INSTALLMENT 2 OF A 6-PART SERIES
This series contains ways that you can supercharge anything you’re learning; anything you want to internalize; anything you want to become more competent at, no matter the topic. If you do the things suggested in this series…
* You will learn faster
* You will comprehend difficult, new concepts more quickly
* You will blast through obstacles in life more swiftly and easily
The concept here is based upon a well-known phenomenon. Each time a teacher teaches their material, they learn it themselves at a deeper level. The more anyone engages in the process of disseminating information that is interesting and useful to others, the more the nuanced finer points of that subject matter become ingrained within the person who does it.
The practices that are promoted in this six-part series involve things you know how to do. Because no technical difficulty is involved and the actions are easy to incorporate, you can begin to notice and enjoy the three above-listed benefits in no time.
The activity highlighted in today’s installment…
READ (OR LEARN), THEN IMMEDIATELY TEACH
If you find it important to read, watch, or listen to personal development content on a fairly regular basis, you are a student.
Say you’ve bought a great non-fiction book that contains material that you are really looking forward to absorbing. If you’re genuinely motivated to learn, here’s what to do: immediately teach it. You’ve read right. A great way – I believe the best way – to learn new material is to present “bite-sized” portions of that material as though you are teaching it to a real or imaginary audience of 1 or 100.
Stop reading when you encounter one new concept or big idea. It could happen after just one paragraph, or an entire chapter. Usually, it’ll be somewhere in between.
Then, out loud, in your own words, teach the material as if you’re teaching a workshop. You don’t have to stand in front of a mirror. This is something you can do while driving (attentively), doing housework or any mundane activity, or at intervals during your reading time.
As you teach, try to provide in-context examples from your own life experience. The more comprehensively you can restate the material as faithfully as possible, the better.
When you’ve progressed a little way through the book, you might go back to the beginning to do quick reviews of what you’ve taught (learned). If, by the time you’ve gone through the entire book, you should be able to give a five-minute verbal summary of each chapter.
Keep in mind that internalizing new knowledge must involve more than just memorizing words and phrases. If you want what you’re reading to change you, you really need to mentally digest it. That is what’s happening when you immediately teach whatever you’ve just learned, even if your only student is you.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT wait until you believe you have achieved your idea of “expertise” of the subject to begin teaching what you’ve learned. As you progress, accept that 1) you will be doing so from your current level of understanding, and 2) your level of understanding will deepen as you progress through the book. Each time you re-teach material you previously taught, you will notice a broadening of your grasp of the subject matter.
Obviously, if you take the time to do this, it will take much longer to get through the non-fiction books you read. But if you are reading to gain knowledge that you’d like to apply to your life, getting to the end of the book isn’t the point. The transference of the knowledge from those pages into your head and heart – that is the point.
So, what is the most effective, and frankly the quickest, way to absorb any new ideas, concepts, and principles? What’s the best way to begin incorporating that new knowledge so that it begins to change you and make you better from the inside, out? Repeat that material, out loud, in your own words, like you’re teaching it.
The best students are teachers. And vice versa.
ARTICLES ELSEWHERE – Links to a few other voices on the above subject matter:
How to Become Self-Taught the Easy Way at Lifehack a great online resource whose tagline is Master Your Time, Master Your Life. Visitors to Lifehack.org will find great articles (for free) and a ton of books and courses on a wide range of topics obviously focused on maximizing your overall productivity to make the most of life’s most precious limited resource: time.
- Be sure to visit https://www.scotthyoung.com for expert treatment on many other topics
- At the cost of becoming a subscriber (FREE), be sure to download one, or all five, of Scott’s well-written and researched free eBooks, including Ten Mental Models for Learning Anything