Learning How We Learn

One of the most fascinating subjects that I had in college was a course called “learning techniques”. We are taught all subjects ranging from math to the sciences but never really taught how to effectively learn how to learn. This course did just that. But a more powerful method of learning seems to be real world experience. On the back of a tea bag was this very simple quote that says it all, “The work will teach you how to do it.” The combination of study and hardwork in action is omnipotent. Practicing the fundamentals over and over is the critical foundation that builds towards future success. Here is one powerful method for learning that ensures greater depth, clarity and results:

Slow you grow and fast never lasts.

It always makes me laugh when someone sees one of my kids performing in music or pitching a baseball and makes the comment “wow … they’re a natural”. Sure it looks like that, but no one sees the years of practice in the backyard pitching baseballs everyday or practicing an instrument in their room for hours at a time because they like it so much. Recently, I took my son to a pitching coach to fine tune his basics and was amazed at the way he was taught the 5 steps a pitcher goes through. He broke it down and had him go through each step many times before he went onto the next. On the third step when his knee was in the air and he was standing on one foot, the trainer made him freeze and stand there without moving to understand balance, control and form. He told my son to run through the 5 pitching steps 50 times each night without actually pitching the ball so his muscles would retain the physiological memory of the movement. This way when he would actually pitch the ball, his mind was focused on throwing the ball through the catcher and not thinking about the 5 steps. Something practiced over and over everyday equals a breakthrough down the road.

A perfect example is the bamboo of China. Before you ever see the missile shaped sprout of the bamboo it lies underground for not just one year to be nurtured, not 2 or 3, but for 4 years before the bamboo comes to the surface. Then in the fifth year it explodes growing one foot the first day and in one hundred days it grows to 100 feet!

“We are or become those things which we repeatedly do. Therefore, excellence can become not just an event, but a habit”. – Albert Einstein

My son is the bamboo. Training and nurturing his skills for many years until he broke through. In a society that craves instant gratification whether it’s losing weight in a week, growing hair in a day, or getting rich overnight, we forget about the secret of practicing the fundamentals and maintaining a strong work ethic. This is the most powerful way we learn.

Barry Farber is a best selling author of 10 books including The 12 Cliches of Selling and Why They Work and Superstar Sales Manager’s Secrets. He speaks to various corporations on sales, management, and personal development. To learn more about Barry visit him at www.barryfarber.com or email him with any comments or questions at barry@barryfarber.com.