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Published on January 28, 2020

10 Remarkable Traits of Successful Learners

10 Remarkable Traits of Successful Learners

If you look around, you’ll notice one key trait in all self-made people; they are successful learners who understand what they’re doing in life.

These people are masters at the art of learning. Before initiating a project, they make sure they understand what they’re getting themselves into and this trait alone helps them avoid dozens of hurdles in the way.

But in order to be a successful learner, there are a lot of other traits that you’ll need to develop.

You see, learning is a multi-factorial trait that’s influenced by a number of factors and habits.

In order to become a successful learner, here are a few traits that you need to inculcate in yourself.

1. Persistence

Successful learners understand that learning takes time. For them, persistence is the key to success because nothing worth learning is learned in a day or two.

As an individual, I believe that the lack of persistence is what holds most people from achieving greatness.

Almost everyone has grand ideas and ambitions in life. But only a handful of people manage to accomplish their set goals and targets because others usually don’t put in the amount of work needed to achieve their goal.

I say this a lot:

When it comes to dreams, most people are just in love with the final product and not the process.

Successful people, on the other hand, are in love with both.

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2. Patience

Persistence and patience often go hand-in-hand. And successful learners are masters of both.

With that said, there’s some difference between both these terms.

Persistence is usually for the known while patience comes in handy when the unknown strikes.

Allow me to explain:

When you plan ahead and work consistently on it, that’s persistence. In this case, you’re continuously working towards your goal and following the set plan or layout.

However, patience is tested when that plan unknowingly fails or experiences a hurdle. That’s when there’s a huge chance of people backing out.

But successful learners practice patience and take their time to work past problems.

A good way to build patience is to accept that your plan or projection is bound to show deviations and discrepancies.

People who can’t accept the fact that their plans could fail are the ones who fail the most. Successful learners avoid that problem by expecting their plan to not work out exactly the way it’s supposed to.

3. Conceptual Learning

Successful learners believe in understanding and grasping concepts instead of rote learning.

A lot of successful people are of the view that grades aren’t important. That’s because what matters is your understanding of the concept, not the final grade that you get.

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In real life, the concept is what helps you to apply your learning and get something out of it. That’s why successful learners spend more time building and strengthening their concepts than they do on rote learning.

4. Strong Memory

Sure, concepts are important. But there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be memorized after building a strong concept.

There are other things like language that require minimal concept and maximum memorization. That’s why successful learners have a strong memory and that’s something they spend a lot of time working on. In fact, you may find brain and memory games on their phone as they spend ample time working on their retaining ability.

5. Leading Abilities

Successful learners are often important people in social gatherings. That’s because people recognize them as learned individuals that need to be respected on the basis of their knowledge. Often, that knowledge results in an influx of wealth that further helps in improving the social status of these individuals.

All these factors add up to create a personality that’s a leader by nature. It’s like their aura has a magnetic effect that pulls others around it.

Now the thing about this trait is that it often isn’t acquired directly. It’s not like successful learners learn to lead. It happens at a subconscious level often as a secondary output of their learning ability.

6. Discerning Valuable from the Useless

When I went into college, I was right-out intimidated by the size of the books we had to study. And for a while, this used to bother me because I was under the impression that we had to study each and every word of those books.

But as time progressed, I realized that merely 40% of the book was enough to get me 80% of the grades. Essentially, that 40% was the valuable part of those books that I needed to focus on before I decided to work on anything else.

This is similar to the Pareto’s Principle, otherwise known as the 80-20 principle which suggests that 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the effort.[1]

By focusing on the parts of books that mattered the most, I wasn’t just able to score good grades but it also allowed me to distribute my time to other activities. I would study, get good grades, maintain a social life and work on any side projects that I wanted.

Most people thought that I’m awfully lucky or gifted, but the secret behind all of this was simply the ability to discern valuable from the useless.

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If that’s something that you want to learn, I’d urge you to look around yourself and see what sort of learning activities or topics take most of your time but are of least importance for your goal, be it getting a good grade or succeeding at your business venture. If the task doesn’t contribute to your goal, it’s not worth spending your time on.

7. Bold Attitude

Successful learning requires a bold attitude.

I know it sounds absurd. But not everyone has the courage to learn everything.

A lot of people are intimidated by the time and effort required to learn a skill or a subject. And that intimidation holds them back from even taking that first step. They look at the mountain worth of input required and avoid the whole task in itself.

As I mentioned above, nothing worth learning is learned in a day or two; and successful learners understand that. To excel in their field, they take on a bold attitude that embraces hardship and uncertainty.

8. Questioning

The key to effective learning is to question the matter. In fact, a recent study showed that elaborative interrogation (or self-questioning) is a useful learning method.[2]

By questioning yourself and your logic, you’ll uncover aspects of the topic that you didn’t even know existed.

What’s more, you’ll notice that by questioning while you learn, you’ll be able to look at the concept from a variety of angles and point-of-views which will help you attain perspective.

In order to use this technique, set aside some extra time to ponder and question yourself about what you’re trying to learn.

When you do that, go into specifics and ask yourself questions that you probably don’t know the answer to. You’ll be surprised to notice that most answers just pop into your head once you actually question yourself.

9. Following Routines

In a world full of distractions, managing one’s time is one of the most useful techniques to learn.

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And when it comes to time management, there’s nothing better than the good’ol daily routine.

Almost all of us have a mental to-do list in our heads as we go about our day. However, what a lot of us lack is a routine and a priority order for that list.

Successful learners, however, are great at creating and following routines that help them maximize their learning and implement it in daily life.

Another aspect to consider here is that this ability of following routines stems from high self-discipline. A lot of people are great at creating routines, just not so much at following them. And that’s all that matters.

Take a look at these Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You.

10. Sticking to Their Learning Style

There are many different types of learners in society. Some people learn best by listening while others write things down. Then there are individuals that like to have a hands-on learning experience.

The thing about successful learners is that they know what sort of learning style works best for them. This allows them to focus their learning methodology according to their preferred style so they can maximize their learning.

If you’re unaware of the major learning styles, here are a few:

  1. Visual Learners
  2. Auditory Learners
  3. Reading/Writing Learners
  4. Kinesthetic (hands-on) Learners

As soon as you know how you learn and the best way to learn, you can better retain information more effectively.

So here you are, 10 things you can learn from the successful learners in order to become a faster and smarter learner.

More on Learning Fast

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on February 11, 2020

25 Memory Exercises That Actually Help You Remember More

25 Memory Exercises That Actually Help You Remember More

The brain is often thought of as similar to a computer. When the brain is powerful and working properly, it will enable you to perform all your cognitive and bodily functions smoothly and efficiently, and the reverse is also true.

Unfortunately, our brainpower tends to decline as we grow older. And as you might have seen in media reports, loss of memory and dementia is a growing concern for people today. Brain wellness is now right up there with heart health.

If you are finding yourself forgetting things more than usual, it can be a little alarming. But you need to know you are not helpless when it comes to keeping your brain healthy and powerful. There are simple brain exercises for memory improvement you can do to boost your brainpower so you remember more.

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Neurology, older adults who engage in regular physical exercise like jogging and cycling are less likely to be affected by age-related brain illnesses that can limit memory and mobility.[1] And those people who perform regular, targeted brain exercises keep their brains sharp and healthy, which reduces cognitive decline and memory impairment.

When you exercise your brain, you will also improve your creative abilities, which will give you a competitive advantage in your job.

Moreover, brain exercises strengthen your ability to think on your feet and give witty responses, meaning you won’t be lost for words at critical moments in conversations.

Goodbye to awkward silences!

While you can enroll in a number of online brain training programs, experts generally recommend sticking to brain training exercises that involve real-world activities.

According to David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, exercises to strengthen brain function should offer novelty and challenge:

“Almost any silly suggestion can work.”

Here’re 25 simple real-world exercises you can do starting today to sharpen your brain and improve memory.

1. Drive a New Route Home

As simple as this exercise may sound, taking a different route home stimulates the brain. You are forced to involve more senses to find your way around, which keeps your brain alert instead of mindlessly driving home or to work on familiar routes.

Avoiding ruts and boredom is critical to keeping your brain sharp, says Eagleman.

2. Repeat It out Loud

In order to remember anything you have just read, heard or done, repeat it out loud.

For example, repeat out loud the name of someone new you’ve just met and you will nail the name down in your mind.

3. Listen While You Read

A study conducted at the University of Puerto Rico found that out of 137 Spanish-speaking students quizzed about an English book they were given to read, those students who read the book while simultaneously listening to an English audio version outscored the group that only read on eight different quizzes about the book.[2]

Listen to audio of something while simultaneously reading or watching it. You’ll engage more of your senses and help your mind remember more.

4. Play Crossword Puzzles

Simple crossword puzzles and other word games like scrabble, where you rearrange letters and make as many words as you can, stimulate the brain and improve memory.

5. Play Chess

Don’t forget to play other brain-boosting, strategy games like chess and checkers. Logic-based numbers games like Sudoku can also keep your brain fit.

6. Learn a Musical Instrument

Start playing a musical instrument. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is beneficial for the aging mind.[3]

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7. Play a New Sport

Start playing a new sport that utilizes both mind and body, such as tennis, golf, or even yoga. Athletic exercise like these will not only improve your physical fitness, but also your mental fitness.

8. Learn a Foreign Language

Enroll in a foreign language course online or at your local education center. It will help to sharpen and rejuvenate your brain.

9. Draw a Map from Memory

When you return home from visiting a new place, draw a map of the area from memory. Expand this brain exercise by drawing maps of your commute, neighborhood and other areas to enhance memory.

10. Cook a New Cuisine

Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook new cuisines. Cooking stimulates different parts of the brain and different senses including smell, sight, and taste.

11. Do Chores with Eyes Closed

Try washing the dishes, sorting laundry or taking a shower with your eyes closed. This will force your brain to use other neural pathways to get the task done.

Obviously, don’t do anything with your eyes closed that would endanger others or yourself.

12. Eat a Meal Using Chopsticks

Chopsticks will force your brain to pay attention and give your brain a good workout, especially if you have never used them before to eat.

13. Switch Hands When Doing Stuff

If you are right-handed, try using your left hand to do things like brushing your teeth and eating.

For example, if you are already good at using chopsticks to eat, use your non-dominant hand instead to challenge your fine-motor skills that are controlled by the nervous system consisting of the brain.

14. Connect with New People

Every time you connect with other people, you expose yourself to new ideas and other ways of thinking and doing things. This stimulates your mind and widens your world view and thinking process.

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So, be open to traveling more and attending shows and events to meet and interact with new people. It’ll keep your mind in tip-top shape.

15. Savor Different Flavors in Meals

Challenge your taste buds by deliberately savoring your meals. Try to identify the individual ingredients in food, including subtle spices and herbs for a tasteful burst of mental stimulation.

16. Do Math in Your Head

Don’t always rush to use a pen and paper, or a calculator to figure out math problems. Try to do them in your head. Make things a little bit more interesting by working out math problems in your head while also walking.

17. Practice Meditation

Training your mind to be quiet is not always easy, but it can be done through meditation.

Some of the benefits of practicing meditation include stress reduction, improved learning ability, increased focus and attention, enhanced memory and mood, and also reversal of brain atrophy.

18. Memorize Phone Numbers

By memorizing people’s names and phone numbers, you strengthen connections between your brain cells, which can make a big difference for your memory.

Divide 10-digit numbers into sections, such as 801 665 9378 to make it easier remember. It is arguably easier to remember 801 665 9378 than 8016659378.

19. Take up a Craft Hobby

Craft hobbies like knitting, drawing and painting are now getting more attention for their brain-boosting powers.[4]

Take up any craft hobby of your choice to strengthen your fine-motor skills and boost your brainpower.

20. Tell Stories

Telling stories stimulates the brain through recalling and recounting important details. It also helps you remember events and associate emotion with memories.

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Storytelling is so good for memory it is used to improve the lives of people with in Alzheimer’s disease.[5]

21. Create New Acronyms

Come up with your very own clever acronyms whenever you need to memorize something in a hurry.

Creating original acronyms or mnemonic phrases, where you use the first letters of words within a phrase to form a name, can sharpen your brain and assist in remembering more.

22. Visualize What You Want to Remember

Let’s say you want to remember to buy an item you need from the supermarket. Picture the items on your shopping list balancing on parts of your body.

For example, imagine balancing an egg on your nose, a bottle of milk on your head or a package of cheese on your shoulder. It’s fan and you won’t forget that image.

23. Vary Aspects of Your Surroundings

Vary things like the music in the background, time of day and whether you sit or stand when doing something to increase recall.

The theory is that the brain associates words (or whatever you are doing) to the context or environment around you. The more contextual cues you provide your brain, the more it has to draw upon when trying to remember specific things.

24. Space out Your Learning Sessions

Cramming is not always the best way to learn or remember things. Instead, review the information you want to learn or remember (statistics, foreign vocabulary, historical dates, scientific definitions, and so on) periodically over time. By spacing out your study sessions throughout the day, you learn more. Learn more about the technique here: How to Use Spaced Repetition to Remember What You’ve Learned

Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that he could learn a list of nonsense words if he repeated them 68 times in one day and seven more times before being tested the next day.

25. Sleep on It

Get enough shut eye each night. The brain needs six to eight hours of sleep, or at least two cycles of deep sleep each night to complete the necessary chemical changes needed to integrate new skills and information into long-term memory.

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Remember, your brain thrives on variety to keep those synapses firing. Exercising your brain with activities that are challenging, novel, and complex will help you to remember more and keep your brain fit.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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