Share your knowlegde that made you a better learner

Tell us what are your most essential ‘tools’, methods or habits that sharpened your mind in a more effective and faster way when learning
It can be also a certain subjects that you mastered, for example logics etc. Or some mobile applicatiins and so on. Just give us something like a ranked list with a short explaination or a story.
I’m really curious to know what affected people around here the most. I may be still missing some precious knowledge
Mine, for example, are mnemonics obviously :slight_smile: I also got into notetaking system Zettelkasten and speedreading recently. From time to time I use an app based on Pomodoro’s Technique that helps me to stay focused and not get distracted. Interest in logics and philosophy made me find the roots of any problem first and see a bigger picture, be more selfaware and pay more attention to what my thinking process is

In my case there are definitely far too many things to list.

As for some more general highlights that I like sharing.

self-discovery

When I was much younger, I self discovered the method of loci, I thought at first that I had made something interesting, that likely no one else had. However, for me this also meant that I was constantly faced with questions of doubt “why does no one else seem to do this”, “will it continue working and not all of a sudden stop”, “can it even be improved on”, " is it really worth it if no one else seems to be doing this". As a result, this has created a lot of on and off times of me using the method in my much younger years. At some point, I had finally found out that this was actually a well established method with a name (‘memory palace/method of loci’). After knowing this, I actually poured a lot more effort into developing it than what I was doing prior.

However, the important message I learned from this, is that in reality nothing had really changed. This confidence that came about, just because I wasn’t digging in the dark was entirely an illusion. In reality if I had simply started off developing without the excessive worry, I would have made a lot more progress early. I later noticed that this was true for a lot of things.

From taking jobs, to taking the initiative in a group, to making your own learning approaches. What is important, is not what others have done but what you will do.

While at the time I was quite young (not even double digit years), soon after I managed to learn to actually evaluate my approaches more effectively.

openness

Again, rather in my much younger years.

Often there are particular categories to things one likes. I have frequently heard of people categorizing music into pop,rock,jazz and more. Once again in my younger years I did much the same, having categories I believed would classify as parts of things that I liked. At the time I watched quite a bit of anime and often would think that there is particular anime I wouldn’t like because of some sort of category classification present. However, the reality I found myself in was that I always felt very much naïve after watching an anime and realizing that despite it’s category I would actually take it to enjoyment far more than I expected.

So, then I asked myself, why did I even think this in the first place? This was a sort of epiphany, a pure eureka moment. Quite simply, there was no reason what so ever for me to think this yet, I thought this. There was no evidence, nothing I had seen prior that could possibly even justify why I was thinking that I liked and disliked particular categories. It wasn’t long after this that I had realized that my friends at the time were doing this too. Not too long after that, I realized that I never even made any of these categories myself, they didn’t really exist in my dictionary, nor were they meaningful enough to justify like or dislike.

From that point on I started re-evaluating my life a little. I was committing to a lot of presumptions that were not really justified. Some more relatable examples are common spelling errors. Often the perception a lot of people share when someone makes spelling errors and perhaps even grammatical errors is that what they are saying has less informative value. I was realizing that regardless of how I justified these things afterwards, I did not really justify them to begin with. They weren’t really entirely true. They were at best heuristics that did not quite match a reality and some of these were incredibly bad.

From that point onwards, I truly learned to be a lot more openminded. Particularly, to justify why I was actually thinking of something in the way I was and whether this was truly reasonable. Soon after this actually transferred into my academic work, I was no longer really satisfied with doing what I was doing if I did not know why I was doing it. The detail in this statement grew much more apparent over the years. While at first it was a simple difference in what I was doing, it later became the drive for truer efficiency in everything I was doing.

reflection

This point I learned later in my life, perhaps a little later than I would have liked.

Compared to the previous point “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, as can be quoted commonly, this arguably was immensely much more crucial. Perhaps metaphorically this was more of the nature of: "They’re also a tool to adjust your senses. When I’m not feeling well there are times that I can’t take in what I read. When that happens, I try to think about what could be hindering my reading. There are books that I can take in smoothly even when I’m not feeling well.”

At the time I simply watched an anime about a detective. By the time I did this I was already well versed with reasoning and thinking in different ways, metacognitively or even more crudely, I was well able to optimize what I was doing. However, when watching the anime, the feats were very much above what anyone else has done. There were clear points where I did not know who the culprit would have been but the reasoning to it was clear, detailed and precise. So, I simply thought about why I was not able to know about this beforehand, how I could improve, what was required to actually become able of doing this. After doing this for 400 hours over a period of months, perhaps better stated in intervals, I was truly evaluating everything I was thinking about while watching the anime. I was perhaps thinking a bit too much, more than I likely ever have done for per hour spent and on some days for the entire day after that.
As a result, I was better able to process details and think more effectively even beyond my own expectations. Arguably, there are many other important things I have gained from this but what I would want to mention is the validity.

It felt as though I gouged out the very deepest layer of what I was truly doing and assembled the parts relentlessly with pure performance as there simply was no way to assume. Whatever I thought, did, tried and made use of, would be reflected back to me whenever I executed it next. In a sense I was able to truly peek deeply into what was working and why more than I would ever have been able to do through any other means.

This eventually led to me doing this on the origin process itself and as a result I truly learned to develop systems one does not need to test; actually, how painfully crucial testing is and what works best for me, all in the context of using my own brain.

If any of these points seem far removed from what was learned, this is reflective of how many things I have learned. By no means, is this a list of the most important things but definitely some of the more shareable. Perhaps these are not quite tools, methods or habits, but more long lasting values out of many, that have taken root in improving my learning.

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Five things (in no particular order) that have helped me in ways that are hard to express:

  1. Many of Edward De Bono’s techniques. A couple important ones for me were his CoRT thinking course, which I took a long time ago. Another was his 6 thinking hats, which I find deceptively useful. Deceptive because my first reaction was to completely dismiss them.
  2. Using mind map software was extremely useful.
  3. Every scrap of information about neuroscience and brain plasticity that I have acquired has been useful.
  4. Mnemonics, of course.
  5. George Lakoff’s book Metaphors We Live By.
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I appreciate that this question is broadly related to learning rather than specifically about memory. I’ve enjoyed the work of Barbara Oakley in her Learning How to Learn course. Also, generally the concept of Growth Mindset from Carol Dweck.

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Agreed. The Barbara Oakley course was very good.

I forgot to mention the book “Make it Stick”, which I have discussed elsewhere on this site.

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  1. Deliberate rest taking(ie, YogaNidra, Progressive muscle relaxation)
  2. Zettelkasten
  3. Taking vitamins and minerals regularly(especially, Vitmain D,B complex,Omega-3,Selenium,etc)
  4. Meditation(deliberate attention practice)
  5. Practicing ‘minimalism’ in knowledge collection! Avoiding “Collector fallacy”. I suffer from this! https://zettelkasten.de/posts/collectors-fallacy/
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What can you suggest on this for a newcomer like me? What are the benefits of meditation? Where I can find some good resources on this topic?
Thanks in advance

You should just practice “managing your attention” and how to avoid “distraction” as much as possible!

I’d suggest to avoid the ‘spiritual aspect’ of meditation!

The rule of meditation is very simple:

  1. Pay attention to the object of meditation(ie,your breathing or whatever you choose).
  2. Your mind will wander away from the object of meditation.
  3. Catch your mind/attention from wandering away. Bring your attention to the object of your meditation(again and again)…

Tough,but a very useful skill…After practicing for a week or so,you would see noticable change in your attention/focus…And as the saying goes: you have three valuable resources in life: time,focus and money

However,you should be aware that meditation(even practicing attention) may trigger suppressed ‘emotions’ of yours! This is why,it is advised to practise meditation under the supervision of a meditation master…

There are many good books written on meditation…Below one is my favorites,as it explains in details all the processes that a meditator’s brain and body goes through during different stages of meditation:

The Mind Illuminated

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