We have often discussed the hypothesis that we learned more the first year we were out of various universities than we had learned the whole time we were there. That is not accurate. It is just that what we learned away from the formal educational environment was less focused and open-ended. We had the opportunity to draw our own conclusions and continued learning from practical application and experience.
Our ability to use what we learned in the real world was enhanced by what we learned during the formal process. We had learned how to learn; where to go to find what we needed to learn in order to answer specific questions we needed answered on a day-to-day basis. No matter how old you are, it is important to keep on learning. The world as we know it today will change tomorrow. You can live in a constant state of bewilderment and frustration, or you can make a commitment to yourself to stay informed, learn new skills, and experience changing technologies.
We are all natural learners. We discover our world through touching, feeling and tasting. When our granddaughter, Serena, was a baby, she believed her job description demanded that she remove every single item contained within any drawer or cabinet she could open. She wanted to feel it, try it on, and tear it apart to see what happened. Unfortunately, because of the need to protect her, we had to child-proof all of our cabinets and drawers. This limited Serena to discovering only what we, and her parents, deemed appropriate for her to learn at any given stage in her journey toward adulthood.
Selective learning will continue throughout her life, unless she is a strong enough individual to reach beyond our boundaries and continue to discover the magic the world has to offer. She shows great promise because children know how to learn. Well-meaning adults limit the process. Stop and consider your own learning experiences. Ask yourself, “What is it that slows my learning? When is learning a struggle for me? When do I find my learning blocked and exactly what blocks it?” Have the courage to change the factors limiting your ability to learn.
In her book “Learning to Learn: Maximizing Your Performance Potential,” D. Trinidad Hunt points out that most of us have to learn how to learn all over again. Hunt suggests a creative system to enhance the learning process utilizing a few learning Power Points. Her system works for children as well as adults to encourage lifelong learning.
Create the optimal mental climate for learning, which includes trust, joy, optimism, spontaneity and exhilaration. Develop a learning to learn model where mistakes are part of the learning process. The wrong way is the avenue through which the right way is discovered.
Practice inclusive sorting, a belief that will make your goal conceivable and achievable. Believe that if it is possible in the world it is possible for you. Create an inner climate of possibility which will unshackle you from your past and allow you to create a future of your own choosing.
Release yourself from the chains and fetters of limiting mental attitudes. Get in to the flow. When you are in the flow, you have the spirit, the desire, the will, the fire, the craving, the hunger, the yearning and the inspiration all rolled up in one. You can accomplish anything.
As Hunt points out, “When you use these Power Points you help discover your own inherent brilliance. Just beyond the veil of your awareness lies the genius within.”
You can also enhance your learning experience by learning to take Power Notes. In an age of information, powerful note-taking skills may become one of the most critical keys to retention and long term memory.
“The critical key to effective Power Note taking,” Hunt advises, “is to learn to listen for the speaker’s Power Points. When you need to retrieve the learned information just one glance at one of your Power Notes will help you create the whole chain of visual memory.”
It is a powerful form of brain shorthand that your children already know.
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Jaine Carter, Ph.D., is the author of the book “He Works She Works” and wrote a national weekly column for the Scripps Howard News Service. Dr. Carter is a relationship coach working with people to help break down barriers and build bridges toward win/win solutions.