How to improve your learning ability?
Improving your ability to learn
means getting out of your comfort zone. Be an entrepreneur means learning every day. Don’t think you know everything and have the humility to admit that you have to train yourself throughout your life.
In elementary school, I was taught that learning is the result of studious work, the discipline of memorizing and storing information.
It wasn’t until years later, when I became an entrepreneur, that I realized that the key to pursuing excellence is embracing a long-term learning process, not living in the static mediocrity that reassures. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or security.
I have established several practices to help me improve my ability to learn, which I would like to share with you.
.” Still, I’m a big reader. I consume a lot of books. That said, improving our ability to learn and acquiring new knowledge doesn’t just happen through reading books, but rather through the new experiences and relationships we make.
When I started my first business 16 years ago, I read every book on entrepreneurship that came to hand. Whenever a problem arose, I looked for a solution in one of my books. The fact is, many budding entrepreneurs and startups are often caught off guard by unexpected scenarios — like dealing with a troublesome employee — and may not find the actionable advice they’re looking for in these pages.
For example, a book may offer an authoritative stance on how to handle issues with one of your team members, but not all situations are the same, and some require more gentleness and finesse. This is why I strongly believe in finding a trusted mentor, someone who has been where you are, understands the nuances of soft skills, and can guide you to make the right decisions.
Many of us find ourselves unwittingly trapped in a bubble of identical people. Those with similar interests and affinities to ours – we go to lunch together, we send memes to each other, and we often feel really in tune with each other. There’s nothing wrong with that, but one of the most enlightening things I’ve discovered running my business is learning from people completely different from me.
Why, will you tell me? Because they offer new perspectives that make me think differently – they force me out of my comfort zone. Spending time with people who are different from us also has another effect: it improves our “learning agility”, or our ability to stay flexible and learn from our mistakes.
By staying open. By reaching out to co-workers you might not normally gravitate towards and offering to have coffee with you. But above all, by practicing active listening.
Take time to reflect
I’ll be honest: it’s likely not a day goes by that you’re not, in one way or another, glued to a screen. Your computer, your smartphone, your television – and every other device under the sun. We absorb information at a colossal rate (which is largely positive, as we stay informed and find solace in entertainment after two extremely difficult years).
Yet reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success. We don’t take enough time to sit down and reflect.
So take 1 hour a day, for yourself, to take a step back, be alone without distraction and reflect. Think of it as a form of productive meditation.
But how often do we actually practice it?
Here’s an activity I enjoy frequently and encourage my team to try: Take the time to listen to one of your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, then go out for a walk – in a park or around your neighborhood. This time spent alone, without distractions or interruptions, helps your mind to filter out any outside noise and process what you have just absorbed.
This is particularly important for us entrepreneurs, because reflective learning helps us to take a step back from everyday life and develop our critical thinking.
Take up challenges
Not everything is without difficulties. At the beginning of the creation of my startup, finding the right people was one of my main concerns. I wasn’t interested in recruiting based solely on a person’s skills and talent – I also wanted to make sure they would fit well into the culture I was trying to build.
Over the years, as we have grown, our challenges have become more complex. But what I mean is that one of the best ways to improve my own ability to learn was to accept these tests, rather than give in to the pressure.
To learn from such challenges, the individual must stay present and engaged, manage the stress of ambiguity, and adapt quickly in order to perform. This requires observation and listening skills, as well as the ability to quickly process data.