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The Four Keys to Learning Anything

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”

-Leonardo Da Vinci


Leo Babauta, author of ‘Zen Life’ and an avid learner, gives us four obstacles we may be faced with while learning, and how to overcome in order to live our best life.



Becoming Overwhelmed


The more you learn, the more you see there is to learn.’ This can be frustrating and Leo compares this feeling to exploring caverns. As you’re exploring you realize how immense the caverns are, and that there are larger, more immense caverns than the one you’re exploring.



Failure Feels bad.


While learning languages, physical skills, or academic subjects – you will fail, and fail A LOT. This doesn’t feel good. But if you don’t fail, are you really learning?



Feels like treading water.


You read, you practice, you memorize – but you don’t feel like you are improving. You may feel as though you are getting nowhere in your learning.



Feeling of uncertainty.


When learning something new, there is always uncertainty. You don’t understand, you forget, or you think you’ve got it down pat but it turns out you don’t. This can cause many people to give up their goals.




We covered the obstacles, now lets tackle them.


Small Focuses.


One step at a time. Focus on the ground in front of you, not the ‘immense caverns’ ahead. Taking a goal or a task day by day and in small steps will allow you to conquer small goals that will eventually lead you to conquer the larger ones.



Flip Failure on its Head.


Every mistake and failure is a lesson. We must test something numerous times to make sure it works. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Learn from your failures and it will lead you to success.



Find Enjoyment in the Process.


Don’t rush the process of learning. We are impatient by nature and forget to relish in the small things and rarely enjoy the opportunity to ‘be in the moment.’ Slow down and focus on where you are and how far you have come, not how long it took you to get there or what still lies ahead.



Learn to Relish Uncertainty.


Uncertainty can be enjoyed if we think of it as play. If we think of it as creation, learning, exploration, curiosity, finding out, experimenting, openness and newness. It’s courage.’ – Leo Babauta



Phil Randazzo


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