Human beings are innately curious creatures. We’re hardwired to seek information and understanding.
But some people are more curious to learn than others. Elon Musk is one extreme example; he has always been a voracious reader and credits much of his success to reading.
Unfortunately, for others, learning and curiosity don’t come so naturally. Some people prefer to listen to music rather than listen to a podcast…or they would rather watch the latest Netflix series than read a book.
If that sounds like you, I’ve got some ideas on how you can change that. Here are the five steps to becoming more curious and making learning a part of your daily routine.
1. Set a Goal for Yourself
What do you want to learn? And when do you want to learn it by? Set a SMART goal for yourself.
Maybe you want to learn a lot of different things—and that’s okay (and great!). But it’s better to focus on one subject for a certain period of time (like one to three months) and really master that one thing—than to spread yourself too thin learning many different subjects at once.
So let’s say your goal is to learn how to code in six months time. To become fluent in code is like becoming fluent in another language—and perhaps even harder, as many say it’s a full-time job in and of itself. So figure out what you will need to do in order to achieve this goal and how much time per day you will have to devote to programming (doing a bit of research can give you an idea of this).
2. Figure Out How You Learn Best
Some people are more visual…other people are more auditory learners.
Determine how you learn and retain information best, whether it’s via podcasts, books, audiobooks, webinars, videos or whatever else. Not sure? Don’t worry; this might take a bit of trial and error to find out.
Whatever type of learner you are, physically writing down (and not typing) what you learn is an effective way to retain the information. If you prefer to type out your notes, just be sure that you review them afterwards (which you should do anyway) to make sure that you have really absorbed the information.
I’ll give you an example. For the past five years, I’ve been learning Portuguese. One little thing that has really helped me is carrying around a small notebook with me wherever I go and writing down any unfamiliar vocabulary and idioms as I learn them. I then go back regularly and review everything to make sure that I am actually retaining what I learn. That technique has helped me tremendously (I went from not speaking a word of Portuguese five years ago to now, being basically fluent).
And if I’m reading a non-fiction book, I like to highlight important passages. That way, I can go back to the book at any time and review its main takeaways, without having to reread the entire book.
3. Carve Out the Time
If you don’t set aside a specific time for learning, it’s easy to let the days go by and not learn anything. So make sure that you devote at least one hour per day to learning and practicing what you learn (if relevant).
Remember that the best (and some say, the only) way to learn is by doing. For instance, if you’re taking a marketing course, it’s not enough to just watch videos on how to create a landing page. You should also try creating a landing page yourself.
Or if you’re learning a new language, reading and watching videos isn’t enough. You need to practice writing out conjugations—and of course most importantly, speaking. So make sure that you carve out the time to both learn and practice what you learn.
The great thing about podcasts and audio books is that you can listen to them while on the go (like exercising or driving). The downside to learning this way is that you can’t write down the information as you learn it. You also run the risk of being distracted and not really taking in the information. If that’s the case, then find a quiet space where you can devote 100% of your attention to whatever you’re learning.
4. Turn Learning into a Habit
Sure, creating new habits requires intentionality and effort. But the end results will make it worth it. Because once learning becomes automatic—once it becomes a part of your daily routine—there will be no limits to what you can achieve.
5. Implement What You Learn
You want to know the difference between learning and growth? Growth is when you actively implement what you learn. You might be full of knowledge, but if you aren’t putting that knowledge into action, then how can you really be growing?
If you’re reading a book on customer service, but you don’t change anything about the way that you treat customers, then you might have learned but you haven’t really grown.
So…are you ready to start learning—and growing? I’ll give you a head start. Here are a few websites and podcasts that I recommend:
Marketing School (Podcast)
Perpetual Traffic (Podcast)
StoryBrand Marketing Workshop (Podcast)
How I Built This (Podcast)
Masters of Scale (Podcast)
Are there any learning resources or techniques that you recommend? If so, share them in the comments below.