Want to know how to learn anything FAST!? Of course you do. How much is it worth to you to learn anything faster, remember it forever and have near perfect recall? Would that be valuable to you? Of course it would. Do you think that would help you in your personal life and in your business? Do you think it would add value to your life, to your business? Hell yeah it would! So how come you’re not learning? How come you’re not teaching yourself how to learn better? I’ll answer that for you.
Because you don’t know how to think! That’s why.
Don’t get offended by that because it’s not your fault. Most people don’t know how to think either.
You don’t know how to think because you were never taught how to think…instead, you were taught what to think. (if you already know how to think then it’s ok to click away and stop reading now because you know it all already; if you don’t know it all, then keep reading…)
You don’t learn by memorizing things or cramming as much information into your brain and you possibly can. You learn by understanding the basic elements of the thing you’re trying to learn about. Once you understand something at the elemental level you will automatically remember it and that will allow you near perfect recall. Memory is important, but it’s not as important as understanding. Understanding is key because that is the key to unlocking your near perfect memory. It’s near perfect memory because once you understand how something works at a scientific level, then there is no doubt about how it works. Doubt evaporates and knowledge takes over. Your brain will be able to recall anything once you understand the basic elements and how those elements go together.
Elon Musk says to learn something you must first understand the basic elements of whatever it is you’re studying. This is called the First Principles way of learning.
“A first principle is a basic, foundational, self-evident proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.” – Wikipedia
“In every systematic inquiry (methodos) where there are first principles, or causes, or elements, knowledge and science result from acquiring knowledge of these; for we think we know something just in case we acquire knowledge of the primary causes, the primary first principles, all the way to the elements. It is clear, then, that in the science of nature as elsewhere, we should try first to determine questions about the first principles. The naturally proper direction of our road is from things better known and clearer to us, to things that are clearer and better known by nature; for the things known to us are not the same as the things known unconditionally (haplôs). Hence it is necessary for us to progress, following this procedure, from the things that are less clear by nature, but clearer to us, towards things that are clearer and better known by nature.” (Phys. 184a10–21) – Aristotle | SOURCE: Wikipedia – First Principles
Elon Musk is a modern day polymath (like Leonardo DaVinci, but with good business sense). Musk is a physics and economics genius (he’s also a multi-billionaire and owns 3 multi-billion dollar companies; including a space exploration company called SpaceX, an electric car company called Tesla, and a solar power company called SolarCity). He also has the unique ability to explain extremely complex things in simple to understand terms which is part of why he’s a billionaire and why he’s my #1 mentor. Here he is in an interview explaining first principle learning.
“Clearly you just need to think…” – Elon Musk
It’s about how you think and most people don’t know how to think much less how to learn. They THINK they know how to learn, but they don’t. Cramming information into your brain and hoping to be able to recall it later is NOT how to do it. Clearly.
Most (not all) schools, colleges and universities have failed to teach millions of students how to think, because don’t know how to think themselves much less how to teach. Sorry…but they don’t.
The fact that schools, no matter their level of education, keep churning out people who don’t know how to think critically or use common sense problem solving skills is EVIDENCE that they aren’t teaching their students how to think.
Think about that for a second. If schools and colleges and universities all over the world knew how to think and how to teach, how come there are so many millions graduates that don’t know how to think or learn? Why don’t they have good retention and recall?
Easy. Because colleges are failing students and students don’t even know it until it’s too late.
Every billionaire I know of is a college drop out! You know why? Because they realized that colleges aren’t teaching the skills people need to succeed and the most important skill is the most simple, how to think.
The fact that we have millions of graduates all over the world who are saddled with student debt that they can’t get rid of is also proof that our educational system is broken. These are people who are supposed to be smart and great thinkers…but clearly the educational system has let them down by not teaching them how to think.
What colleges do teach is how to cram enough information into people’s brain in a short amount of time that hopefully it will stay there long enough to take a test and pass with a grade high enough to get their degree and hopefully a good job later.
Well, that’s not how learning works. Modern day schools don’t teach you how to learn or how to think, they teach you how to take tests and that is failing students all over the world.
The secret to learning anything faster is to learn what you love because you’ll be more passionate about it, have more drive and motivation and will be naturally more disciplined because it will come more naturally to you. And as a bi-product of those actions you’ll be more likely to remember it, recall it and use it to succeed in your life and business.
Understand the basic elements of something and you will automatically remember it. Retention is about understanding. Your recall will improve and your execution and application will be better for it.
You have the ability to remember more than you think you can.
People don’t have good reading comprehension anymore. I always scored very high on reading comprehension in school, most folks don’t. I’m not saying that to brag or put myself above anyone, I’m simply stating a fact, and I know why that is the case.
It’s because when I want to learn something I dig very deep into something to understand the basics of whatever it is. I’m obsessive about it, and I learn faster because I’ve trained my brain to recognize and pick up on things faster. This comes with time and practice.
I can read something once and understand it. Then I dig deeper into it and break it down into it’s most basic elements. Once I understand those elements something clicks inside my brain and it’s retained forever. I can then remember it automatically. This also gives me the ability to recall that information at will, most times very accurately. For example, if I ever need to answer a question or solve a problem related to that bit of information I simply access that part of my brain the information is stored. It sounds overly simplified, but it’s really that simple.
When I first heard the term “First Principle” learning I had no idea what it meant…I literally had to look it up. But then I realized something. It’s what I’ve done naturally all my life.
HERE’S THE BIGGEST SECRET TO LEARNING ANYTHING!
Be willing and able to separate facts from opinion and focus on the scientific evidence of whatever you’re trying to learn.
Don’t be lazy. Don’t believe what or how other people say something is. People are inherently biased. Don’t take their word for it.
Most people’s cognitive ability and critical thinking skills are seriously lacking and they unknowingly, sometimes pridefully let their bias influence their opinion and therefore what they teach others is inherently, well, wrong. In other words, they think something should be a certain way, they bias their of knowledge before they even know it, and they spread that bias by communicating incorrect knowledge to their students and people they meet in life and business.
Look it up. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Look up the facts yourself and look it up from a reputable place. Don’t just go to someone’s personal blog and believe what’s written there. Check your sources. Do they post facts, source links, are those source links based in facts and evidence?
In other words, don’t take my word for it, look it up yourself.
Here’s another PRO TIP!
YOU HAVE TO WANT TO UNDERSTAND!
When I say WANT it, I mean you must REALLY WANT IT! You must have a BURNING DESIRE to learn what the FACTS are.
Yes, this is a reference to Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich where he talks about having the burning desire to be rich is the foundation of becoming rich. You have to want it more than anything else.
This applies to learning too. It applies to everything.
It applies to knowledge. You have to WANT to know the facts. Not the truth. There’s a difference between truth and facts. The word truth is used by ignorant people synonymously with the word fact, but relatively speaking it’s not the same. I’ll explain.
Truth is relative to the believer, in that that belief is in the mind of the believer and further that simply believing something to be true does not necessarily mean it’s true.
See what I’m saying. This is what I mean by truth is not the same as fact because fact is based in evidence and truth is in the ind of the believer.
Like I said before, facts don’t give a shit about your opinion.
When you understand this fact, and that facts are more important than personal truth, then you’ll also understand why most people have a hard time thinking because most people are taught by people who also don’t know how to think and worse, those teachers are biased in their opinions. They don’t mean to be, it’s human nature, and part of the human condition. But people can get over it and get passed it.
Science is the way to the facts. Truth is not true truth unless it’s backed by scientific evidence and facts. Understand how that works? It doesn’t matter what someone believes to be truth, truth is not always true because it’s relative to the mind of those or the one who believes it.
People can argue against this proposition all they want and they will be wrong.
They will be wrong because fact is fact and no matter what anyone believes, a fact is still a fact because all facts are backed by evidence, not biased opinions. Not to beat a dead horse…but this point needs to be driven home hard or people won’t learn.
See what I’m saying?
This is what drives me to learn. Facts and evidence.
I don’t care what anyone says is true, I look it up. I verify the facts. I break it down into it’s most basic elements. Then I understand it, remember it, and am able to recall it at will with near perfect recall.
This is how I know how to think better, faster and have a more analytical mind than most people. Again, I’m not saying this to brag, I’m saying it because I believe that most people have this ability locked inside their minds too.
You have that power locked inside your brain. You have a powerful mind and you have no idea how powerful it is. I think you have an idea of how powerful it is, but you don’t know it’s true potential. You have that power inside your mind to break it down, look at each component separately, understand each part, and then to automatically remember and recall at will.
You just need to unlock that power and I can help you do that.
This is the key to learning. Realizing that what most people tell you is probably not true at all, is most likely not entirely true, or it’s biased in some way with their personal opinion. It’s rare to find pure fact. See…people aren’t as smart as they think they are because they are letting their personal opinions bias their knowledge and that effects teaching when that message is relayed to others.
The beauty of facts and evidence is that evidence and facts don’t give a shit about opinions.
What’s that got to do with learning? Everything!
Because learning is based on facts. When you break down any given thing into it’s most basic elements you’re disassembling things into their scientific elemental constituent components. This is based in fact and scientific evidence. It’s clean, clinical and more black and white. It’s as close to an absolute as you can get. It’s evidence based.
Say for example you’re baking a cake. You know you need eggs, milk, flour, sugar, flavoring, and coloring. Now you could further break each of those elements down into their chemical elements, and even further elements into their molecular structure and you will have a better understanding of why some cakes are moist and soft and flavorful and delicious, while others are dry and hard and tasteless.
The further you break something down into it’s constituent elements the closer you get to absolute facts, those facts turn into knowledge, and that knowledge is now burned into your mind forever. You can never unlearn it. You will be able to access that area or your mind at will and have near perfect recall.
When you understand how those components go together based on the factual scientific evidence then you learn how to think, you automatically remember it, –meaning you don’t have to TRY to remember it– and you can recall it more accurately and faster than you ever thought possible.
You have to cut through the bias (BS) and get to the facts and evidence.
This is at the core of learning. Being able to discern facts and separate them from bias, fantasy and lies is a powerful skill to have that will help you succeed at anything. Throw away the lies and untruths, half truths, fantasies and myths and focus on the facts because bias is not helping you reach your goals. They are in fact holding you back.
Trade in your comfortable lie for the uncomfortable truth. Don’t fear it, embrace it, and learn from it. You’ll be smarter and more successful for it. No one ever got anywhere or achieved anything of value in life and business by being comfortable. They did it by WANTING to be comfortable.
Winners separate themselves from the rest of the pack by going places other fear to tread and doing things others are scared of doing.
I believe that thinking and learning is a skill and since it’s a skill that means it can be taught. I think this skill is intrinsic in all of us, we just need a little help to access it. We need to unlock it within our brains. It’s there, we just need to build new pathways to it. And I think it’s simpler than most people think it is.
Learn how to think not what to think.
This is the most powerful skill you can have because it will propel you to success. Combine it with the burning desire to succeed, discipline, persistence and drive and you can succeed at anything.
You can do it! That power is within you.
Now go do it!
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Thanks for reading!