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If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

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If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

A person might have a great job, a nice house, and a great group of friends. They might feel they have everything they need, and so, they just settle, stop moving and pushing themselves. After all, their life seems to be going fine. You might have seen this with friends or acquaintances.

This is fine for a time; but the problem is, while a person stops moving or stops pushing themselves, the world keeps spinning. Time moves forward. Staying in the same place and not seeking self-improvement has the exact same effect as moving backwards.

We are living in a period of technological and social advancement never before seen. Technology has moved and developed more over the past one hundred years, than it had in the previous thousand. With this speed of advancement, it is easy to fall behind. Even if a person’s life seems to be going well now, and they don’t seek improvement, several years down the line, they may find that their lack of advancement, the lack of development in important skills may cause big problems in their lives.

From Evolving to Settling

Human beings, homo sapiens have been on this planet for roughly one million years. At the beginning, humans had nothing to protect themselves in order to survive in the world.

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    So humans started to invent basic tools and formed basic languages in order to survive.

      After some time, humans were satisfied with the things they developed because that was enough for basic survival. They could simply stop learning and creating new stuff.

        It was okay to stop learning new stuff in order to survive until the 19th century, where the rate of technological advancement increased at a rapid pace. In just over sixty years, we went from the first flight by the Wright Brothers to men walking on the moon.

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        A few years later, with the widespread popularity of personal computers, the rate of human progress exploded. This is of course, an over simplification. But think about it, for the first time in history, not seeking self improvement, not moving forward with the rate of human progress, can be extremely dangerous. It’s perfectly possible for someone to fall behind the rate of technological and human progress.

        This isn’t just a vague possibility either. In the UK, it has been estimated that one in five is under threat of being automatized.[1] A person today who is comfortable in their job may find themselves replaced by a machine tomorrow. Many, many people might soon find themselves out of a job.

        Even outside of the job market, technology has changed our lives in countless ways. The average, most basic smartphone is a camera, a diary, a computer, a gaming device, a store, a library, a web browser, a clock, a telephone, a TV…and can be far more with extra apps.

        Not long at all ago, each of these things would have been a separate (and potentially very expensive) device, some would be impossible to carry around with you. It’s easy to take for granted. But imagine if you never got a smartphone and was happy with what you had before. You’d have missed out on a great deal of convenience.

        How to Stay Ahead

        Ultimately, no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to predict how things will change over the next few years. We don’t know what skills will or won’t be needed. Nor do we know how our lives may change over the next few years. Something as simple as a new piece of technology can have an incredible impact on our lives (just think about the smartphone example from before). Because of this, you need to be ready to adapt and not fall into the trap of brief contentment.

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        Keep testing what you know

        We all know how important it is to learn new skills, but again, it is easy to become quickly content with what you have, and with it, stop seeking improvement.  This is illogical. If you stop trying to improve your skills, you’ll find that your skill level doesn’t stay on the same level, but instead decreases. In addition, the market for that skill is ever changing.

        It’s like when you test a tool or device you have, to examine its functionality. Is it wind-proof or water-proof? There is no point keeping a tool that can’t do its job after all.

          It can be useful to pick one of your skills or an area of your life, then critically evaluate it. Ask yourself, how useful is it going to remain? How is it going to adapt or change to changing circumstances?

          Lets relate this example to writing skill. The standards and styles expected of a writer are constantly changing. The internet has had a big impact on the way people read and interact with a piece of text. A writer today needs to be aware of this. Were a writer to stop paying attention to the changing marketplace, and the things expected of them, then they’ll be less useful as a writer.

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          Ditch the outdated and equip with the better

          After reviewing your skills and knowledge, you’ll be able to decide which should be ditched and which should be improved. It’s like throwing away old tools and devices that don’t work or are no longer useful, and replacing them with new, better ones.

            A careful evaluation of things in your life and your skills can be extremely useful. With it, you’ll be better able to see what might need changing or adapting, and what might be worth forgetting about.

            So although it is impossible to predict exactly how the world will change, with consideration of your skills and a desire to adapt, you’ll be able to find that you’re able to stay ahead of a changing world.

            I know it can be easy to become content, at the same time, pushing yourself and seeking change can be tough. But ultimately, this is something that can’t be sustained.

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            Reference

            More by this author

            Brian Lee

            Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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            Last Updated on June 1, 2021

            10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

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            10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

            The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

            If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

            The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

            1. Analyze Your Learning Style

            Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

            Is your memory associated to sound?

            Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

            If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

            Do you relate information to visual content?

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            If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

            Are you a physical learner?

            If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

            A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

            2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

            Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

            One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

            • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
            • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
            • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
            • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
            • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
            • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
            • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

            3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

            Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

            One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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            4. Get Some Exercise

            You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

            Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

            If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

            5. Work on the Ambiance

            If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

            If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

            6. Take a Lot of Notes

            Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

            This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

            Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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            Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

            7. Make Mind Maps

            Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

            You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

            Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

            Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

            8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

            Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

            However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

            Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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            9. Find the Right Context

            Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

            Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

            The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

            With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

            10. Study Every Day

            It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

            The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

            If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

            More to Help You Learn Quicker

            Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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