Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins (Part 1 – Decisions)

Awaken the Giant within - Tony Robbins

I just finished reading Tony Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within and I want to share with you some powerful ideas from the book.

1 – The Power of Truly Committed Decisions

To take control of our lives, we need to take control of our consistent actions. I’m not talking about the things that we do once in a while but what we do consistently.

But what precedes all our actions? What is the father of all action? What drives all our actions? The answer to all these questions is one word – decisions.

You take action because you decided to take action. If you don’t take action, it’s again your decision not to take action.

People instead of making decisions complain about their conditions. I came from a dysfunctional family. My parents were really poor. I didn’t get the right education.

No one denies that there are people who are born with advantages. Genetic advantages, family advantages, environmental advantages, relationship advantages. However, for every “privileged” person I can give you an example of a non-privileged person that against all odds smashed all their barriers by making the decisions of what to do with their lives.

But what sort of decisions? Truly committed decisions. The moment you make a decision, it’s a commitment. There is no way back.

We have disempowered the word decision in our lives. We have associated the word decision with something like I should do that one day, I ought to do that one day, it would be nice to do that, wouldn’t it? No. If you decided that you have to do something, you must do it and you have to take action now.

A real decision is measured by the fact that you have taken new action. If there is no new action, sorry you haven’t decided yet.

A truly committed decision has to be unshakable no matter what happens. The stock market collapses, your girlfriend dumps you, your “friends” think you went crazy.

Your decisions need to stay there strong and powerful. Because your decisions reflect your values, your purpose, what you came to this world for. You decisions need to stay consistent with the quality of your spirit, your inner calling.

Make decisions often. The more decisions you make, the better you’re gonna get. Muscles get stronger with use and so do our decision muscles. Feel the excitement that comes from taking the committed decisions that shift your life towards the direction you wanna go.

Learn from your decisions. There are gonna be times when you screw up. Don’t focus on the short term setbacks but focus on the lessons that will save you time, money and pain in the future.

Build flexibility. Once you decide who you want to become, what is you wanna get, be flexible in your approach. Try different ways, learn throughout the process, experiment, don’t become rigid in your approach.

Enjoy making decisions. One moment, the moment that you make a true decision can change your entire life. The moment you decide to quit smoking, to buy a gym membership, to quit your job.

A truly committed decision is the force that can change your life.

Angelos

PS: For those who are asking about camera and lighting gear have a look:
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Should we Focus on Strengths or Weaknesses?

strenghts-weaknesses

Hey LiveDivers,

Have you read the title of this post? Well, I don’t know the answer. I want you to answer this question for me.

This is what Gary Vaynerchuk says: “You need to bet on your strengths and not give a fuck about what you suck at.” Watch here.

In another video he says the same.”Legacy is better than currency”. Watch here.

Now, Peter Ducker in a popular Harvard Business Review Classics (Managing Oneself) says the same: The reason people don’t succeed is that they don’t know their strengths. He suggests that we can only find out what our strengths are by looking at our past successes and failures (he calls that feedback analysis). Then, we should only invest in those strengths every single day. Also, we shouldn’t try to change everything at once. The key is in getting rid of the bad habits and continuously investing in our strong areas.

Here is an excellent summary of the book Managing Oneself written by the successful entrepreneur Tai Lopez.

On the flip side now I have to say the following:

  1.  What if you have built your strength to such an extent that any marginal improvement towards your strength is not that important as opposed to an improvement in an area that you have always neglected.
  2. What if your strength is not as enjoyable anymore as it was before? OK, you most probably enjoy things that you’re good at but what if you don’t find something as sexy as before anymore?
  3. What if you have multiple passions and want to live a diversified life? What if you are a mathematician in your 30’s and a degree in history is now more interesting than a PhD in mathematics?

My dad used to be a teacher in primary school. He was a really good teacher. All the kids loved him. I’ve probably got some of his talent and done lots of teaching myself too. I’ve taught mathematics, languages, music and the feedback I’ve been getting all these years is really exceptional. However, I haven’t always enjoyed the process of teaching. Why? Because teaching sucks all your energy. 3-4 hours of real teaching can leave you dead. Does the fact that I can be a good teacher means I should become one? Not sure.

Two years ago I wrote a book about how we can become better learners and memorise better what we learn. I spent six months reading tons of research in cognitive psychology. There is no evidence that we should learn according to our preferred learning style (visual, acoustic, verbal, kinaesthetic) if we want to learn more effectively. On the contrary, there are studies that have shown the opposite. For example, visual learners learn better if they start reading or listening.

In another recent Harvard Business Review podcast, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor at University College London and Columbia University says there is no scientific evidence that focusing on your strengths guarantees success.

The problem he says is that we usually compare our own strengths between them instead of comparing our strengths against the same strengths in our peers. Well, I don’t fully agree with that either. Let’s say that more than half of the population is better at something we like and are best at. Giving that something up and looking at something we’re not good at doesn’t sound like a good strategy either.

Professor Chamorro-Premuzic says also that overdeveloping a strong area can become a liability rather than an asset. For example, a really ambitious person can become greedy or someone with good social skills can become a manipulator. But that’s again something you can’t control. Here we’re talking about people who want to get better and achieve the most of life like you and me. I don’t find convincing the reasoning here. Read for yourself. Tell me what you think.

My gut feeling as I’m writing this article is that we should do what feels right and not what we think is right. We live in a “KPI and ROI” society where productivity and optimisation are everything. We put our mind first and our heart second.

I think you shouldn’t follow anyone’s advice. Do what feels right to you. Do you want to explore something new? Do it. Do you find challenge in improving a skill that you thought you were not good at? Do it! You may find out that you’re good at it in the end.

 

Can you leave a comment below? I want to know your opinion.

-Angelos

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The Minimalistic Entrepreneur

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Being an entrepreneur is tough. Gary Vaynerchuk says that entrepreneurship sucks! Watch this video.

You quit your 9 to 5 job to build an online business to become your own boss, to work from home, to travel more. You are looking for more freedom and you end up in your own prison!

I guarantee entrepreneurship can get f***** overwhelming. I now work harder and longer than I used to work in investment banking.

Minimalism is not just the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. It’s the only way to go as an entrepreneur. Here are my best tips and lessons I’ve learned going through a ton of bad days as Gary says.

Prioritise. Before you start doing any work in the morning ask yourself what the 2 -3 most important tasks are.

I don’t think that changing the theme on your wordpress site is your number 1 priority of the day (I changed my theme recently but I resisted doing it for a whole month as I had other priorities).

Look at your to-do list. Do the stuff that adds the most important value. Be damn strict with this!

Remember the 80/20 rule. 20% of the things you do are responsible for the 80% of your success. Focus on that 20%. Most of the time you know what is important but still you don’t do it. You fool yourself. Stop that! Reconsider your day-to-day priorities. I’m repeating myself, I know but it’s so important.  

Don’t check your inbox every five minutes. Set multiple alarm clocks at 11am and 4am every day to check your email. Check your email only twice a day. It wastes your time and it kills your focus and quality of your work. I’ll tell you more about this shortly.

Stop multitasking. Our brains are designed to focus on one thing at a time. MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller says that when people think that they multitask, in essence they switch from one task to another very rapidly. Read this article.

When we complete a tiny task (answering an email, sending a text message, posting a post on Facebook), we are hit with a dollop of dopamine, our reward hormone. Our brains are addicted to dopamine and we switch tasks quickly because that gives us lots of instant doses of gratification.

These instant gratifications make us feel that we accomplish a lot whereas in reality we don’t.

Multitasking reduces the quality and efficiency of our work. Organising thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information becomes more difficult.

A study at the University Of London also showed that people who multitask while performing cognitive tasks experience IQ drops. In fact, the IQ drops were similar to what you see in individuals who smoke cannabis or didn’t sleep the night before.

Multitasking has also been found to increase cortisol, the stress hormone. The rapid fire-ups of the brain leave us mentally exhausted very quickly even when the working day has barely started!

The biggest instigator of multitasking? Our inboxes. Some studies have shown that even when you have the possibility to multitask when you know for example that you have unread emails in your inbox can reduce your IQ by 10 points! For men, IQ drops can be even worse up to 15 points.

The constant thrill of having new bolded emails in our inbox keeps us distracted. A McKinsey Global Institute Study found that employees spend 28% of their time checking their inboxes.

Studies have also shown that the damage of multitasking in the long run can be permanent. MRI scans showed that people who multitask consistently show less brain density in the anterior cingulate. That’s the area responsible for empathy and emotional control.

So, stop multitasking now, check your email twice a day, put your phone in a silent mode and focus on the task at hand.

Don’t skip breaks. It’s tempting to skip breaks (and even lunch) when you have lots of work to do. However, research again has shown that those who take regular breaks are actually more productive than those who don’t. Sounds trivial again? It does. But we skip breaks (including myself of course) and we feel we’re working like a supernatural machines. Total illusion.

A great app to use is Pomodoro One. Pomodoro One has an alarm that goes off after a set interval. Then, it sounds an alarm and gives you a break from work. When the break’s over, it automatically starts timing your work again. You can use it on both Desktop and phone.

You don’t need business cards. It’s a waste of paper. I get angry when I see so many business cards on the streets. If someone wants to keep in touch with you, give them your telephone number, or your email. If they are really interested in you, they will contact you. I’m sure that the chances are higher that someone loses your contact when getting your business card rather than saving your number in their phone.

Unsubscribe. How many emails do you get that you don’t even read or open. When you first decide to declutter your inbox you may get overwhelmed. So, unsubscribe as new emails come in. Don’t try to do it all at once. You’ll drive yourself mad.

Delete the Facebook App from your iPhone. It’s unbelievable how much time we spend on Facebook. The best thing I’ve done in my life is deleting the Facebook App from my phone. Not only did I find inner peace staying away from the Facebook “blink-blink”, but I also solved the common problem of the iPhone battery! The Facebook app is probably the #1 energy monster app. OK, to be fair it’s not the app itself; it’s our addiction of checking Facebook on our phones.

Don’t check your sales every 5 minutes. As an entrepreneur you strive for every sale. You want to see your income increase. It’s your dream. You don’t want to go back to office job. You want your financial freedom like nothing else.

In the beginning, I was addicted to checking the sales every minute. How many more sales? I used to check sales on multiple sites every hour. I used to get up in the morning and check the sales in my computer with my eyes half-closed. All this checking takes so much time and as email checking kills your quality of work. All this checking adds zero value to your business. Dedicate every minute on how you can make your product better. Spend your time on that and only that. Check your sales once a week, or once in two weeks.

It’s the same with running a race. If you constantly look around you while you run to check on others, you lose focus. For those who run 100m even a thought can cost you the race.  

Launch it. then make it better. Have you heard of the concept of the Minimum Value Product (MVP)? Don’t wait to launch your product until it’s perfect! It will never be perfect. There will always be something more to do before you launch it. Create a product that adds value to the people. Gauge interest. Listen to the feedback. Your customers will tell you how you can make it better. Again I recommend some further reading here. What else? The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

Outsource. I’ve said this again before. You can’t do everything on your own when you run a business. I know you can do this task very well yourself. And that task. And that task. I know it will take you just an hour. But it will be an hour that you could devote to something else that could add more value.

This is how Muller explains it: “Take the time to eliminate the pointless, the superfluous, the questionable. Then decide what you can hire out or delegate. Then focus on the work that only you can do, that you can do best, and that you can do for the most impact on your business.“

That’s all for now. This post is about the Minimalistic Entrepreneur. It shouldn’t get too long.

If this post gave you some good tips, can you share it now please? It will take you 5 sec.

Kindness and smiles,

Angelos

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Do you follow these blogging marketing strategies?

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Joe Pulizzi in the book Epic Content Marketing explains the secrets of creating a successful blog (Click here to for book info).

1) Encourage conversations.

2) Hang out on other blogs.

3) Loosen up. Express a personal opinion. Be authentic.

It’s essential to define well your audience.

4) Who will be your reader?

5) What are your reader’s needs?

6) What keywords is your reader searching for? Follow these using Google Alerts.

7) Do you contribute to the conversation on the places your readers hang out? Do you leave comments there?

8) You should have consistency. Can you commit yourself to publish an article twice a week? The worst thing you can do is to start and stop later.

9) Use killer titles. Controversial titles are also good. Make titles based on what people search on Google (Use Google Keyword Planner for this).

10) Don’t use too much bluff in your posts. Less is more. Remember: Edit Edit Edit before posting.

11) Each post should have a call to action. What do you want reader to do after they read your post? A call to action can be to download an ebook, to sign up to your newsletter, to follow your social media page, etc.

12) The blog post should be written in such a way so the content can be repackaged later to an ebook, a course, something more substantial. Plan ahead for that.

13) Guest post on other similar blogs. Choose the top 15 in your niche. Never turn down an opportunity to do a guest post.

14) Measure with Google Analytics. What are the most popular posts? Do people sign up? On what page?

15) Outsource. Most successful blogs outsource content. You can’t do everything on your own.

16) Refer people to good quality content that’s not yours. Always focus on adding value to your people.

What other strategies do you think are successful?

Leave a comment below!

Kindness and smiles,

Angelos

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Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi

epic-content-marketing

Hi Divers,

I just finished reading Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing.

Do you want to increase traffic to your blog?

Do you want to increase sales of your product or service?

Do you want to build awareness of your brand?

Then this book is for you. 

Key Lessons

Customers don’t care about you. They care about themselves and their problems.

It’s not about you and your awesome product. It’s about them.

Stop selling to them.

Focus on their needs. Add value to them. Serve them.

Inform them, engage them, amuse them.

Make them more intelligent.

This is the only way to build trust. Once you build trust, selling becomes effortless.

Provide content that makes people stop and read what you have to say before you even think to sell anything to them.

Epic content is helpful, relevant, compelling, educational.

It’s not about finding customers, it’s about finding fanatic customers that will trust you 1000%.

Use storytelling. Storytelling shows why the brand exists. And that’s beyond any products or services.

You need to emotionally engage people. They have to see themselves in you.

The Six Principles of Epic Content Marketing

  1. Epic content needs to fill a need: Your content should answer some unmet need. It should solve a problem that people have. It should add value. Sometimes, it meets just an emotional need. Have a look at Coca-Cola’s or Red-bull’s storytelling. Another example now. Have you ever seen any of Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos? Their purpose is to make take action. To awake the giant inside you. The target straight to your emotional world.
  2. It communicates consistently: When you subscribe to a magazine, you expect your magazine to arrive to your door on time and as expected. The same holds with your content. Deliver consistently giving the best value as expected.
  3. It requires you to find your unique human voice: Be human. Be you. Don’t be a reporter. When people build a brand, they become a brand. They speak like a brand. People want to connect with you. Show emotions. Send your newsletter as if you were sending a text message to your friend.
  4. It expresses a point of view: Take a side on a matter. Don’t be afraid to have opinions. People will identify themselves with you because of your ideas and opinions. You can’t please everybody. What matters is not customers after all. It’s fanatic customers that will follow you no matter what.
  5. It is less about sales: “The more you talk about yourself, the less people will share and spread your story.”
  6. It is the best content in its niche out there: The ultimate goal is to provide content that people can’t find anywhere else. Though this sounds impossible in the beginning, the ultimate goal for you is to provide the best content out there that will position you at the top.

Do they above six points sound obvious? Yes, but who applies them to their marketing strategy?

It’s all about the brand. How cool we are. Why we are the best. What our product can for you. 

NO!!! 

Listen first. Then see how you can help and add value. Maybe sell later. They will buy from you. Why? Because they trust you.

Finally, Pulizzi says that epic content usually has some additional characteristics. It’s real time, fact-driven, efficient, visual and curated. Read here for more.

Really disruptive book. I learned a lot from it. Read it.

Kindness and smiles,

Angelos

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Make Money on Kindle Publishing Books

kindle-money-mastery

Hi guys,

Kindle Publishing is one of the most lucrative business at the moment where there is lots of potential. Here the great thing is that you don’t need to invest lots of money into the business. If you enjoy writing you can write your books yourself. The books don’t have to be long. You can write a 5000 word book in a couple of days, design a cover using Fiverr and get it published in 5 minutes. Shortly, your book will be available on Amazon for people to buy.

If you don’t enjoy writing, you can find a ghostwriter on Upwork and pay around $100 for a 5000 word book. That’s the whole investment you need to put down + the design of the book cover.

In my case, I write the books myself because I enjoy writing and I would never compromise the quality. Check out my author page here on Amazon.

Again, you don’t have to be Stephen King to write a book. But you can build an Amazon Kindle business and earn as much as Stephen King does!

The Kindle Publishing Guru is Stefan Pylarinos. His Kindle Money Mastery Course is by far the best training programme. I am a member of his Full Disclosure Programme ($67 a month) which is worth every penny. I can’t recommend it enough.

I’m learning a ton of tips from the people that have already made huge success in this business. I believe that’s the key in any goal you want to achieve in life. Stay in touch with the people that have made it already. They will drag you along with them!

Stefan also has a Closed Facebook Group for all the members of the Kindle Money Mastery programme (Full Disclosure) in which members share opinions, help each other and all make it to the top very fast.

I wish I had come across Stefan’s programme earlier. I am grateful to you guys in Kindle Money Mastery.

>> To Get Access To Stefan’s Course Click Here <<

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Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing

affilorama

Don’t have a product to sell? Don’t have a service to offer? You can STILL connect your audience with products/services that they need and make a huge profit.

The story here is very simple. Let’s say that your friend Nick needs to buy hosting service for his blog. You already have a blog and you know that BlueHost is the best hosting service out there. You know that Nick will avoid all the hassle that you went through trying to find the best hosting service when you started blogging.

You refer Bluehost to Nick using a link that is tagged with your id – name. Bluehost recognises your id, ie. they know that Nick came from you. Nick buys hosting plan for his blog and Bluehost award a commision to you for the referral.

Listen to this now. If the person you referred signs up for a monthly fee plan, you get a commision every month for referring that person! Awesome!

Affiliate marketing can generate incredibly large passive income streams! 

I know all this sounds easy but how do I start???

To avoid headaches and endless hours trying to make this work on your own, I recommend that you invest some money into a training programme. The programme I used myself is Affilorama. It’s totally straightforward and has good value for your money. They now provide even more videos (around 120) which are easy-to-follow video lessons to show you how to build your affiliate money-making business step-by-step. Even your grandma can follow these steps and build all the necessary infrastructure!

And Yes! All the links in this post are affiliate links! Why? Because I have tried Affilorama myself and I know it’s got great value. I got value from it as you will. And then you’ll be grateful to me for introducing you to the right service.

Lesson to be learned: When you use affiliate marketing, always refer your people to products or services that will add value to them. Don’t scam people. Look always for WIN-WIN scenarios.

To explore more ways to make passive income online, check my latest book Real Ways to Make Income Online 2017.

Take care,

Angelos

>> Click Here to Explore Affilorama and Start Earning Money While You’re Sleeping! <<

 

 

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Real Ways to Make Money Online 2017

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Hi guys,

I’m excited about publishing my latest book Real Ways to Make Money Online 2017!

In this book I explain to you how you can make a living using your computer and an Internet connection.

I don’t care whether you want to work from home, at your favourite coffee shop, on a beach in Thailand, or on a boat in Mediterranean sea.

That’s your problem.

Here I explain to you which tools you need to earn money online NOW. The real ones. The proved ones. NO BS.

And Yes. The only thing you need is a computer and an Internet connection. As soon as you guarantee that you have those two, I can teach you how to make a living out of those two.

Nothing else. Plus I need from you a burning desire to succeed.

Then you can go back to your boss and say F*** OFF.

I have included a bonus chapter in which you can see what method I’m using exactly to make money while I’m sleeping! 🙂

Any questions, please shout!

Kindness and smiles,
Angelos

 

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Учим греческий – Полезные слова

Μάλιστα. – Понятно, хорошо.

Τα λέμε. – До скорой встречи. (бук. обсудим их)

Εντάξει. – Хорошо, ок.

Φύγαμε. – Пошли!

Πάμε! – Пойдём!

‘Αντε, πάμε! – Давай пойдём! – Ну что, пойдём!

Ευχαριστώ – Спасибо.

Ευχαριστώ πολύ! – Спасибо большое!

Παρακαλώ. – Пожалуйста.

Με συγχωρείτε… – Извините, простите, …

Τι κάνεις; – Как дела?

Όλα καλά. – Все хорошо.

Μια χαρά. – Отлично. (Бук. одна радость – одно счатсье)

Κατάλαβα. – Понятно. Понимаю. Понял. (Бук. Прошедшее время – Понял)

Καταλαβαίνω. – Понимаю.

Συγγνώμη. – Извиняюсь.

Καλή όρεξη. – Приятного апетита.

Πόσο κάνει αυτό; – Сколько это стоит?

Που είναι η τουαλέτα; – Где туалет?

Πάω για ύπνο. – Ложусь спать.

Γειά μας! – на здоровье!

Σε αγαπώ. – Я тебя люблю.

Σ’ αγαπώ. – Я тебя люблю.

Μου λείπεις. – Скучаю по тебе.

Δεν ξέρω. – Не знаю.

Σε παρακαλώ πολύ. – Очень тебя прошу.

Ϊσως. – Наверно.

Δεν ξέρω, ίσως. –  Не знаю, наверно.

Τώρα. – сейчас

Σήμερα. – Сегодня.

Αύριο. – Завтра.

Μετά.  – Потом.

Νωρίς. – Рано.

Αργά. – Поздно.

Είναι νωρίς. – Еще рано.

Είναι αργά. – Уже поздно.

Έλα! – Давай! (Бук. Приходи!)

Έλα εδώ! – Приходи сюда!

 

 

 

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The characteristics of effective learning

Encoding

To learn effectively we should spend enough time to let new information soak into our memory before we move on. Every cognitive process requires time and effort if we want to remember something for the long run. We need to give a meaning to new information based on our current knowledge. How does this new thing connect with what we already know? How does this new thing build upon our current knowledge structure? Why is it important? Is it valid according to existing knowledge? Does it change anything in our current structure?

To encode new information make associations, find examples/counterexamples, use your imagination to think of an analogy or a pattern.

Are you learning a foreign language? Form examples with the new vocabulary. Think of words that sound or look similar to new words. Can you remember any synonyms? Any antonyms? Close your eyes and visualise yourself using new words in a real life scenario with a native speaker.

Have you just learned a new mathematical formula? Solve a couple of problems with this formula. Are there any exceptions? Can you derive the formula on your own on a blank piece of paper? Can you explain to your parents what’s the purpose of this formula? Why do we need it? Explain this formula to someone that doesn’t know anything about mathematics. Why is this formula consistent with other formulas that you already know?

Let’s say that you are reading about the European Union. The moment I am writing this article the number of EU states is 28 whereas the number of Eurozone states is 19. How can you remember these two numbers? Look at them for 5 seconds. Can you relate these two numbers somehow? I am sure you have already come up with an idea. For example, 1 + 1 = 2 and 9 – 1 = 8. Or just focus on 19 and add the last digit to 19 to make 28. This simple quick observation costs 5 seconds but it can lock these two numbers in your memory making it hard to forget. Oh, and before I move on, I just wanted to let you know that Alexander Fleming discovered the penicillin in 19 28.

Self-testing

Now who starts a learning session with a blank piece of paper? Almost no one. Most of us open our books or notes and start reading. And after we read, we reread and reread and reread. Big mistake. What will help you to learn effectively is not rereading but self-testing. What can you remember from the last time? Recall first! Rack your brains! Look up in the ceiling until you bring something to the surface! Do you think this is a waste of time? No, it’s not. It’s the only way to build strong memories. The more you struggle to remember something the stronger roots it will grow in your memory. If you didn’t manage to recall it, encode it better. How can you secure it better in your memory? Recall it again after a couple of days. Target it again!

Flashcards is a great way to practice recall. Use traditional flash cards or electronic ones. Anki is a great software to make electronic flash cards. Use flash cards for anything you are trying to learn: language vocabulary, historical events, medicine, anything.

When you take notes, use the Cornell notetaking system. Divide the sheet into two columns. Take notes on the right column and use the left column for the corresponding questions. When you review your notes cover the right column with your hand and try to answer the questions on the left column. Confirm. Did you get it correct? Leave space in your notes so you can use it while you practice recall. If you didn’t get something correct add comments, encode it better, add supporting information, draw an “attention” sign. Always start reviewing your notes with self-testing. Make it hard as you are being tested every time you review your notes.

 

Spacing

Tell me now how many courses and books are out there that promise they can teach you a language or anything in 7 days? Infinite. Correct. Is it possible? Have you learned a language in 7 days? Do you know anyone that has? If you do, please let me know because I want to meet that person.

Research has shown that to learn effectively we need to space our study sessions. We need to allow a little bit of forgetting to happen. Recall information that starts getting rusty in our memory. Do you struggle? Does it take time to bring to the surface? That should be your goal. It’s only then When you glue it to your long-term memory.

When you mass your studying into one single session you feel you are making great progress. But that progress is only short-term! Space your learning out in time and when you go back to carry on, always start with self-testing.

Stop going to those “ultimate hands-on crash-courses”. This only suits the course organisers who teach you “everything” over a single weekend and walk away with all your money at once. It doesn’t suit you.

Imagine your long-term memory as a garden with plants. Each plant is  a bit of information in your memory. You need to go back often enough to water your plants. How can you water your plants? With self-testing. We explained that earlier. Water your plants with recall practice if you don’t want to see them die. Bear in mind that you can’t water your plants only once even if you throw a ton of water on them. You need to space the watering process. Do the same with your learning.

Have you realised what I’ve just done with the previous paragraph? I used an analogy to connect self-testing and spacing with the process of watering plants in a garden. Do you remember encoding? I just wanted to remind you. I went back to it. I spaced it out.

 

Varied Instruction

And then it comes to the learning styles… Today we all believe we are a certain type of learner (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic etc.) However, there is no scientific evidence that we should learn according to our “preferred learning style” if we want to achieve maximum learning results! Instead, science says we should learn in different modes and work with our weak sides. It’s only then when learning becomes effective. Don’t stay within your comfort learning zone. Stretch yourself. Explore new material from different sides.

Do you prefer pictures? Start reading.

Are you reading about the events of the Second World War? Close your book and watch a documentary on YouTube covering the same events.

Are you studying English by reading a passage in silence? Stop for a minute. Read it out loud and record it with Google Translate. Did Google Translate pick the words up correctly? If so great. You just practiced pronunciation. Press the record button now and listen. Focus on the words that you don’t pronounce correctly. There you go. Reading, speaking, listening. At zero cost.

 

Always remember this. If you want to make your learning easy, you will have to pay a price for it later. The price of forgetting. Effective learning (long-term learning) should be effortful and hard. Hence, avoid practices like cramming, rereading and speedreading. These practices make you feel you are learning fast. However, the results are only temporary.

I know some of the above may sound controversial. But this is not my personal opinion. It is what science says about how we should learn. I only managed to dig this truth out after diving into research papers and changing totally the way I learn. Because the way I used to learn was far far away from the optimal. I wish I knew all this when I was a student. But no academic institution dedicates a separate module to how we should learn. Educators believe that we know how to learn. Unfortunately, we don’t. Because the characteristics of effective learning are counterintuitive. We are poor judges of future performance based on current performance. Just because you feel you remember everything now, doesn’t mean you will remember it in the future.

What you should do is to nurture curiosity, motivation and love for what you are learning. Find genuine interest in it. Effective learning happens when you are in a sort of meditation state. Fully absorbed, trapped in a book, film, documentary, interview, talk etc. It’s then when the magic happens.

PS: Special thanks to Maggy for making the below beautiful illustration for me. You can find her at xdmaggy@gmail.com.

Characteristics-of-Effective-Learning

 

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