There is no doubt that the older we get the more difficult it is to learn new things. In grade school, I was always bewildered by how the teacher could forget our names. Granted they probably had more students then those in my class, but it was almost like instant recalls for myself. As I grew older, I started having trouble remembering people's names. Was his name John or was it Jim? He looks like someone I know named Jim, but his name is John.
Researchers have attributed learning difficulties as we age to numerous things. Evidently, age for one. But, some have said that the interference from knowledge gained in the past affects the processing power for new memories. Others have cited that the brain becomes more specialized and does away with the neuron connections that are not used as often. Sort of a "use it or lose it" kind of gig. In any event, there is a way to combat this, but like anything, it require work.
Shoot for the stars and land on the moon.
If you want to become good at something, look for the best. When I picked up golf about five years ago, I knew that eventually I was going to build a habit and a way of swinging the club - whether it be the proper way or a Charles Barkley way. It didn't make sense to go read a bunch of golf books or watch a bunch of amateurs. Even if I didn't want to play professional golf, the quickest way was to learn proper golf from someone who was doing it at a high level. At the very beginning, I sought out an instructor who had played professional golf in his earlier years. I wanted to build good habits from the beginning, so what better way to learn then to learn from the best.
Learn by doing and not be reading.
If you want to learn how to build a website or use Photoshop. The best way to learn is always by doing. In addition, to building this blog, I've created and a number of websites over the years including my most recent project, Noveloot. My background is in accounting/finance, and I didn't take a single programming class in college or ever. All of my learning came from Googling and trial and error.
Share your knowledge.
One of the reasons why I created this blog was to help reinforce everything that I've learned. If you are able to teach someone what you've learned that ultimately means you truly understand the material. Furthermore, I wanted a personal database of all the interesting and fascinating things I've learned. Recently, a friend of mine was planning a trip to Amsterdam, I was able to direct her to my blog. Let's face it, it is hard enough to remember what you had for lunch.
Practice shorter, but more often than longer, but less frequent.
A piano player that practices 10 minutes every day will do a lot better than one who practices 2 hours once a week. Let's face it, your brain needs time to process what you've learned. Also, we remember the first and last things the most. So recap what you've learned after each session to reinforce the important things you want to remember.
Ultimately, fast learning is an illusion. Most people who appear to be learning quickly are merely just associating what they are learning with similar concepts they've encountered in the past. They were modifying and combining old ideas to figure out new ones. One interesting similarity shared amongst them were that they were always looking to learn new things, draw new connections, and develop their intuitions.
Labels: Life Lessons, Personal