How to: Learn ANYTHING.

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 learning-priorities-Developmentefficient 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.

C) Consistency 

“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.

balance_beamAs 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.

E) Failure

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.

Keep Pushing On

Hola, cóma estás hermoso, or is it hermana? I hope I’m right. One of those mean sister and the other means beautiful. I get the two confused. I mean to say beautiful.

This post is late. Well, I mean clearly, you’ve already figured it out. I’ve been busy. Ugh, I hate making excuses. It is my own fault. I have been slacking, mistreating my body and this was the result.

I’ve been doing too many things. One of which, is trying to learn a new language, as you saw above. I’ve tried multiple times and failed, as you MAY have seen above.

I was forced to take French all through elementary school. Want to know the only thing I remember?

“Il fait du soleil” 

It’s sunny outside. I find it perplexing that that is the only thing I got out of six years of French. It hasn’t provided me with any assistance through my life. Well, maybe if a person would ask me the weather AND needed to know it in French AND it was actually sunny outside (I am a terrible liar. I blink too much).

Then I tried to learn Mandarin. In my opinion, it is THE hardest to learn, second only to English. I figured if I am going to learn any language, why not pick the hardest one. I skipped everything else and went to the top shelf. Mandarin is hard because it’s all tonal and depending on what part of the word you emphasize, determines its meaning. It was challenging to say the least.

I sat there for countless hours in front of Rosetta Stone trying to figure out the word and picture combination. I suck. I quit. I got down on myself.Do not give up

I tried other languages and programs and failed miserably. I thought maybe learning a second language wasn’t in the stars for me. Am I destined to speak only one?

Recently, I discovered I had a neighbor. Well, I mean, everyone has neighbors. Let me rephrase. Recently, I discovered I have an attractive neighbor. I had no idea she ever existed. I met her once, but I don’t remember. Maybe I was too intimidated when I first met her and my brain decided to hermit away.

“Where are you going with this Leroy?”

Don’t worry. I’m getting to the point, albeit slowly.

She has a good heart. She’s cool and she makes me laugh (and not that type of lame chuckle, but a hardy stomach laugh). And she’s really nice on the eyes (by that I mean, like very very attractive). Also, she’s Uruguayan.

See, I am slowly getting to the point. She’s teaching me Spanish. It’s difficult but not to the point where I am willing to quit. She says I’m good at rolling my “Rs.” Literally EVERY ‘r’ is rolled in Spanish. My name in Spanish is really Lerrrrrrrrroy.

-Pause for laughter-

Anyways, point being, persistence is key. Everything takes time and perseverance. I’ve always been told that good things come to those who wait. That is a lesson in patience but can also be used as a rationale for learning.

persevere

Don’t Be Afraid of Failure 

When you try to learn something new, it can be daunting. New things are hard. I used to be a terrible failer. I used to fail and give up. Feel depressed about it and move on.

When I first started to learn golf, I could not hit the ball off the tee. I struggled, I swung, I whipped and got frustrated. Then after a lot of badgering I went golfing again. I hit it. It was a great feeling.

Success is a rush. It sent a shock of endorphins through my body. I love golf now. I’m not winning the PGA anytime soon, but that’s okay. I still enjoy it. Don’t you want to experience that same rush?

Persevere, Persevere, Persevere  

You need to continue. Fail, it’s good for your soul. You need it. Don’t get down on yourself. Everything can be learned and perfected. It’s one of the reasons that we are out of the food chain.

Through perseverance we have literally escaped the food chain. If humans gave up so easily, it would be a completely different story. There aren’t cheetahs waiting for us at the train station.

We have an amazing ability to learn anything we put our mind towards. But often we give up after the first failed attempt. I am guilty of this.

You need to wait and listen and learn. You can’t get down on yourself. Some things have a steeper learning curve, some not so much, and some things just come naturally. Don’t be afraid. Embrace it.

I feel like this time will be different. I will learn Spanish, partly because a piece inside me screams ‘NEED’ and partly because my neighbor is captivating.