I’ve talked about learning Spanish before. I go through many phases in my learning where I am gung-ho about something for a period of time and I fall short of completing. I cannot make excuses for my hindrance in the learning process. I didn’t put my full energy towards something.
Once again, over the past few days I’ve undertaken Spanish. I feel like a completely different person this time around. I’ve realized that in order to learn something you need the interest AND you need focused unadulterated attention.
A) Pick something that interests you
And run with it. If you want to learn something, first and foremost, the love and passion has to exist. If you do not thoroughly enjoy what you’re learning, you will either fall off or forget everything after a momentary lapse.
For me Spanish has always been a goal but I also really do enjoy Spanish as a language. As an adage, moving to Spain is a possible outcome in my life and being prepared is integral.
B) Pure Dedicated Unadulterated Time
Learning a skill requires a set amount of time every single day. It seems like a large commitment, but if you want to learn something, you need to put in the time.
Not only is the mere time required, but also the need for unadulterated time. All your attention must be focused on the learning process, free of distractions, noise and external thoughts.
Half an hour a day is all you really need to pick up something. Any more would not be efficient on your learning process. Consuming large amounts of information for long periods of time each day will burn out your precious willpower.
Feeling exhausted, your daily consistency will suffer because you attribute exhausted feelings with learning.
I have recently started to adopt to-do lists in my daily life. Personally, I find it incredibly satisfying crossing something off my list. Spanish is one of those tasks on my list. Each day I dedicate 30-45 minutes of time to learning Spanish. I find that I retain about 85% of the language and it keeps me coming back for more each day.
“Long-term consistency trumps short term intensity” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee hit the nail on its head. Your brain learns through long-term consistency rather than sporadic bursts of intensity. In that regard, keeping a regular schedule each day assists your brain in the learning process.
Also, previously mentioned, willpower plays an integral role in learning. Long-term consistency allows you to expend the perfect amount of willpower on learning without being completely drained and exhausted.
D) Be like a Child
I think a life of learning is like existing on a balance beam. As a child, there is no fear, no sense for the danger of falling. The beam exists as a wide and stable surface, which allows for creative leaps and fast learning. If you happen to fall off, you simply get back up.
As you get older, you are more aware of the risks of injury. You play it safe, making very safe moves. The beam is narrow and the mere thought of plunging is embarrassing and paralyzing.
Learning as a child is simplistic. Nothing really matters but the love of learning. A new skill to a child is not seen as a daunting task – rather an exciting learning experience.
Capture that feeling as an adult and learn through enjoyment. Learn without the fear of embarrassment, ridicule and judgment. Leap off of the balance beam knowing that there is a soft cushion below you.
When you think about learning, do not fear anything. You are supposed to fail. In my opinion, it is incredibly important in the learning process. It keeps you grounded and prepares you for the worst.
Failure should be seen as an unavoidable – but satisfying – factor. If you fail, you know that you are doing something right. Learning is a hard process and failure is there to keep you on the right track.
Embrace failure with the thought that you are doing something right. Use it as a stepping-stone to the next juncture of the learning process.
Spanish has always been a goal for me. Embarking on this journey has been incredibly gratifying. I allow myself to learn every single day and I reap the benefits. Learning is important to your personal growth. Go forth and learn something new. It will change your life.
Be bold, be free, and love on.