Recently I learned why Western societies became the dominant force since the industrial revolution. I also found out that charisma consists out of 3 basic traits. Hawking radiation is responsible for limiting black hole growth. And leaders often have the average character traits of a group.
I learned all of this, without needing any extra time!
I didn’t attend a class, or opened a new book .
Only maximized my time. By using what little I have for multiple purposes.
Well a few years ago, I learned that most successful people learn during their commute.
Since I wasn’t successful (yet) and have a commute, I connected the dots. You can learn more, without losing anytime! So start diving into the interwebs, scrolled around, download podcasts and audiobooks. And start enjoying a knowledge packed ride to college/work/wherever.
At first, it might feel like a drag. But after a while you somehow love to learn again. A feeling that might be obliterated by the mind numbing nature of school. Educating yourself can be a positive addiction, instead of a chore. Learning is your new dopamine snack.
So feel like you waste time in traffic? Or during any other moment? Want to be able to talk about a wide range of subject? Try using one of these tactics I use to learn more. So you can start using your time way more effectively. Gaining knowledge while going from A to B. This is how I do it:
Instead of munching my Captain Crunch down and watching cartoons. I use breakfast time to see a lecture on CrashCourse or TED. As new insights flood in, my morning blues fades. I especially love TED. As it hosts the vanguard in a wide spectrum of subjects. This way I am always up to date with global developments. Getting insights on technological advancements before they become breaking news.
Commuting. This used to feel like my biggest waste of time. But there is no way around it. So now I commute while listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I love to walk out of my apartment, plug in Tim Ferris or a Harvard Lecture and be a bit wiser before arriving at work. Even after a day of hard work and being mentally wasted, it still feels refreshing to delve into a new subject.
Cooking up knowledge
I love to cook dinner for myself, my girlfriend and my roommates. But while chopping onions or frying falafel, I often get a bit distracted. Great time to study more! Since it usually has been a long day, I repeat previous lectures or enjoy something lighthearted. A great way to always have a conversation subject at dinner!
A great way to always have a conversation subject at dinner!
An eye opener for me was the concept Flow. Our mind has a certain amount of attention capacity. Mihaly Csikszentmilhayi explains in his book Flow how it works.
Depending on how challenging a task is the more attention capacity it requires. When we use almost all of our attention capacity we go in a state of flow. Leaving us satisfied and energized during and after an endeavor. Actually drowning out your self-conscious thinking due to concentration.
Using too little capacity makes us feel bored – while having to use too much will make us feel anxious and stressed. You experience while doing something dull, your mind starts wondering. Or the stress of trying to multitask at work.
The image above shows a graph from the book. On the x-axis, there is skill-level and challenge-level on the y-axis. Together they relate to how much attention capacity you use. A1 shows you at an activity with low skills and a low challenge. But well adjusted so you experience flow. A4 is you after training in that area, being able to cope with more sophisticated challenges.
A2 is a typical case of boredom, where your skills exceed your challenge. Like going to kindergarten right now. As for A3 is a high-level challenge compared to the limited skill you have. Like sparring with Stephen Hawking about black hole physics for example.
So if you use most of your attention capacity you will experience flow, times goes by faster. Afterwards you feel invigorated. This is why, if I have to do some mindless tasks, I turn on a podcast. For example, if I have to do some simple CAD drawings, I start listening. This is going from A2 to A4 in the graph. I learn and work faster.
But as soon as tasks are too challenging, extra activities like audiobooks will only distract you. Making you anxious and stressed. Going from A1 to A3. Then you are trying to work well over your attention capacity. (That was the brief recap of a 200+ page book, interested? Go read the book fool!)
So interested in learning more? Here are some great resources for feeding your neural lobes:
So I hope this inspires you to use your time more productive. Think of the multitude of subjects that are interesting. Start slow and develop the awesome yearning for an eclectic wisdom. It is a great way to make positive progress in life. And always have something to talk about.
So go out and find your moment you can be productive and learn.
Let me know, what do you want to learn more about?