The Four Step Process to Retaining Whatever You Learn
Life long learning is one of the pre-requisites for success. If you stop learning you stop progressing and once you stop progressing, you become stagnant. And guess what, just like stagnant water, after a while, stagnant people begin to stink.Most of us don’t even try to learn, and God help those people. However, there are many people who try to learn from various books, watch videos, learn from blogs, learn from attending workshops, seminars, classes and from meetings with other people.
However, they are not able to retain the information and they tend to forget much of what they learn. So even though they spend all that time working hard to acquire new information, they lose most of it. But that doesn’t have to be the case. So what is it that we can do in order to retain everything we learn and achieve success faster than ever before.
1) Take notes
Our memories are astonishingly weak compared. Even if you remember a particular moment from years ago, you have already forgotten 99.9 percent of what happened. Heck, you have already forgotten much of what exactly happened yesterday even if you have selective segments from it that you retain.
Do you even remember, the exact minute by minute details of the last two hours? You don’t. So how can you rely on mere memory to retain whatever you learn?
You need to make a record of what you learn and the best way to do it is not recording a video but by writing notes. Writing forces you to think actively and absorb information, whilst you can record a video even when you are sleeping. That is far from the ideal way to absorb information. You can record a video simultaneously but you need to write or type in order to actively absorb whatever you are learning.
2) Feed it immediately into some place where it won’t be lost.
How often have you read the notes that you have taken, unless they are for some kind of exam preparation? The answer is very few times for many people and zero times for most people.
Most people take notes home and either use it as a pillow or throw the notepad into the trash can in two weeks time. You need to make sure there is a record of what you learnt that is very hard to erase.
You could make a recording of it as I mentioned above but that is very passive in nature and most people who avoid taking notes and just make a recording don’t really study the recording either. The best way to ensure actively that there is a record of what you learned is to type it all into an electronic device, either a word document, or in email or in Google docs or anything that is more permanent than a note pad that is headed into the trash can soon.
3) Read or watch it at least 5 to 6 times.
It is very difficult to retain information if you just read it once. It takes if an average of 15 to 16 times of reading or viewing something before you fully understand and absorb something. But at the very minimum you should read or view it 5 to 6 times to at least get a basic understanding and retention of whatever of what you learnt.
The more you read or view something, the more you know the exact details of what was mentioned and can recall the information to your mind as and when needed. Otherwise you will just keep trying to remember wondering what the hell was said.
4) Remember that information gives you knowledge but application gives you skill.
The absolute best way to retain knowledge is to apply it. If you let it sit in your notepad or electronic device, the priceless information becomes useless for you. Before you apply something, it is information, when you start applying it, it becomes wisdom and skill because now it is becoming a part of you.
Many people learn martial arts but they forget all about martial arts when it comes to a real life fight. On the other hand, people who are experienced MMA fighters or highly trained martial artists, would use the skills they learned during their training during a real life fight. Why is that?
The reason is that the former haven’t applied what they learnt enough to make it their second nature, while for the second group, what they learnt has become a part of them, because of constant application and repetition. In fact Bruce Lee said in one of his movies, that when he hit somebody, he was not the one who hit, it hit all by itself!
Although it was a movie dialogue, it was still completely true in real life because Bruce Lee had practiced so much that he did not need to remember, what move to use in a fight, it happened all by itself
Remember, information gives you knowledge, application and repetition gives you skill!
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