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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

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

More by this author

Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

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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