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How To Remember 90% Of Everything You Learn

How To Remember 90% Of Everything You Learn

Wish you could learn faster?

Whether you’re learning Spanish, a new instrument, or a new sport, we could all benefit from accelerated learning. But the problem is, there’s only so much time in the day.

The key to accelerated learning is not just putting in more hours, but maximizing the effectiveness of the time spent learning.

The Bucket And Water Analogy

Let’s say you were to fill up a bucket with water. Most buckets should not have any problem retaining the water inside, until it starts overflowing at the top.

Leather_bucket_of_a_well

    But in reality, this isn’t how our brains function. In fact, most of the information that enters our brain leaks out eventually. Instead of looking at our brain’s memory as a bucket that retains everything, we should treat it for what it is: a leaking bucket.

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    leaking-bucket

      While the leaky bucket analogy may sound like a negative connotation, it’s perfectly normal. Unless you were born with a photographic memory, our brains weren’t designed to remember every fact, information, or experience that we go through in our lives.

      How To Remember 90% Of Everything You Learn

      The development of the Learning Pyramid in the 1960’s — widely attributed to the NTL Institute in Bethel, Maine— outlined how humans learn.

      As research shows, it turns out that humans remember:

      5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture (i.e. university/college lectures)
      10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading (i.e. books, articles)
      20% of what they learn from audio-visual (i.e. apps, videos)
      30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
      50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
      75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
      90% of what they learn when they use immediately (or teach others)

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      Learning-Pyramid-synap (2)

        Yet how do most of us learn?

        Books, classroom lectures, videos — non-interactive learning methods that results in 80-95% of information going in one ear and leaking out the other.

        The point here is that instead of forcing our brains on how to remember more information with “passive” methods, we should focus our time, energy, and resources on “participatory” methods that have proven to deliver more effective results, in less time.

        This means that:

        • If you want to learn how to speak a foreign language, you should focus on speaking with native speakers and gain immediate feedback (instead of mobile apps)
        • If you want to get in shape, you should work with a personal fitness trainer (instead of watching Youtube workout videos)
        • If you want to learn a new instrument, hire a local music teacher in your city

        Ultimately, it comes down to this…

        Time Or Money?

        How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t have time to do X…”

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        I’m certainly guilty of this myself, as I’ve made excuse after excuse about the lack of time I have in my life.

        But time is the greatest equalizer of all. No matter who we are, where we are in the world, or how much we strive for efficiency, there are only 24 hours in each day. Every single minute is unique, and once it’s gone, it can never be regained, unlike money.

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          “You May Delay, But Time Will Not.”
          ― Benjamin Franklin

          So if we all have 24 hours in a day, how do we explain the success stories of young millionaires that started from nothing, or a full-time student going from beginner to conversation fluency in Spanish after just 3.5 months? They learned how to maximize for effectiveness instead of only efficiency.

          Let’s say person A spent one hour learning a language and retained 90% of what they learned. And person B spent nine hours learning and retained 10% of what they learned. Doing simple math, person B spent 9x more time learning than person A, only to retain the same amount of information (A: 1 * 0.9 = B: 9 * 0.1).

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          While the exact numbers can be debated, the lesson is clear. The way to have more time is not to go for small wins, like watching 5-minute YouTube tutorials instead of 15-minutes, but to go for big wins, like choosing the most effective method from the beginning. Or constantly relying on free alternatives, when investing in a premium solution can shave off months, if not years, worth of struggles, mistakes, and most importantly, time.

          It’s making the most out of the limited time we have by focusing on solutions that deliver the most impact, and saying no to everything else.

          The ability to retain more knowledge in an age of infinite access to information and countless distractions is a powerful skill to achieve any goal we have faster.

          By learning how to remember more information everyday, we can spend less time re-learning old knowledge, and focus on acquiring new ones.

          We’re all running out of time, and today is the youngest you’ll ever be. The question is: how will you best spend it?

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2019

          What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

          What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

          When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

          Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

          It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

          While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

          Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

          What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

          How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

          It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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          People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

          “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

          In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

          Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

          As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

          When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

          It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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          What are Interpersonal Skills?

          Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

          In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

          From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

          For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

          Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

          How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

          There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

          There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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          Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

          I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

          Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

          “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

          Don’t overlook introspection.

          While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

          Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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          When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

          Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

          “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

          The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

          The Bottom Line

          You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

          Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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