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10 Learning Habits That Make Einstein the Smartest Person in the World

10 Learning Habits That Make Einstein the Smartest Person in the World
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Contrary to popular belief, Albert Einstein was a great student and a brilliant individual from the day he was born. There have been rumors that he was a poor student, especially in math, but this has been corrected as of late. While the untrue rumor may have inspired many people to keep going, despite poor grades, just because it was untrue doesn’t mean you can’t still learn something from the brilliant man. But genius does not mean super-human, and Einstein himself had to figure out his own learning style. The following 10 learning habits of Einstein may give you and I some inspiration of how to make our learning more effective.

10 Einstein-Inspired Learning Habits That Are Worth Adopting

Constantly Question Everything

When you’re taught something, don’t write it down, accept it as fact and regurgitate it out the same way later. Instead, do as Einstein did and really delve into it. If you don’t ask questions, are you really learning?

Allow your thoughts to wander

Einstein knew he did some of his best thinking while day-dreaming and letting his thoughts drift. When you feel stuck, especially when writing a paper or drafting a proposal, allow yourself to lose focus and let your mind go somewhere else.[1]

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Have well-rounded interests

Einstein played the violin, kept a pretty fascinating social life, and studied nonstop. For some of you, this may seem overwhelming, but remember it’s important to be versatile when it comes to your interests and hobbies. You learn so much just by being interested in a multitude of things. It’s also a great way to give yourself a break from one subject when it starts to overwhelm you; having the ability to go back and forth can help inspire you when you feel stuck.

Figure out how you learn best

Einstein actually had friends take notes for him in class while he was out reading about physics and math. While you shouldn’t expect permission to skip class in order to do something else, it’s still a unique concept: Once you understand how you retain information best, you can adjust your habits and perhaps even your school schedule to best fit your needs.

Surround yourself with brilliant, educated people

Like everything in life, it’s easiest to be inspired to do something when you surround yourself with people who are especially good at that thing. When it comes to education and learning, do as Einstein did and surround yourself with mentors, teachers, and generally inspiring people. And if you feel that your personal life is lacking educated people like that, pick up some books on a smart individual and study their writing and research.

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Find your learning faith

Einstein was practically religious about discipline and question-asking. He decided that when you applied these things to education, you could learn more about phenomena. This greatly impacted his opinion on actual religion, but it’s a great concept for general studies, too.

Think for yourself

In today’s world, we get so caught up in other peoples’ opinions. We think everything we do, right down to the coffee we drink, is important and should be documented so other people can see it. We then base our self-worth on how popular the image of our coffee is! Do you think Einstein would be compulsively checking his social media platforms? No way. Don’t get caught up in what other people think or say. For Einstein, he was very suspicious of educational authority and constantly questioned the things he was being taught. Don’t make arguing with your professors a habit, but do develop a habit of thinking for yourself and in the real world, not the filtered, social media one. When you have a true interest in what you are learning, the education becomes second-nature.

Don’t give in to drama

Einstein was never concerned with, well, any of the events going on around him! If they weren’t directly interesting to him, he pretty much left them alone. As a disclaimer, I’m not recommending you become a hermit and only leave your house if it serves you in a selfish way, but I am saying to follow Einstein’s example and not get caught up in the drama that can so often surround you.

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Never doubt your intuition

Einstein said, “The only real valuable thing is intuition,”[2] and he’s right. While we are all familiar with how paranoid that little voice in our head can be, for the most part, he/she always has our best interest at heart. Follow your instincts and don’t be so hard on yourself. When it comes to learning, you know what you need to do to succeed. There’s a legendary story about Einstein and his father. Supposedly, when he was just five years old, Einstein was given a compass by his father. Einstein was so fascinated by the science of the thing that he instantly became addicted to knowledge.

Be open to failure and take initiative

When it comes to learning, you have to be open to, and expecting, failure. It would be detrimental to assume everything in life will turn out perfectly. Your success in education is no different. Yes, sometimes you are going to fail and fail miserably, but it will make all the times you succeed greatly that much more rewarding. The possibility of failure shouldn’t keep you from taking initiative and making your own decisions. Einstein found his learning building blocks through academics, but he relied on his own decision-making when it came to reading and studying.

You can be brilliant when you learn in the right way

Don’t ever let yourself forget that you are a brilliant individual. Regardless of your grades or how frustrating attaining knowledge can be, the most important things in life cannot be learned. Learning and education are so incredibly important and a wonderful gift to have, but I will leave you with the words Einstein looked at every day on a sign that hung in his office:

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“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Reference

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Heather Poole

Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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