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7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently

7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently

All people were born with great gifts, talents and potential, including you. What makes a real difference in reaching your potential is the ability to be a smart learner. See what smart learners do differently and what they can teach us.

They always learn.

People often divide their time between learning and non-learning. Learning is usually much more focused, dedicated time. Even our education systems are built around that concept — first we learn for several years, and then we work. Smart learners do it differently. They use every occasion to learn something new — about the food they eat, the way things work, different cultures, different roles in the same organization, history, and the people around them. The world is a great source of knowledge and skills, available 24/7, so they ask tons of questions and connect the dots.

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They are good observers.

Walking or driving the same route hundreds of times does not guarantee that you will learn about all the buildings and other interesting things on the way. To do it, you have to look at the world with curiosity. Smart learners focus on the here and now, ready to observe the changes and the world surrounding them. They don’t have to talk much; they will instead ask questions.

They make mistakes.

Most people have a great fear of failure. It seems better not to do something rather than make a mistake. Smart learners exchange the word “mistake” with “lesson.” There is no better way to learn something than simply trying it, so experiment and observe. If one way didn’t work, try another one. Of course, sometimes many lessons have to be taken before something is mastered. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

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They don’t give up too early.

With great fear of failure comes giving up too early. Today, we are tempted to try new things just a few times and then resign. When we can’t master something quickly, why bother? However, turn back time and imagine yourself as a child learning how to walk. How many times did you fall down in that process? Probably hundreds! Now you possess that great skill without thinking about it, but what would have happened if you had given up too early? Learning takes time and falling down often — smart learners understand that.

They connect with smart people.

The world is a big network of connections. Some of them are better quality than others, and your time on this planet is limited. Smart learners understand that they need high quality connections — people around them who will inspire them, shake their worlds, and ask good and deep questions. We learn best when we are relaxed and have a real friend and mentor around.

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They try new things.

To be able to learn, our brain needs stimulation and then a good rest. Just look at how a small child explores the world, looks at everything with curiosity, then tries to put the pieces together and checks the taste. Later, the child “sleeps like a baby!” Smart learners possess that spark of curiosity and often try something new. Take part in some workshops or online courses, watch TED, and meet new people. They do some things differently and it keeps them from being bored.

They don’t think they are smart.

Smart learners don’t talk much. The knowledge and skills they have are not merely to impress others, but comes from their inner passion. They are humble enough to acknowledge how much they don’t know, and at the same time they feel good about and are energized by that. When they don’t know they don’t pretend to; they simply ask questions.

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We all waste so much of our potential by not learning smart enough. Let us take the right lesson from smart learners. You life will definitely be more creative, happy, relaxed and full of passion.

Is there anything you learned from smart learners? Feel free to comment!

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Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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