I have a method for learning I call the think principle: think about what you are being taught and understand how to do it right, think and then do it right, do it right without thinking. I use these three steps as a guide for my learning process.
There are a variety of learning styles – visual (images), auditory (listening and speaking), read & write (reading and note taking), and kinesthetic (hands on) but they all follow this simple pattern of thinking. The difference is in how any one person receives the information they are learning and makes it part of their thinking pattern. I myself am a reading and note taking learner.
Ancient Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius placed great importance on thinking and said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Here are the three steps to learning unpacked and explained:
You start out not knowing. If you aren’t confused at first, then you don’t understand how complex learning is. You must remain open to the fact that every time you learn something new, you will need to take time to think about what you are learning. If you aren’t willing to have this level of discomfort than you won’t learn new things.
In 1913 Niels Bohr built the first model of electron orbitals on the hydrogen atom based on quantum theory. Bohr is quoted saying, “If you aren’t confused by quantum mechanics, you haven’t really understood it.”
Then you start to know. Think about how you are going to accomplish the challenge, not why you can’t. Once you understand how something should be done, you must think through the process while you repeat what you learned again and again until it becomes second nature. Failing at this point is just one step away from success.
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”– Zig Ziglar
Now that you know, you should go. Don’t overthink that which is simple, and don’t underthink that which is complex. The level of thinking involved in learning anything new is dependent upon the complexity of the task. At some point you have to trust that you can do it, and then just do it.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee