13 Tips To Discover How To Learn Something New Everyday (And Why You Should)
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“Life moves quickly and what you learned yesterday is not adequate for tomorrow. If you’re seeking to change your life for the better, you have to continually learn new things and then do something new.”
(Author: Kimberly Clay)
How To Learn Something New Everyday
If you could do something everyday for just a few minutes a day that would make you happier and make your life better you’d do it, wouldn’t you?
Of course you would. And you can.
So what is it that you can do to make you both happier and improve you life at the same time?
You can learn something new everyday.
It can be as simple as learning a new fact, discovering a new method for completing a task better or more efficiently, to learning a new language and opening an incredible door to the potential for building new relationships, experiencing new cultures or traveling to new and distant places!
While the discipline and structure of routine is important and comforting in keeping chaos at bay in everyday life, changing our daily routine to learn something new can maximize our brain’s effectiveness and make us happier.
“Routine limits our brain’s ability to learn new skills and knowledge”, says Benedict Carey in his book, ‘How We Learn’.
Why We Should Learn Something New Every Day
All of us have a section in our brain, known as SN/VTA.
Although the SN/VTA section is linked to the learning and memory parts, it’s best known as the ‘Novelty Centre’ because of its amazing quality or ability to light up when exposed to new stimuli.
When we experience something new here’s what happens …
a) The “Novelty Center” of our brain is activated.
b) We get a rush of dopamine (a chemical that motivates us towards rewards).
c) Dopamine motivates us to follow through with the new thing.
d) We get another rush of dopamine when we finish the activity.
Dopamine is closely linked to the learning process. Research has found that learning new things stimulates happiness chemicals in the brain.
- Builds our self-worth
- Makes us more confident
- Empowers us
- Helps us to grow
- Boosts our memory
- Improves our focus
- Helps us find a more rewarding career
- Helps us earn more money
- Improves our personal life
- Fuels creativity
- Makes us more interesting to others
- Gets us more friends, and so on.
But we women, especially have overwhelming home and work routines.
We juggle all sorts of responsibilities daily, right up until we hit the bed at night.
Often for us, learning a new skill can mean taking time out of an already overburdened schedule to attend workshops and seminars, day or night classes, enroll at a training center or another type of school.
It can also mean going beyond the borders of our monthly budget.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
We can still embrace learning something new everyday, but in a way that’s manageable, convenient, enjoyable and maybe even fun.
By getting a little creative with our ideas and the tools and resources now available, it is possible to easily and painlessly incorporate personal and professional development, learning new and useful things, into our everyday lives.
For example, there are some amazing places online and through use of apps that offer all sorts of FREE and paid courses you can take in just a few minutes each day from the comfort of your own home (and often according to your unique schedule).
As examples, I’d love to mention…
Duolingo: Learn Languages Free – a highly sophisticated smartphone app that offers “bite-sized” lessons where you can learn basic to fluent skill levels in Spanish, English, German, French, Italian and many other languages while playing a game! An extremely popular and critically acclaimed app, it motivates you to learn, offering rewards “for meeting daily goals and achievements”.
Udemy – a popular online learning site having over 30,000 available courses.
Learn everything from career and personal development tips to boosting self confidence, an introduction to non-lethal self-defence, how to deal with difficult people, self-compassion, mindfulness, new language studies and much more.
Udacity – Lifelong Learning where more than a million people have learned business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals using a convenient smartphone app.
CreativeLive.com – where millions of people have boosted their creativity with free online classes.
The site offers creatives the opportunity to learn from experts in their chosen craft in areas like photography and video, music and audio, and art and design.
Students then may become experts in their chosen field, and go on to earn a living from their creative skills.
Youtube – I can’t tell you how many young people learn amazing things by watching YouTube videos. If they can do it, so can we.
Want to learn Spanish in 5 days? YouTube.
Want to learn how to adjust the water level in the toilet bowl? YouTube.
Want to learn construction? YouTube.
Want to learn more than you could ever possibly want to know about makeup techniques, hair-styling or fashion? OMG! YouTube.
YouTube offers thousands of FREE instructional videos on topics covering almost anything you can imagine wanting to learn.
Facebook Groups – You can join informative groups on Facebook to enhance your knowledge.
Most any well-known hobby interest, professional group or charitable organization has a group on Facebook that you can search and apply to join.
These are just a very few examples of resources for learning something new in just a few minutes a day, or more if you have more time available.
How To Learn Something New Fast
If you do find that you’re often pressed for time (and aren’t we all), here are some more ways to learn something useful fast:
1. Break larger learning goals into smaller units of time.
If what you want to learn is going to take an extended period of time to learn, then dedicating a specific amount of time each day (30 minutes, 45 minutes or 50 minutes) for learning new things works great.
As per research, our brains end up powering down very quickly when they’re running on overdrive.
Learning strategies graduate assistant Ellen Dunn of Louisiana State University suggests, “Anything less than 30 [minutes] is just not enough, but anything more than 50 is too much information for your brain to take in at one time.”
Neil Starr, a course mentor at Western Governors University (an online nonprofit university) says, “Brief, frequent learning sessions are much better than longer, infrequent ones”.
Scheduling our learning sessions for short bursts of time, using quick methods like flashcards and having (at least) a ten minute break between every two sessions gives our brain some much needed rest.
2. Getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep time can be varied depending on what we’re learning.
Getting the deep sleep of early evening is important when we’re into learning facts like formulas, dates, etc., whereas the sleep that happens in the morning before awakening strengthens our creative thinking and motor skills; hence it’s best to go to bed a little later than normal when we’re on the creative side.
3. Using the ‘80/20 Rule’.
The Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Both concepts were developed in relation to the distribution of income and wealth among the population.
Modern day productivity expert Tim Ferriss has highlighted the 80/20 rule for faster learning.
According to Tim, “You should focus first on the most important 20 percent of what you’re trying to learn, which will actually cover 80 percent of what you need to know.”
So whenever we set to the path of learning something new we can focus on the most important elements that yield the biggest ROI.
For example, when a friend of mine was learning French, she focused on the question, “What 20 percent of words are used 80 percent of the time?”
4. Changing up our learning methods boosts learning.
A study conducted at Johns Hopkins found that “if you perform a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than practicing the exact same thing over and over again.”
Modifying our self-teaching techniques can work wonders.
For example, we can use flashcards in one session and a more hands-on method, like listening to a podcast or webinar, the next time.
We can also use a different room and a different time of the day to learn a new skill or anything.
5. Learning from the experts or masters.
Learning from well-experienced individuals is a great way to learn something new flawlessly and fast.
Having guidance from people who’ve already mastered the skill gives an instant boost to the learning process.
Robert Greene refers to the need for an expert mentor as ‘ideal apprenticeship’, in his book, ‘Mastery’.
In this age of technology and information, we can be mentored via YouTube, Skype, or even professional services like MicroMentor.
6. Taking notes definitely helps us to learn something useful.
“Taking notes by hand leads to more active listening and the ability to identify important concepts”, says a study titled ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard’.
This study was conducted by Princeton University and UCLA researchers.
7. Using the power of mental spacing brings outstanding results.
“You can water a lawn once a week for 90 minutes or three times a week for 30 minutes,” says Benedict Carey, author of How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens. “Spacing out the watering during the week will keep the lawn greener over time,” he said.
Carey further states, “One theory is that the brain actually pays less attention during short learning intervals. Repeating the information over a longer interval–say a few days or a week later, rather than in rapid succession–sends a stronger signal to the brain that it needs to retain the information.”
Challenging ourselves to learn something new every day and adopting smart resources to accomplish that, can benefit us in all aspects of our lives, making us happier and more productive without negatively affecting our scheduled routines and responsibilities.
Increasing our knowledge by learning a new skill, laying the groundwork for new relationships, better career opportunities, and richer deeper life experiences are just a few examples of how you can learn something new everyday and why you should.
Each of us has the same 24 hours in every day, but by cleverly using just a few minutes each day, you have the potential to add so much more to your life.
What will you learn today that’s going to change your life?
A great tool that I recommend to develop your writing skills and get in the habit of writing everyday is LifeJournal Online.
Journaling is a great tool to help you to get the most of life and attain short and long-term goals.
It helps you to change and sharpen your perspective, and when you read and summarize what you’ve written, it helps you to look at your life and situation more objectively.
Journaling helps you make sense of your life, helping you notice connections, gain insight, and see life patterns.
You can read more about LifeJournal and get access to a FREE Trial here: LifeJournal Online.
If you’re interested in online classes, UDEMY offers a ton of them. Here’s several courses that are highly rated and I recommend:
50 Career & Self Development Tips: Welcome to the New You!
Re-Invent Yourself with these 50 Amazing Personal Development Ideas! Life Altering Personal Improvement Strategies : )
SELF-CONFIDENCE: 40-minute Confidence & Self Esteem Guide
Boost Your Confidence and Self Esteem, Handle Fear of Rejection, Learn Powerful Body Language, Feel Great About Yourself
Introduction to Non-Lethal Self-Defense
Learn How to FIGHT BACK and Stop an Attacker With Self-Defense Products
The Neuroscience of Self-Compassion by Kelly McGonigal
Discover how the brain works, including why the critical inner voice exists, and how to replace it with self-compassion.
Tactics for Tackling Difficult People in Life and Work
Recognize and use four key skills of self-empowerment when faced with difficult people.
Mindful Presents: Get Started with Mindfulness
Reduce stress and anxiety, improve your relationships, and feel more aligned and connect with life through meditation.
Communication & Better Relationships: How to be Likeable
How to Be Likeable: Develop Better Relationships, Connect With Everyone & Learn The Secrets Of Charismatic People.
Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.