Posts Tagged With: Learning

Life Is A Journey

Some days, we feel like we are simply going through meaningless chores. The humdrum routine of life. Nothing seems exciting.
This is your ‘Going through life’ phase. When you are most likely to end up experiencing fatigue and boredom.
Surely no one wants that.
But how do we break out of the rut. Can we just turn our perspective around? Flip the coin to that other side. Much more pleasant. All we need is the r-factor. To add the ‘r‘ and enrich ourselves.
It is called ‘Growing Through Life‘.
By Growing through life, we will find learning and excitement even in the routine.
So what will you be doing today?
Growing through life’ or keep ‘Going through life.’
“Life is a journey and it’s about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are and loving who and what you are.” – Kelly McGillis
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To Be Great

To be great, One need not be special. One only has to be willing to work hard at it.

No great achiever – even those who made it seem easy – ever succeeded without hard work.” ~Jonathan Sacks

Very often one hears that people are born with natural talent. This is just not true. We are born with hardly any innate skills. Excellence therefore, is primarily born not of inherent ability, but of deliberate practice.

We all want to be excellent at what we do. So, how does talent actually work? Actually, you can be good at whatever you want… within reason. The keywords are … Whatever you want …

The questions that now arise are – How do you know? Where are you supposed to focus? What if you don’t even know what you’re passionate about?

So what do you do?

There are umpteen books, essays and writings which extol one to strive for greatness. People struggle and agonize over this conundrum for lifetimes. They chase one career after another, just to realize that they were originally cut-out for a third. Necessarily, one has to pass through all these processes. The answer lies in the lessons that must be learned.

Challenges

Learnings start in school. The entire environment in school conspires to push one towards seeking out new opportunities. Every day, children arrive at school and return home, wonder-struck at the myriad possibilities there small world provides. They pick up new abilities, new habits, new choices. Sports, Music, Arts, multiple avenues of learning. Yet, the child is not born with any of these abilities. Yes, he is drawn to a certain type, but he knows nothing of it. The only way he can actually get better is therefore by practice. And practice. And more practice.

Although, a school provides the breeding ground for developing these talents and abilities, it is the home where the child actually begins learning. It is a natural progression from parent to child. The first things children want to do, and excel at, are what their parents do. Day in and day out. One would see that musician parents produce musically inclined children. Academicians produce researchers. And so on.

One will also note that the school environment is limited. And generally, the child’s upward progress will flat-line at some point. This is because their abilities are not being challenged enough. They get comfortable with a certain level of talent. As that is what their immediate audience demands. So, why do they need to get any better? This is where the first steps towards greatness actually germinate. They just want to get better !

They step out. Out of their comfort zones. Into the world. They expose themselves to more challenges. They begin to see others who are equally good or better. And these people tell themselves that they can get better too. And with more practice, they begin to realize that they can now do things in their field which sometime back, they never imagined were possible.

Thinking that talent has a limit and that one is born to only achieve a certain level of skill, people grow comfortable with what seems a reasonable amount of talent. Always tell yourself – ‘I can get much better’.

Then, there is nothing holding you back.

Motivation

As time passes by, interests wane. Sometimes, other attractions pop-up. Sometimes, responsibilities crop up. Sometimes, people just don’t want to do it anymore. We call this flagging motivation. You know, at every stage of your life, you are the best at a particular activity. As good as you ever thought you could be. The lurking danger is that you may no longer want that ability.

At this stage, ask yourself – ‘If it’s possible for anyone to acquire any skill, why don’t more people do it? Why don’t they get good at things they’ve always wanted to do, like cooking or sports or playing the piano?’

The first answer, of course, is that it’s difficult, much harder than people realize, and requires an incredible amount of discipline. It just takes time and effort, which most people don’t have or aren’t willing to give.

But the second answer, the one that’s not addressed enough, is ‘motivation’.

Eminem reminds us – “If people take anything from my music, it should be motivation to know that anything is possible as long as you keep working at it and don’t back down.”

And so it begins. Where this comes from is a mystery that escapes the current grasp of science. But make no mistake. You cannot become great without motivation.

Thinking over this, one cannot ignore the thought that pops up – ‘If I can do anything, what makes me choose one pursuit over another?’

It has to come down to desire, to passion, to what truly motivates you. Otherwise, you will eventually lose interest and never master a skill.

A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration.” – Kurt Lewin

Self-awareness

The last of the learnings is sorting out hobbies and pastimes from something one really wants to do. For many, what they did at school were things they did not want to fully dedicate themselves to. They were just hobbies. One needs to give some serious thought to these activities. Think of these as greater than just misplaced passions.

Parker Palmer writes, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am”.

It’s not just about being good at it. It’s about being good at the right thing. Many of us could spend our lives climbing the ladder of success only to realize it was leaning up against the wrong wall. So be careful what you choose to excel at.

Listen to that tiny voice in your head. Listen to your life. It is your heart calling out your true desires. “Your calling,” Frederick Buechner famously wrote, “is the place where your deepest joy meets the world’s deepest need.” That’s what personal greatness looks like: finding what the world needs and what makes you come alive and combining them. That’s your sweet spot.

What it takes to succeed in the world and how to find that thing you were meant to do –

  1. Find something you love. Ideally, surround yourself with others who share your passion. Your environment matters.
  2. Do it until you can become good, eventually even great, at it. And don’t worry if you’re not that good yet. This is what practice is for. But make sure this is something you are motivated to do even when you are bad at it.
  3. Share your gift in a way that helps other people. If you do this, you actually can get paid to do what you love. Otherwise, it will only ever be a hobby.

Remember to begin by discarding the idea that “people are born with it.” It’s just not true. Talent has little or nothing to do with greatness. You can make yourself into any number of things, and you can even make yourself great.

Because the truth is, just about anyone can get better at just about anything.

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“Take those chances and you can achieve greatness, whereas if you go conservative, you’ll never know. I truly believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Even if you fail, learning and moving on is sometimes the best thing.” ~ Danica Patrick

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How to Study in Six Simple Steps

Study skills are approaches applied for effective learning. They are critical to success in school, considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one’s life. It is known that, most students fail in examinations simply because they lack study skills. Now, any skill which boosts a person’s ability to study can be termed a study skill, and this could include time management and motivational techniques. Ideally, study skills should tackle the process of organizing, accepting and recalling information – in a structured manner. Most often, studying strategies are left to the students and their support network, although a number of books and websites are available. Effective studying is dependent in good measure on one’s ability to concentrate and for this we can create a conducive environment. We must consider study skills in its broadest term – distinct from strategies that are specific to a particular field of study e.g. music or technology, and from abilities inherent in the student, such as aspects of intelligence or learning styles.

How to Study in Six Simple Steps

Space

Make room, mentally and physically, for studying. Usually you’re studying for something specific, such as an exam. This can seem daunting, like a mountain to climb. If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath and pause for a moment before you start.

Think of how you make yourself comfortable when you do something you really enjoy, like watching a favorite television program. How do you settle in for the show? Do you sprawl or curl up? Do you have favourite relaxing clothes? Do you choose a particular drink or something to chew? Borrow any of these favourite things to make your studying a better experience. If you’re in a good space physically, you can improve your mental space.

 

Place
Create your own personal work zone. It doesn’t have to look like a work-space — that’s what many students find off-putting. Building on what you did in the previous paragraph, make the place your own and somewhere you enjoy.

 

Pace
Find the right pace for your work. Sprinters work hard and fast in a burst of energy while marathon runners spread the load and build slowly towards the climax. There’s no right or wrong way to pace your studying, except what works for you. Notice the way you like to work, and adjust your pace accordingly. (Just remember, if you study at a slow pace, you’ll need to set aside more time for the task.)

Whether you have bags of time or a brief study period, remember that breaks are just as important as active study (10 minutes off for every 30 minutes of study works for many people), and use those breaks to reward yourself with a small treat.

 

Memory
It helps to know how your memory works. Here is the key to memory: in any sequence, people remember the first and last things best. Whatever you try to remember, you’ll find yourself recalling the beginning and the end, with less clear memories of the middle. You can’t change this — it’s wired in, it’s how our brains work — so don’t fight it. Instead, use this fact to your advantage by organizing your study so the most important bits are at the beginning and end of your sessions.

 

Method
It’s always good to have a plan. However big or complex your task may look at first sight, with a feasible plan you can always find a way to manage it. When studying, break your biggest goal into smaller chunks or tasks. It’s best if each of these chunks consists of a single topic. Often, you’ll discover one or two key elements that stand out and get fixed in your mind. You can then use those as building blocks.

Classic tricks used by memory professionals include ‘the house of memory’ where you place everything you want to remember in unique locations in the house. It’s also useful to use humor — play with your key-words and make them funny or outrageous. You’ll be surprised at how much easier they are to memorize.

 

Mind Maps
A mind map is rough diagram that you can make to visually outline information. You can create a mind map by starting with the primary word or phrase of a topic in the center, with related, lesser categories branching out from it. Subcategories of these are on smaller branches, still. Your categories can consist of anything you think is important; they can be important terms, ideas, or tasks to complete — whatever you need to help you study or organize the information.

Mind maps are easy to master if you don’t use them already, and you’ll discover they help you remember masses of information much more efficiently than conventional lists. If you’re not satisfied with your current note-taking skills, try building a mind map during your next class or lecture and see if you find it more helpful.

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