Why I’m Learning How To Learn

im-still-learning
Taken by “Anna Davis 773” on Flickr

 

I had come back from a trip to Spain and was wondering why I was back in the grey Netherlands when I meet a friend I hadn´t seen for a long time. She told me that she was now location independent and just got back from Bali and was going to Alicante. Wherever she had internet and her laptop she could work.

That triggered me to go back and learn new skills so I also could become a digital nomad and that is why I´m taking this course. But I never had to study when I was in school, I was fortunate in many ways that I picked up things easily just by reading and attending classes. However now I´m studying by myself things that I haven´t done before and I need to “Learn how to learn” and that is why I´m taking the Coursera course for that.

I´m focusing on taking my skills of communications, marketing and sales to the online world. So I need to systematically figure out what are the main things to learn, prioritize and tick of one by one, and put what I learn into action. Because if I don´t put what I learn into action I will forget, as we learned in this course. And also what use is it to me and the world if I know something and don´t use it.

There are luckily plenty of free courses and information how to study available, but its also quite overwhelming. It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant and that had lead to my analysis paralysis. My biggest challenge is that I´m used to things coming natural and easy and doing anything that I like to do as long as I find it interesting. But like Dr. Terrence Sejnowski mentioned in his interview that is not enough to be smart but you have to have passion and perseverance.

What I´m going to have to do to equip myself for this new career path is learning how to create disciplined routines that support me reaching my goals. I´m already highly creative and knowledgeable and that has lead to me being invited to be part of many brainstorming groups and think tanks for companies and organisations, but I know that ideas are a dime a dozen and the fortune is in the follow-through. Taking ideas from conception to completion and hopefully even bringing them to the point that they can stand by themselves while I go and start other ones is what I consider to be a lasting legacy.

So far in my quest for mastery of my mind I have learned a few tricks that I think will benefit me.

  • Use the “Nothing Alternative” where I give myself the option to work on the task that I dread doing, or Nothing. I can stare into space or just think but I´m not allowed to do anything…except work on what I´m reluctant to do. And the pain of doing nothing is greater than the pain that Dr. Barbara Oakleysaid that our brain is trying to help us avoid when it encourages us to procrastinate. And like she said, the pain disappears when we start doing the dreaded task.
  • I have used the “Pomodoro technique” before but it takes me some time to get into a “Flow state” so I follow the “Ultradian rhythm“and work on something for 90 min because the first few min are simply about getting into the zone. But I agree with Dr. Barbara that I need to reward myself when I´m done with my session with a walk or something to get.

I for example have a timer that turns off the internet at 11 at night so we aren´t tempted to stay awake. But learning here about that it´s good to go over what you want your brain to work on during your sleep so I´m going to change the timer to 10 and review my day for things that I can improve and go over the following day so my brain can prep for it.

I never went to the gym so I ended up taking a side job as a bicycle delivery currier so I´m going out a few hours a week exercising, no matter the weather…and I´m getting paid for it.

And we never have anything unhealthy in the house so when I have a “Snack Attack” there isn´t anything except a carrot or other healthy things for me to snack on. It has helped me reaching the 800gr of fruits and vegetables that we are encouraged to eat everyday to keep our health, and brain, in tip top shape.

So I´m working on “Learning how to learn” but I´m open to all suggestions and support that I can get. Its great to see that there are other people that also want to take their learning to the next level and I´m looking forward to get to know you.

—-

Nothing Alternative in Roy Baumeister and John Tierney’s (2011) book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,  Penguin Press. One of the world’s most esteemed and influential psychologists, Roy F. Baumeister, teams with New York Times science writer John Tierney to reveal the secrets of self-control and how to master it

Ultradian Rhythms in Prolonged Human Performance. Army Research  Lavie, Peretz ; Zomer, Jacob ; Gopher, Daniel http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA296199“Abstract : The recent wave of interest in rhythms in human behavior is erroneously attributed to the recent developments in the study of biological rhythms. In a recent historical review of the field of behavioral rhythmic research lavie(1980) uncovered several independent roots of research unrelated to questions regarding the nature and functions of biological rhythms. One of those roots was the rather naive ambition of educational psychologists to schedule school hours according with the optimal times for cognitive functioning such as mathematics, reading, etc, on the one hand, and activities requiring psychomotor skills, on the other. This research which attracted quite a number of investigators around the turn of the century, died away around the mid 1920’s. Recently it has been revived by the renewed interest in biological rhythms, sleep rhythms, and their interaction with behavior. The notion of an optimal schedule of human behavior is indeed an attractive one. In nature, optimal scheduling and synchronization of different behaviors with the geophysical environment is for many species a crucial survival issue. Displaying courting behavior at the wrong times of the year is dangerously maladaptive, while synchronization of courting and mating behavior with suitable environmental conditions ensures offspring survival.”

Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi “In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.”

 

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2 thoughts on “Why I’m Learning How To Learn

  1. Hey! I took that class and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s one of the those few classes that I actually finished! Looking forward to seeing what you get out of it! 😀

    1. I enjoyed the class and was even did some of the extra homework to get the extra credits…hence I created this blog post 😉

      And now I’m taking another course from “CreativeLIVE” about “How to learn anything – Hacking your education”

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