How Effectively Learning to Learn, A Research on Wisdom.

The year 2023 started, and for the first time in my life, I sat down on the cold floor of my office with all the books that I had bought in my entire life.

I enjoy purchasing books; I read most of them right away, while I forget the reasons or timing of my purchase for others.

With all books and my litter baby surrounding me, I started to inventory what books I had read and which I had not; my only goal at that moment was to answer a few simple questions:

  • Is having so many books full of dirt increasing my wisdom?
  • Is buying books that you only read once and forget mostly all of them a good strategy for learning? 

After I finished, my findings were shocking and sad.

In total, I had 145 physical books and only 45 read, which was a lower percentage of the total books, but the worse thing was that I could only recall a few ideas, only for a few of them.

Something was wrong and had to be changed, I questioned myself. 

At that moment, I put aside all my goals for a month and figured out the best way to answer those questions; hopefully, I would fix my reading and learning problems.

Thanks to that moment, I started doing simple questions that I never did before, maybe because I never saw the importance of an effective system for learning and understanding how wisdom is acquired and how learning to learn.

  • How can we learn more and quicker?
  • How can we read faster? 
  • How can I use more of that knowledge on a day-to-day basis?
  • How to remember more and never forget? 
  • How to prioritize learning? 
  • How to memorize more?
  • How to take valuable notes? 
  • What tools and devices can increase my efficiency when learning?
  • How to read a book?
  • How to listen to a podcast?
  • How to study videos or courses? 
  • How to read from the web? 
  • How to filter information?
  • How to efficiently archive information?

Those were several of the questions flying through my head; unfortunately, I can’t answer all those questions in a single letter, and I have not found all the answers yet.

We can write several books trying to answer all of them, and those books might not be best sellers since it will be hard to expose the answer so that everyone can use them the same way.

But, if you want to gain wisdom, I encourage you to start finding the answer to such a group of questions by yourself; hopefully, if you keep reading, this letter will provide some help and guide you along the way.

To find different answers to the big problem that I was having, which at first, seemed to be not a big deal, I had to take more time, so now a month of research became three months, and by then, I had created learning system, was not perpetual at all but was better than having none.

A non-perpetual learning system.

Developing this system was severe work (here is a letter on the final result); answering those questions was difficult; I under-estimate the complexity of such an important project. 

Finding accurate answers and avoiding noisy information is getting more complicated nowadays.

With these letters, avoiding noise is my main goal; I’m trying hard to be one of those writers that will help you save time and minimize the effect of a noisy world.

If you allow me, I will give you only valid and actionable insights that worked for me, because out there is getting complicated.

Going back to the topic, I took this system seriously since knowledge is an important subject that needs to be addressed in such a way, but apparently, I had not.

After spending several months researching, I created a personal system that mainly addressed all the questions, increasing my learning process efficiency. 

Below, I’m explaining the three stages I made for learning efficiently. 

Stage #1. Funneling information

This stage is for listing and filtering references and actionable sources of information; I used to bookmark everything before, ending up with many of these references in different places or not recalling where I saved them.

Finding a good reference is essential; filtering and selecting the correct information for posterior consumption is far more critical. 

Now, any information, data, or books I find interesting is sent to my inbox, one Outlook rule filters these emails and copies them in a specific folder, and a Python script collects all the data and inserts it in an file.

The file is saved within my knowledge management system second brain project, the relevant information is saved in a specific and unique place and strategically used to quench my curiosity in later days.

In summary, this stage is for:

  1. Identifying the best sources and authors (I like to call them masters).
  2. Selecting the best sources of information depends on any specific topic or questions I want to answer.
  3. Centralize my collection of references.

Stage #2. Active Learning or Indexing:

It would be best if you studied intentionally and strategically. Your notes and ideas must be written and memorized to answer specific questions that fill your curiosity. Create a systematized routine process that helps you practice more, so you will learn more, and as a result, you will notice the big difference in how you think and act.


What is active learning? 

Active learning is different from just learning; you should study carefully from various sources in parallel with no specific order at the same time when looking at the first pieces of knowledge of any new topic.

Then you start asking questions, with no order or fear, question everything and write them down early.

Later, review as many sources as possible, just after spending more time around the same subject; you can move vertically just after finding the best resources and master (authors) that you know will provide you with the best advice or insight when you start trying to answer to your questions, I also call this process indexing.

So, when indexing, go more comprehensive first and deeper later, it is necessary to use different levels of knowledge, segregate the definitions, sources, methods, and concepts into three groups, and only move on two the next one once you internalize the previous one.

Presenting a grand variety of information on the same subject of study allows your brain to make deeper connections quickly, so your brain can start making these neuronal connections and indexing what is relevant to it. (This works well for me; you should try it yourself; it may work for your brain too)

Repeat this process for an infinite amount of time until you have gained some in-depth knowledge.

In summary, this stage is for:

  1. Define questions to answer.
  2. Select critical definitions, concepts, structures, and ideas.
  3. Segregate depth of knowledge; each depth or level of understanding defines a different set of concepts and ideas to learn. Use iterations to determine what to learn at each depth level.
  4. Consume data and research. 
  5. Create memorization mnemonics (image associations, mental palace, mental maps, flashcards)
  6. Recalling (space repetition, speak out loud repetition, listening repetition, recording repetition, hands written repetition)
  7. Repeat until the next level of understanding.  

Stage #3. Delivering

Then, it would help if you delivered your understanding in any format you desire, a podcast, a video, or just a letter like this one; I can promise you that if you avoid being noisy at all costs and you challenge yourself to expose your ideas constantly, this more than anything else will help you improve the stickiness of that knowledge.

Delivering your insight to the world is another way of learning, possible only thanks to the internet. Still, if you are receptive, even the most inaccurate opinion will hold immense value because it will give you an edge when understanding if you are wrong or right. 

Helping you with no doubt at all to grow and mature your wisdom. 

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