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Learning How to Learn | Part Two

self management Aug 08, 2019

Procrastinating is robbing your future.

Last week, we talked about the “learning pyramid” and how we don’t retain much information by simply listening or reading about new ideas or concepts. 

The way to thoroughly learn a concept is to take action on what you’ve learned.  You’ve got to start DOING!

Beyond that, if you want to challenge yourself, try teaching the concept to someone else. For example, try explaining the concept of the “learning pyramid” to a friend or your spouse.

Chances are you’ll mess up at first.  But don’t worry!  Making mistakes is part of the process.  Just go back and study the material further.  Try to focus and concentrate on retaining the information.  This isn’t easy in our distraction-filled world, but that’s life, folks.  Learning is a struggle. 

When you can clearly teach a concept to someone else, you now KNOW the information.  Through the struggle of learning, the new information is now hard-wired into your brain, which has physically formed new neuro-transmitters and connections. 

Just like a physical workout, your mental workout can be painful.  Do you want bigger or more toned biceps?  You can read all about how to do bicep curls properly, but the act of reading doesn’t do much. You’ve got to DO them.

To train your brain, accept the pain. 

By the way, all of the above was included in last week’s post.  However, by repeating it in a slightly different way, you probably now understand it better than before.

Spaced repetition is another important concept to understand when it comes to learning.  This gives those neuro-transmitters a chance to reset and build upon what they’ve already retained.

Which do you think is better?  Going to the gym for three hours once per week, or going for one hour, three times per week?  The answer is obvious, and it’s the exact same concept.

If you really want to build knowledge and skills, it requires revisiting the information several times.  Our brains actually pay LESS attention the first time we experience something new.  You’ll learn noticeably more the second and third time you focus on any topic. 

Studies have proven that your focused learning sessions should be between 30 and 90 minutes.  Anything less is not enough to solidify the information, and more is too much for the brain to retain.

I strongly suggest that you make an ‘Appointment with Yourself’ for your learning sessions.  This means you time block a specific time to do the work, you turn off all distractions (just as you would if you had an appointment with anyone else), and you concentrate 100% of your energy on learning the topic at hand.

Another important learning concept is to go deep vs. wide.  Concentrate on thoroughly learning one subject, rather than trying to learn a little bit about a wide range of disconnected topics.  This just causes confusions and you won’t retain ANYTHING, so what’s the point?

Avoid subjecting your brain to all kinds of non-purposeful, unimportant information.  This actually stunts the learning process, and your ability to retain anything, which is obviously counter-productive, and can cause you to quit trying.

Having a purpose to your learning is important!  Ask yourself, “What is the end goal for me learning this information?”  And be as specific as possible.  For example, why should you care about the “learning pyramid”? 

“To make more money,” is a lousy answer because it is completely disconnected.  Here’s a good answer:

“By understanding the process of learning better, I’ll be able to make better use of my time, learn more things faster, put those things into action, improve my skills, and thereby serve my clients better.  This will improve my overall job satisfaction, and ultimately, I’ll make more money.”

When you have a clear focus for learning, your brain will filter out distractions from the constant bombardment of useless information that is constantly swirling around every one of us.  Without a clear focus, it won’t.

You’ll need to decide what to focus on, and this may be a new skill in itself that you need to develop.  That’s because our school system has inadvertently trained us NOT to have a natural curiosity about things.  You were told what to study and what was going to be on the test.  The goal was to provide the correct answers to already-known solutions, as opposed to discovering anything new.

You need to stoke your natural childlike curiosity that is stored deep inside you!  Start questioning everything.  Stop looking for the quick one-word answers and instead seek out a deeper understanding. 

If you want to differentiate yourself as a talented, deeply knowledgeable, highly skilled REALTOR®, devote yourself to a course of continuous learning.

If you’ve lost your spark for learning, the most important thing you can do in your life is to get it back, my friend.  The best time to do that might have been twenty years ago.  The second best time?

Now.

Don’t wait another five years, look back, and say to yourself, “I wish I had started five years ago.”

—Coach Ted


Ted Greenhough

12 X RE/MAX Chairman’s Club ($500K+) all as an individual agent (2006-2017)
Now, I teach good REALTORS® how to be great REALTORS®

Knowledge First Real Estate Training
Knowledge + Action = Skill

"After being in Real Estate for 18 years, I was feeling stuck and wanting to elevate my game. I’ll admit I was skeptical about coaching, partly because I didn’t feel ‘coachable’ and also because I had a crappy (expensive) experience earlier. Ted's coaching was different. He dug deep to find core issues holding me back, found them, and is helping me actually change. I love his ‘no excuses’ way, his concern for my success and the EFFECT it has had. In a terrible Real Estate market, after only a few weeks of coaching, I’ve never been more healthy and productive."

— Pete de Jong, RE/MAX Realty Professionals

THE KNOWLEDGE FIRST MISSION

To dramatically elevate the level of 
customer service in Real Estate in North America.

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