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January is a time when people are generally upswing with their New Year resolutions and are trying to push it to happen at all costs. Instead of attempting a drastic change in habits or routine or learning a new skill only at the time of New Year, you should constantly make this effort around the year. This will put your mind in a state of constant activity and give it unending zeal to accomplish something. Talking about learning in particular, it is a proven fact that learning has no limit in terms of age or time. It can virtually happen at any time of life when you are willing to walk that extra mile to enhance yourself as a person or a professional. In fact, learning in this new age has become even simpler and faster as everything is available at a click. There is an apparent growth in scope when it comes to learning a new skill.
Studies have also shown that when you practice a new skill, it actually leads to an increase in the white matter of your brain which has a direct effect on your performance. Thus, when you learn some new skill it helps to trigger your neurons which makes the path of electrical impulses faster. This leads to better learning ability and can also cure dementia. So, before you start to invest your time in learning something new, here are a few tips which will help you walk the path with ease.
There is no particular learning style which will help you achieve your goal. The popular belief that everyone has a typical learning style is actually a myth. The fact is that everyone needs multiple learning styles to master a new skill. So, if anyone tells you what is your typical learning style among auditory, visual or kinaesthetic you can comfortably state that none of the above. In an enlightening TED talk, Dr. Tesia Marshik stated that after 40 years of research it was found that nothing substantial is gained after matching the teaching style with the learning style. She had found out in her own research experiments that the students learned in the same manner irrespective of the ways in which the studying material was given to them.
It is generally believed that people are born with some talents e.g. singing, painting, writing, sports etc. It is usually said that either you have a talent or you don’t. It may hold good in some cases like singing as some people are born with melodious voices, but in most cases, it has been scientifically proven that talent is not determined by our genetic makeup but our somatic environment and our actions. Thus, any skill can be learned and even mastered with persistence.
Motivation is the key to learning or doing anything new. Your level of motivation will actually decide how far will you go to learn anything. The push to move forward is greatest when your spirits are high and you are driven by a purpose. So, the underlying fact is that you should have a goal set in your mind frame. A well-defined aim or goal usually acts as a great motivating factor which makes individuals overcome the most difficult challenges or tasks with ease. Also, you need to be aware of the fact that nothing comes served to you and you have to make an effort to get things together. Learning a new skill may also require you have peripheral knowledge about something related for which you should be prepared and willing.
You are lucky if you can find a right mentor for yourself who will be able to guide you in the right direction at the right time. You should look for a mentor who is skilled in the particular field which you want to learn as he/she will be able to share some great ways and techniques which can not only make your learning more effective but also complete in all the aspects. Mentors are important as they will also be able to check your mistakes in time and correct you when needed.
Human beings are wired in a way that natural learning is more meaningful to them. It is because of this reason, that hands-on learning is always more effective. Thus, in every corporate office or even in elite public sector jobs, there is always an intensive training module before you actually hit the floor and start with your on-job responsibilities. It is not that you lack the knowledge or the ability, but you will only know how to do a particular thing in actual practice only after you have performed it once during your training. Thus, you must do the things to master it rather than just read or acquire knowledge.
Any skill which you aspire to learn, and master is already out there in the market and many people before you have already mastered the same. It is thus a wise investment of time to read about their journey and experiences. They are the best ones to let you know how to go about it and what essentials you need to have before you actually take up the course. Once done, you also have to ensure that you follow the advice and put the same in practice of-course with your own discretion. You should not completely copy them or mimic them as your conditions, learning speed and time spacing is different. Then, again you can track your progress by comparing their notes and journey.
Practice is the key to learning. You must make an extra effort to step out of your comfort zone and practice the parts which you find tough. This is known as a deliberate practice technique where you specifically sit and practice the difficult parts. This technique was made popular by Anders Ericsson who also advocated the importance of concentration while you practice the most difficult areas. Ericsson states that you have to completely focus on the problem you are handling for best results. The idea is to challenge yourself and start with the part which you find most difficult with complete concentration.
Human Brain is so designed that it operates in two specific modes- one is focussed, and the other is diffused. The interesting part is that both the parts are important as far as learning is concerned. When in the focussed mode it is able to grasp all the fineries of the problem at hand while in the diffused mode you are able to work around the bigger picture of the problem and are able to put together all the pieces of the problem. Thus, the human brain needs to rest after an intense practice session to allow it time to recall and assimilate. Pomodoro Technique helps you accomplish such goals. It involves working on a project for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break. After every four sessions, you can take a break of 15-30 minutes. This keeps your brain fresh and prepares it for the next session.
It is a natural human tendency to avoid tests, but testing has proven itself as the most effective way to enhance learning. It surpasses the ways of revising. Solving problems and appearing in practice exams have proven to be a highly effective technique to learn. It not only gives confidence but also acts as a great brain exercise. Testing not only is able to find out how much you actually remember but is also able to gauge how far you can apply your knowledge in a time-pressed manner.
You will never be able to completely learn something unless you have an urge to know more. Take the proactive approach and learn outside the prescribed books and syllabus. In case of any problems instead of referring the same books, step out and seek information from different sources which may open your mind to new vistas and possibilities. This can lead you to an entirely new perspective to the problem you were facing. Curiosity will always lead you to discover new things, which you should not hesitate to try. You may make mistakes but those are also an integral part of the learning process.
Thus, learning new skills and developing a curious mindset will help you win bigger deals in your professional and personal life. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and an edge over others at your workplace and prepare you for your dream job. Thus, in 2019 invest some revolutionary thoughts and plans which will contribute to your growth. Learn something new, but do keep in mind the pointers mentioned above as they may sound simple but are very effective in practice.
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