Learning How To Learn #1

Today I want to share a story written by Mona.

Mona is my first hire and one of the most productive people I’ve ever worked with. She runs the Facebook Page and leads many strategic initiatives at LivingOS. Outside of LivingOS, she studies Foreign Languages and Literature at National Taiwanese University.

Check out her personal experience with LivingOS!

Now In Mona’s Words…

I have learned so much from LivingOS in the past few months. Today I want to share some of my favorite takeaways from this rich knowledge forest. I hope you can enjoy this content as much as I do!

But first, let’s talk about what learning is. Some define learning as a way to become a better version of yourself. Others see learning as the ultimate way to grow through any experiences, be it successes or failures. While learning seems to be a fluid concept that takes many shapes, I was quite overwhelmed by the act of learning itself.

I read. I watch. I consume knowledge like water, but I am not learning.

My initial definition of learning was quite limiting. I would spend a lot of time browsing social media, bookmarking pages to the favorites bar, and saving articles across Google Drive, Evernote, Facebook, Youtube, and LINE chat rooms. Realistically, I rarely go back to what I have saved. Over time, I found myself drowning in the sea of flashy headlines.

Fortunately, a friend pointed out my dysfunctional learning cycle over an afternoon tea. When I gushed over the latest news and articles I read, my friend simply asked, “Do you know what you are using all this information for?”

I stuttered and didn’t know how to answer her question. That’s when I realized my blindspot — I have been intentionally collecting all this knowledge, but they are fake learning. The fact that I am stressed, rather than empowered, shows that I have been learning the wrong way. I was too lazy to digest and put what I learned into practice. As a result, my knowledge became disoriented and useless.

I was scared to learn more.

At first, I resisted reading books, subscribing to new channels, and taking online classes. I felt trapped in a deep valley without a way out. Fortunately, I didn’t stop questioning myself. During the dark days, I filled myself up with the following questions:

How can I keep track of my learning?

How can I use new knowledge to achieve my goals?

How can I identify the most important piece of information?

How can I keep calm, concentrate, and learn more?

Surprisingly, the more questions I asked, the better I felt. As I slowly came to terms with my wanting for new knowledge, I realized my need for a whole new learning structure.

At the same time, I stumbled upon Charlene’s writings. Through her simple yet empowering words, I began to reconstruct a whole new paradigm of learning. I started to apply her prototypes to my life and joined LivingOS University. It didn’t take me long to become a fan.

LivingOS University has helped me build my own personal knowledge base and design many powerful habits. Now that I am no longer lost in the sea of so many productivity tools, I am able to automate many processes and optimize my learning flow. LivingOS soon became my default place to find solutions, get inspiration, and build confidence.

Today I want to share 5 highlights from LivingOS

  1. End my day with a deep session: I am surprised to learn that there is no need to plan the session in advance. The key is to ask yourself, “What is the highest leverage thing I could do?” at the start and synthesize your insights into a knowledge packet at the end. I love to wrap up my day with a meditative deep session. I’d love to share my meditation experience next time because it has not only accelerated my learning speed but also took me to a higher level of thinking.
  2. Forget, share, and get feedback: To be a faster learner, you need to start with a beginner’s mind and forget what you already know. As you slowly build up the knowledge from scratch, keep a page of research insights on the side. Once you have some prototype, ask for more feedback. This is how I wrote this post! I started with an outline and a very long post and shared it with Charlene. After many rounds of editing, I finally came up with the version you are reading right now.
  3. Design a project for yourself: As Charlene said, “Try to design some projects for yourself. Once you turn those ideas into applications, your brain has naturally reshaped that knowledge.” Charlene once mentioned that she always comes up with the best ideas during her daily writing. This also inspires our team to summarize our viewpoints through workshops, meetings, and projects like this. One of my goal is to connect the insights across Google Analytics, Facebook Insight, and online courses in a weekly report (Editor’s Note: I can’t wait to read your insights report.)
  4. Become a specialized generalist: I was once disappointed at my seemingly equal talent for each subject. It took me a while to realize that it is actually something I should be proud of. Now that I know how to develop my depth in each dimension, I am able to fully enjoy my diverse traits. Thus, I call myself a “palette enthusiast.”
  5. Create and teach more people: We naturally provide a more organized, simplified, and condensed version of knowledge during teaching. I found it helpful to use empowering words, emotional associations, and proper spacing. I also like to create my own quote on notebook, Instagram, and Twitter and play with different languages.
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I always find myself empowered by this Japanese sentence.

As you can see, I have come a long way, from being lost in my own thoughts to creating a structural system to organize my knowledge. Next time, I would like to share how I use the PARA system to build my second brain.

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