This month, I dive into the topic of Accelerated Learning and the potential we each have to experience exponential growth in the areas of learning, memory and reading.
I am intrigued by how quickly and powerfully technology is advancing. If we were able to travel back in time 100 years, the thought that someone could speak into a small device (cell phone) and speak to someone else on a small device (cell phone) in real time, yet each be on a different continent in a different part of the world, would be totally inconceivable (it still amazes us). The same can be said for space travel, or microwave ovens, television, and of course, computers and the Internet. But here is what is most intriguing to us: The possibilities to do all this existed hundreds of years ago, and, yes, even thousands of years ago—they just had not been discovered.
1. What has not been discovered yet that we would find unbelievable?
2. Who discovers or figures these things out?
3. What is more powerful: the inventor/discoverer or the technology/discovery?
The bottom line is this: Despite the advances of technology has given us (for example, the computer), they are still tools created and operated by humans. Humans keep figuring out and discovering possibilities and opportunities that previously seemed impossible. We each have a wellspring of undiscovered possibilities and opportunities sitting right inside our own heads, just waiting to be explored and tapped into.
Let’s seize the day to see the possibilities and the wide-open expanse of the unexplored territory waiting to be tapped!
We are on Month 11, keep on learning!
The N.J.W Blog
Accelerated Learning, Part One—You Are a Genius!
This month, I focus on accelerating our learning processes—how exciting! First, understand that we all posses the ability to improve and accelerate our learning curve. And second, this creates the potential of what we can continue to become.
Here is an overview of the month.
1. You Are a Genius! This week, I discuss ways to unlock and tap into the incredible and powerful potential in your mind. We will also cover the attitudes of successful learners and show how your attitude about learning will determine how far you go in your life and career.
2. Six Stages of Learning. Next week, I will talk about how to accelerate your learning and discover what your unique learning strengths and weaknesses are. I will also cover the topic of finding your particular learning style, and how to best tailor your learning to fit your unique needs.
3. Improve Your Memory. In two weeks, I will talk about how the mind and memory work and how to train yourself to remember more. I will also cover basic speed-reading techniques and show you the importance of reading and how to develop a basic reading plan.
4. Lifelong Learning. In Week Four, I will discuss the importance and benefits of being a lifetime learner. In addition, I will talk briefly about a basic plan for lifelong learning and how to keep your mind tuned for success, as well as how to win the battles of thought that take place in our minds.
You Are a Genius—Unlocking the Power of the Mind
This month, I focus on the learning that comes through the power of the mind. Take care to feed and stimulate your brain, and you will expand your mind. A healthy brain is central to a healthy mind. Because the two are inextricably connected, I would like to start this month by giving an overview of the astounding complexity of the brain. Many of these facts may be familiar to you, but they are important reminders of this incredible tool God gave us. We again need to see the human brain and mind with wonder, awe and inspiration.
But first, what do we mean by “learning”?
Here is how some dictionaries define it:
—The act, process or experience of gaining knowledge or skill
—Knowledge or skill gained through schooling or study
—Behavioral modification, especially through experience or conditioning
—To gain knowledge, comprehension or mastery through experience or study
Keep this in mind as we go through the month: Learning is gaining knowledge through various means.
Now, a little about the brain:
The brain is the equivalent of a human supercomputer. Your brain is more complicated than any computer mankind has ever made. Maximizing your brain’s ability is essential to becoming the success you desire to become because it controls who you are. It is the command center involved in and controlling absolutely everything you do. Your brain determines how you think, feel and act.
Simply put: When your brain is working at peak performance, it allows you to be your best because it controls the rest.
Here are some facts about the brain:
– It is about 2 percent of body weight.
– It consumes about 20 to 30 percent of the body’s energy.
– There are about 100 billion neurons in the brain.
– Each neuron or nerve cell is connected to other nerve cells in the brain.
– There are more than 1 quadrillion connections in the brain.
– Each one of these neurons is a little “learning center” capable of storing knowledge.
Needless to say, most of us have barely scratched the surface when it comes to tapping into those neurons!
There are some basic influences on the brain that shape how it functions and how far it develops. Some of these include genes, health, injury, self-talk, life experiences, stress and study (or lack of it). Notice, I said that these influence the brain, but they do not determine how far you can go or what you can learn, except perhaps in the case of severe injury or mental retardation. In other words, you have the incredible opportunity to go as far as you desire!
So, with such a tremendous tool at our disposal, what keeps so many from experiencing the possibilities that this tool can bring? There are some simple barriers that many people face that can have the potential to wreak havoc on our learning if we allow them to.
Barriers to Finding Your Genius
Lack of belief. Many people do not believe that they can learn, master knowledge or become “smarter.” These are deeply held beliefs for many, and, ultimately, if you do not believe it, you will not achieve it.
Lack of knowledge. What keeps some people from learning is that they choose not to access or do not have access to knowledge. Knowledge comes from experiences, books, people and other “knowledge dispensers.” We must tap into that knowledge.
Lack of desire. Some people simply do not have the desire to learn. They may be lazy, or they may not see the positive impact that learning would have on them. They have no passion inside that drives them to learn.
Lack of hard work. Gaining knowledge—learning—is hard work, and it takes a lifetime to master. It is an ongoing discipline that is never complete. I am getting on in my years, and I am still learning. I am still doing the hard work to expand my mind. It would be easy to give up and coast, but I love the challenge of continuing to learn.
So, how do we overcome or break through these “barriers”? The key to breaking through these barriers is to do the opposite.
Let’s look at some tools we can use to knock down those barriers:
Change Your Beliefs. It is up to you to do the work of changing your beliefs. And when you do, you will be opening up new worlds— literally! Feed your mind with information that will change your belief. By taking part in this one-year plan, you are doing just that. But also ask yourself if you are doing that with belief. The truth is that you have an amazing mind with a capacity for learning that is beyond your comprehension. You must believe this. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind!
Get the Right Knowledge. Words—if they are not true—are meaningless. I hear children say, “I read it in a book.” But is it true? Just because someone says it or writes it doesn’t mean it is true. As learners, we want to get the right knowledge, not just information or opinions. It is our job to seek out information and knowledge and then test it and run it through our minds to see if it is true, and if it can be rightfully applied to our lives in order to make them better and help us succeed. We need to weigh and measure what we learn in order to gain the right knowledge. And when we do, we will be unlocking the potential of our mind!
Become Passionate About Learning. This will take some work, but the only way to do it is to begin learning about things that have an immediate impact in your life. When you learn about a new financial concept that helps you earn money or get out of debt, you will be fired-up. When you learn about a way to communicate that helps you sell more product, you will be energized. When you learn about how to interact with your family in a healthy way and your relationships get better, you will be inspired! Become passionate about learning, because when you do, you unlock the potential of your mind!
Discipline Yourself Through the Hard Work of Study. Learning will take work. Until someone comes up with modules that can plug into your mind and give you instant access to knowledge, you are on your own, and that takes work. The process of learning is a long one. Yes, we can speed it up, but it is still a process of reading, listening, reviewing, repetition, applying the knowledge, experiencing the outcomes, readjusting, etc. Simply put, that takes time. Slowly but surely, when you discipline yourself, you gain knowledge and learn. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind!
Learning is possible, no matter your age. You are never too young or too old. Your mind was created to learn, and it has a huge capacity to do so. This week, make a commitment to unlock the potential of your mind!
We can choose our attitudes about anything, including learning and education. That’s right. We get to choose what our attitudes are. Attitude is “the feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that follows from this.” We choose our opinion about people and situations. We choose the way we will behave in relation to other people and circumstances. We choose what we believe about learning. We choose it. Learning doesn’t have to be bad. It doesn’t have to be anything but what we want it to be. We have the option. We can have tremendously optimistic attitudes about learning—attitudes that will help us grow in ways we have never achieved before!
The choice of a right attitude will significantly determine new circumstances. Choosing to have the right attitude will change the world around you. This isn’t any sort of magic; it is just how the world works. Now, don’t get us wrong. It won’t cure everything and turn your world into a virtual Shangri-La, but it will significantly improve the world you live in. For example, let’s say that every day you go into work and you gripe about life and work from the moment you get there until the moment you leave. Will others want to be around you? Will others ask your opinion? Will others like you? Will others ask you to join them for lunch? Probably not! But what if you come to work every day and you are the positive optimist of the crowd? Will everybody love you? No, but significantly more people will than if you are the office pessimist! Your choice of attitude will determine what kind of circumstances you get!
The same is true with learning. What we feel about learning and what we believe about it will determine the outcomes of our learning. And the outcomes of our learning will determine the outcome of our lives.
Ultimately, our attitude is a choice. Nobody else can force you to have a bad attitude. Nobody else can force you to have a good attitude. It is simply a choice we each make.
Where are you with your attitude about learning? Is it positive? Take some time to give it some serious thought. Then, no matter where you find yourself, decide to take your attitude to the next level! If you have a really bad attitude, decide to take it up a couple of levels!
So, if our attitudes determine to a great degree what kind of life we have, shouldn’t we focus on the best attitudes to have and then make them our own? Absolutely! If we want to soar with the eagles in this life, and if there are attitudes that will make us soar, shouldn’t we pursue them with all our hearts? Yes, by all means! So here we go!
Attitudes of Successful Learners
1. “I can.” This is the most basic attitude. We simply must choose to believe that we can learn. Telling yourself that you can’t will, in effect, make it so. But telling yourself that you can, will, in effect, enable you to learn much more. Even if you actually only achieve 50 percent of what you tell yourself, you will achieve at least that much more than if you told yourself you couldn’t. So many people were told at a young age that they couldn’t learn. Many others were allowed to engage in that kind of negative self-talk (telling themselves, “I can’t learn,” “I don’t understand,” I’ll never get this,” etc.), and their parents and teachers didn’t intervene. This enabled them to develop the “I can’t” attitudes that become self-fulfilling prophecies.
2. “This is a long-term approach.” Learning isn’t something that happens overnight. Yes, you can learn individual facts, but the real growth comes when you see your learning build on itself and compound for years, when your knowledge meets up with your experience. When we take the attitude that it all has to happen immediately, we hurt ourselves in the long run because the fact is that it takes time to learn (even though we can accelerate it). If we expect it to happen immediately and it doesn’t, then we can get frustrated and stop learning altogether.
Instead, we need to take a long-term view just as we do in financial matters, weight management, leadership, etc. Long-term thinking, including our learning is always the best way to go for success.
3. “Learning is valuable.” Some people have a “learning schmearning—who needs learning?” attitude. They think that learning is overrated. That’s wrong, especially today. We live in the information age. We must gain knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge if we are going to be successful. We must tell ourselves and cultivate the attitude that learning is valuable and that it will affect our lives.
4. “I will make a difference in the lives of those around me.” People who soar are generally people who have the attitude of helping other people. Yes, they may do it for monetary gain, but they are others-focused. They want to change the way people live and experience life for the better. They are difference makers all around. This is the same in what we learn. We learn first for ourselves, but then with the goal of taking what we have learned, and what we make of ourselves, and we then help others to do the same.
One thing we can say, as almost a universal truth, most people are not self-consumed. They genuinely care about others and will do what they can to help others. This is what we know to be true about the attitudes of the genuinely successful.
These are the attitudes of people who are not just successful at getting information into their minds, but in becoming good people because of that information. Learn all that you can, and be sure to keep the attitudes that will make you a successful learner and a successful person!
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!