivation to a minimum.

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Not Everyone Learns in the Same Way

The important thing to remember is that we are all different when it comes to learning new information and skills. Intelligence is commonly thought of as our intellectual potential which can be measured with IQ tests, but in fact, research has shown there is a large spectrum of intelligence that differs from person to person and cannot be limited to conventional tests; this means that people have the potential to excel with different cognitive abilities and therefore, learn effectively in completely different ways.

Understanding your learning technique and utilizing it will allow you to become more knowledgeable on the subject you’re learning. Once discovered, make this your main source of learning, making sure you throw in some alternative ways for optimal results.

With this in mind, here are the most effective ways for retaining information and gaining the skills that you’ve learned.

Memory Tactics

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    Memorizing information can come more easily to some than others. If you struggle with retaining key points and more complicated topics then improving your focus is one way of dealing with this.

    Neuroscientific studies have shown that listening to certain type of music not only increases productivity but helps to focus the mind and retain information. Websites such as focus@will aim to keep you in the state of flow and concentration allowing your brain to utilize its memory function.

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    Cramming too much information into a short space of time can be tempting but ultimately, this is laziness in disguise. When we cram, we don’t think carefully about the meaning of what we’re learning; in other words, it’s all about quality not quantity.

    Make sure you structure your time well. Structured study sessions over a period of time allows you to process the information more adequately and research has found that the brain takes in more of this information through small regular sessions than one long, marathon.

    Relatable Learning

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      Relating and applying what you’ve learned to already-known situations is an effective way to understand new information. By doing this, you allow your brain to see connections through experience and previous knowledge, cementing this in the mind and allowing it to stick.

      If you try to apply it to the relevance in your own life or how it relates to things you find interesting and important, then this will help with focus and motivation in the long run.

      Learning Through Practice

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        This is one of the most popular methods of learning and one that I find the most effective. Lifting words from a page can be good in doses, but often our brain needs to experience the theories to fully understand the connections.

        A good example of this is when we learn a new language. The most effective way is the immersion technique where you are in a situation where you’re forced to speak the language and the brain is pushed to reach in and find translations as well as picking up on subtleties of speech, intonation, and assumption through gestures. Putting your mind through this trains it to find connections fast and efficiently much more than sitting down with a book.

        Explain What You’ve Learned to Someone Else

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          Another great method is to attempt to explain the new information to someone else. Doing this reinforces what you’ve learned in your mind, allows you to pinpoint any gaps in information or points you haven’t fully understood, and helps you translate the information you’ve gained into your own words and in a way that others can understand.

          This is an effective way to test whether or not your techniques are working for you. Start a blog, create a presentation or participate in discussions on the subject to solidify your knowledge.

          Try Different Methods of Learning

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            As I pointed out earlier, finding a particular way of learning that resonates with you is your first port of call. However, don’t limit yourself to just one method. The brain needs stimulation and even if one method is very effective, you can run the risk of getting bored and it’s in this space that motivation can wane.

            Once you find your most effective method, then utilize it but try to also mix it up by reading, watching related video clips, practical sessions, and explaining to others; being visual and verbal are both important factors when learning effectively and becoming more knowledgeable in your chosen subject and creates a good balance.

            Always remember that becoming an efficient learner takes time and practice as new habits need to be formed and established. Be patient with yourself and focus on one method at a time to allow yourself to find out what suits you. Motivation is key so do what you can to keep this up; focus on the small, steady and effective steps to get you to the next level.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

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            Jenny Marchal

            A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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            Last Updated on July 21, 2021

            How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

            How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done
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            Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

            This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

            As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

            But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

            How Serious Is Information Overload?

            The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

            This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

            When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

            We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

            No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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            The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

            That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

            Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

            Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

            But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

            Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

            Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

            When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

            Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

            The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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            You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

            How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

            So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

            1. Set Your Goals

            If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

            Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

            Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

            Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

            2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

            Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

            First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

            If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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            • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
            • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
            • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

            If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

            (You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

            Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

            You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

            Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

            3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

            There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

            Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

            Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

            Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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            4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

            Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

            This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

            Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

            The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

            Summing It Up

            As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

            I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

            I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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