Advertising
Advertising

10 Things To Learn From History’s Best Learners

10 Things To Learn From History’s Best Learners

Throughout history, and even in the modern era, there are individuals who have “cracked the learning code” and made breakthroughs by understanding (and acting on) things that others could not.

Here are 10 things we can learn from them:

1. They are permanently curious: Neil deGrasse Tyson

14336751581_e57ba98f1f_k

    “No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.”
    ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

    In science, curiosity is what leads to breakthroughs. And in everyday life, curiosity is a key ingredient to inspire learning, when it might be easier to just get on with your day. deGrasse Tyson’s curiosity was activated early in life, initiating a life-long study of astronomy after visiting the Hayden Planetarium at age 9, and now spreads that curiosity to millions of followers on one of the most interesting Twitter feeds around.

    What can you get curious about?

    2. They invest in themselves: Ben Franklin

    BenFranklinDuplessis

      “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
      ~ Ben Franklin

      Though his actual schooling ended at age 10, Franklin went on to be known as one of the most prolific polymaths of his era, constantly feeding his appetite for new knowledge through voracious reading in a wide array of different areas. This led to innovation and breakthroughs in printing, politics, science, engineering, activism, and of course the whole founding of the United States thing.

      Advertising

      While you might not have time to become an expert in artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine, and renewable energy, just remember to keep investing in yourself by adding something to your knowledge bank each day.

      3. They transcend traditional education: Albert Einstein

      685px-Einstein_1921_by_F_Schmutzer_-_restoration

        “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
        ~ Albert Einstein

        Einstein was famous for being a poor student. Even after his schooling, he took a menial job at the Swiss Patent Office because no one would consider him for a teaching position at a university. What he showed, more than anything else, is that brilliant discoveries transcend the bounds of what we typically consider “learning” and “education.”

        The key is this: if you want to learn about something, say physics, you don’t have to pick up a physics textbook. Instead go outside and observe nature, watch a documentary, read about the life of famous physicists – inspiration and true knowledge don’t come from the classroom.

        4. They teach themselves: Elon Musk

        8765031426_1b7094a652_z

          Everyone knows the famed billionaire founder of Zip2, Paypal, Tesla, and Space X. But how did he get there?

          One of the keys to Elon’s success has been the consistent ability to teach himself whatever he needed to know to build useful stuff. In fact, he started way back when he was 12 years old, and taught himself computer programming, building a computer game called Blastar, which sold for $500. That trend has continued, starting both Tesla and Space X with virtually no previous experience in automotive or aerospace engineering.

          So think about something you’d love to achieve. What skills and knowledge would you need to get there? Could you teach yourself?

          Advertising

          5. They consider alternative viewpoints: Aristotle

          688px-Sanzio_01_Plato_Aristotle

            “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
            ~ Aristotle

            How many people do you know who are staunch conservatives or bleeding-heart liberals? According to Aristotle, the father of modern science and political thought strongly-held beliefs like these are the enemy of productive discourse and progress. His philosophy: the answer to most problems lies in the synthesis of two opposing thoughts.

            So the next time you’re sure you know something, whether it be about diet, climate change, or politics, research the opposing viewpoint and consider it objectively. Then, and only then, make your decision on what’s correct.

            6. They get obsessed: Bill Gates

            billgates

              When Gates went to high school, he was already deep into programming computers, going so far as to study the source code for programs like Fortran, Lisp, and machine language. Soon after, he was hired by Information Sciences, Inc. to write a payroll program, and was commissioned by his school to write a computer program to schedule students in classes.

              “It was hard to tear myself away from a machine at which I could so unambiguously demonstrate success.”
              ~ Bill Gates

              Bottom line: Gates got obsessed, and kept taking that obsession deeper and deeper. And soon he found himself creating an industry. Get obsessed with something.

              7. They learn for the sake of learning: Stephen Hawking

              Advertising

              stephenhawking

                “No one undertakes research in physics with the intention of winning a prize. It is the joy of discovering something no one knew before.”
                ~ Stephen Hawking

                Much of our learning life is consumed with building a skill set or earning this or that certification. But whatever happened to learning for the sake of learning. Famed physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking contends that truly meaningful discovery in science comes not out of a specific objective, but out of genuine enjoyment for discovering something novel.

                Think about this the next time you pursue learning something: are you doing it just for the credential, or do you truly enjoy the learning process?

                8. They attach enjoyment and wonder to new knowledge: Carl Sagan

                Carl_Sagan_Planetary_Society

                  “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
                  ~ Carl Sagan

                  Sagan was one of the first to truly introduce the public to the wonders of science with his Cosmos series back in 1980. And in addition to his hundreds of publications, he was an unrelenting advocate of advancement in the exploration of space. It’s inspiring to just listen to him speak about the wonders of the universe. His drive to discover came from a sense of wonder about the beauty and magnificence of nature.

                  If you find enjoyment in something, you can uncover a boundless source of energy for learning more and more about it. What inspires you to learn?

                  9. They commit to learning for life: Mahatma Gandhi

                  Mountbattens_with_Gandhi_(IND_5298)

                    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
                    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

                    Gandhi was the utmost example of living in consistency with his beliefs. Part of that was an unyielding commitment to considering all alternatives, and keeping an open mind – continuously testing different approaches to religion, politics, activism, and even diet.

                    What we can all learn from him, is that keeping an open mind and participating in continuous, life-long learning is a practice worth adhering to.

                    10. They work tirelessly at building new knowledge: Thomas Edison

                    703px-Thomas_Edison2

                      “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
                      ~ Thomas Edison

                      Edison is famous for his devotion to hard work. Everyone knows about his 10,000 failed lightbulb experiments, but it wasn’t simply an obsession with one invention – he applied the same principles to everything he did. And in the end built a laundry list of inventions, and an entire power distribution industry.

                      Edison reminds us that it’s not enough to be clever and it’s not enough to be correct. You have to put in the hard work, day after day. But in the end, the results always come.

                      Featured photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      7 Reasons You Won’t Start Studying Until It’s Too Late, And What To Do About It The 3 Things Elon Musk Knows About School That All Students Should Copy 10 Ways for Students to Crush It Next Semester 20 Funny Things Everyone Can Do Every Day to Get Smarter 10 counterintuitive quotes on learning that will make you a better student

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life 2 6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals) 3 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 4 5 Must Read Self Improvement Books That Will Change Your Life 5 The Psychology of Habit Formation (And How to Hack it)

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on November 9, 2020

                      6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

                      6 Ways to Make Progress Every Day (And Realize Your Goals)

                      Are you at a critical stage in your life, and it seems you are not making headway with your life goals? Does it feel like you are complacent, and you are struggling to accomplish what you set out to do? You can make progress by establishing and diligently working towards those goals that align with your life’s mission.

                      A lot of dreams are not terminated because the dreamers gave up; they died due to a long period of inactivity. This is the more reason you need to develop a progress mindset while you pursue those relevant and meaningful goals.

                      A progress mindset will enable you to work on any inadequacy that can truncate the realization of your goals. With such a mindset, you are constantly evaluating yourself, improving your skills, and seeking ways to learn and grow through life.

                      Why Is It Essential to Develop a Progress Mindset?

                      Your mindset encompasses your beliefs—how you perceive your talents, skills, knowledge, and personality. Your belief system eventually influences your viewpoints about goals and success. A fixed mindset can hinder your progress, while a progressive mindset will enable you to achieve sound health, happiness, good relationships, and peace.

                      6 Ways to Make Progress and Realize Your Goals

                      Here are 6 practical ways that you can make progress and realize all your goals.

                      1. Figure Out Your WHYs

                      Nothing is static. You are either making progress or retrogressing. You need to establish why you want to move forward.

                      • Career: Why do I want to be fulfilled in my career?
                      • Marriage: Why do I want a happy home and loving children?
                      • Health: Why do I want to be physically and mentally sound?
                      • Finance: Why do I want to be out of debt?
                      • Academics: Why do I want to ace my grades?
                      • Relationship: Why do I want to communicate better?
                      • Personal: Why do I want to be a better person?

                      For every aspect of your life, establish the reasons for changing levels.

                      Someone once said,

                      “When your why is strong and convincing, the how will emerge.”

                      Establishing your reasons will help you to be an active player in decisions that affect your life. You will also be able to establish if your motivation to progress is intrinsic or extrinsic as you make progress.

                      2. Establish Tangible Goals

                      Once you have established your reasons, the next step is to establish your life goals. Develop your aims for short-term, mid-term, as well as long-term goals. This process will enable you to track your progress and implement changes that improve your progress.

                      Keep Your Goals SMART

                      Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound in order to make progress. For instance, I want to improve my typing speed by 150 wpm within the next three months. I will spend two hours daily practicing on Mavis Beacon. I wrote in detail on how to set SMART goals that you will accomplish.

                      You can learn how to write SMART goals in the video below:

                      Write Your Goals on Paper

                      Sticking your goals on your wall or notepad will offer you a visual cue that can reinforce why, how, and when you want to make progress on your goals.

                      Update Your Goals as Required

                      Review your goals at intervals to ensure you can still achieve them.

                      3. Create Your Game Plan

                      It is not enough to know what you want from life; you need to design a roadmap to get to your destination.

                      Here’s what you can do:

                      Break Your SMART Goals Into Habits

                      Begin by highlighting the good habits you need to cultivate and the bad habits you need to eliminate. Here’s how to break bad habits that can truncate your progress.

                      Advertising

                      Master One Habit at a Time

                      Once you figure out the good habits to have in your life, then ensure you practice them daily. Scientists revealed that you would need 18 to 254 days to develop new habits and that a new habit will only become permanent after 66 days of practicing it.[1]

                      Once you have gained mastery over a habit, add more routines that will enable you to make progress in the direction of your goals.

                      4. Imbibe Positivity

                      A positive outlook means you are always optimistic about yourself, interactions, and events. It also determines your ability to expect favorable outcomes when working towards your life goals.

                      Positivity is a mental posture that sees accomplishments and opportunities instead of failures and defeat. It will keep you hopeful when you are facing daunting challenges.

                      A study on positive thinking revealed that visualizing positive images can reduce worry and anxiety.[2]

                      How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

                      • Look out for the best in every circumstance to be more progress-minded.
                      • Use positive affirmations. For instance, when you wake up, say, “I will work hard to complete all my milestones today.”
                      • Associate with positive people that will support your progress. You need positive energy to consistently make progress in the direction of your goals.
                      • Change your perspectives about failures and setbacks, and see them as significant components of making progress.

                      5. Practice Reflection as You Progress

                      A lot of things will occur once you are determined to advance. You will learn new lessons and implement changes. You will form new habits and eliminate bad ones.

                      It is reasonable to take time out and evaluate what worked and what did not. Ask yourself how you can improve and surmount new obstacles. You can log your answers in a diary or use a virtual journal to track your thoughts[3].

                      Advertising

                      Self-reflection guide. Adapted from Gibb's (1988) reflective cycle.

                        Scientists have proved the significance of reflective practice on your productivity. A group of students at the Harvard Business School found out that call center agents who reflected for 15 minutes on what they’ve learned outperformed their colleagues by 23%.[4]

                        Self-reflection will enable you to keep your goals in mind constantly, which will ultimately help you make progress.

                        How do you make this happen?

                        Set up a Weekly Appointment With Yourself

                        During this period, define your goals and reflect on them. It will also help you verify if your goals are still achievable.

                        Ask Reflective Questions

                        Did I achieve all I planned? What salient lesson can I pick this week? What new things did I learn, and what actions do I need to make progress?

                        6. Celebrate Your Achievements

                        It is highly crucial to acknowledge every milestone you complete as you make progress in life. Celebrating your achievements will build your confidence and provide you with motivation to continue.

                        One of the best ways to do this is by pampering yourself with rewards when you achieve a goal. These rewards could be things you enjoy, such as a special meal, a music collection, or a mini-vacation.

                        These little rewards will continuously remind you of victory anytime you feel like giving up. Merely looking at your mini-vacation pictures will motivate you to keep working towards your next goals.

                        Celebrating your achievements will enable you to build on existing momentum and will allow you to attract more successes.[5]

                        Advertising

                        Bonus Tips

                        Here are other things that you can do to help you make progress toward your goals.

                        Invest in Self-Improvement

                        Self-development enhances your self-worth and self-confidence. You can improve yourself by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on any subject of interest. You can also attend webinars, seminars, or workshops to enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge.

                        Keep Moving

                        Every success comes with obstacles. Not giving up on your goals despite setbacks will help you achieve anything you desire. For instance, if you write a book and don’t make a single sale, write another one.

                        Don’t allow anything to discourage you from making progress. In case you missed a deadline, train yourself to meet the next one. A positive attitude will enable you to stay on course and infuse you with confidence.

                        Final Words

                        Goals offer you a sense of purpose and fulfillment when accomplished. When you make progress relentlessly in the direction of your goals, you build up the confidence to overcome obstacles, and every setback becomes a stepping stone to achieve your next target.

                        Apply these six practical steps to make progress and achieve every goal you have set.

                        More on How to Make Progress Toward Goals

                        Featured photo credit: Khiet Tam via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        Read Next