7 Deadly Mindsets that Hold You Back from Learning Effectively

By | June 21, 2007
Learning

In this hyper-competitive global environment, there is no certainty. Only change is certainly there. An honors degree can no longer secure a high paying job for life. As a result, you are constantly going for courses, learning new stuff and upgrading your skills.

This is a fast-paced world after all. You are faced with revolutionary changes and there’s so much to learn. This article will show you some of the dangerous mindsets that hold you back from learning effectively.


1. I’m too old to learn
As you grow older, there is this tiny voice in your head saying, “You are getting old and your brain is getting ‘rusty’”.

It’s true that your brain cells are killed over the years. But look at Albert Einstein, scientists have proved that he had only tapped less than 1 % of his brain’s power. It’s not an excuse to say that you can’t learn because you are too old.

Exercising your brain is like exercising your muscles. When you train your muscles, it gets developed and becomes stronger. The more you do, the more satisfaction you’ll get from the results. This applies to learning too.

If you consistently train your brain to learn new things, you will learn things much faster.

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2. I know everything.
Perhaps you are successful; you have an honors degree or even a master degree. And you assumed that you have learnt everything you need to know.

You believed that you are right and everybody is wrong. You won’t listen to anyone except yourself. Eventually someone is going to be hot on your heels and surpass you sooner or later.

It’s only when you fail would you start to realize that you’ve got to learn again.

3. I’m not smart enough.
You lost your job and you are finding a new one. You have been in a specialized industry for several years. Now it’s time to re-learn from scratch.

You wanted to learn something new, but you are worried that you are not smart enough. And you keep putting it off.

Even before you fight a war, you have surrendered. By thinking negatively, you have lost half the war.
Although you may have started learning, but half way through, you feel that you are not smart enough and give up halfway.

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The truth is that to master a skill, there are many learning curves and obstacles to break through. Maybe you are just a few steps away from mastering the skill.
Think about it, won’t it be a waste to give up halfway?

4. There are many people who are smarter than me.
You are in a class full of young, talented and intelligent professionals. When you looked at the mirror, you felt you are inferior to them.

In terms of learning abilities, these people are more proficient and skillful than you are. You cannot help it but thinking negatively about yourself.

The truth is there is always somebody better than you are. And the only way you will have an edge is through endless and continuous learning. It is your battle, not a battle with others.

5. This is not for me.
I’m sure you have been very enthusiastic when you first picking up something new. You may hit dead ends occasionally but at the start, your enthusiasm has pulled it through.

After a while, you keep going nowhere. You are near the intermediate stage but you are somehow stuck and you can’t advance to the next stage. You saw your friends improving and you are on the plateau. All the fun, excitement and enthusiasm die off.

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Now, you are tired of learning and you want to give up. You said to yourself, “This is not for me”.
The truth is this will be a deadly habit that will hinder your success. Think about it, it’s just an excuse to escape from the fact that you are not confident about yourself and your learning abilities. If you give up learning because it’s not for you, then you will never master anything.

6. Not focus.
Some people have the tendency of learning many things at the same time. One moment they are reading a “how to invest” book, the other they are reading a “how to do ebay”.

If you find yourself distracted, maybe it’s time to focus.

Imagine you are multi tasking, doing many different things at one go – talking on the phone, watching television, doing your work on the laptop. Would you able to do it well?

I doubt so. My advice to you…

Stay focused.

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7. I can learn it another day.
You returned home from a tiring day of heavy workload, stressful working environment and even long hours of office hours.

You have already planned to read another chapter of your book. But you decided to put it off again. In fact, for the past week, you have procrastinated and delayed your lessons or classes.

After a month, you simply forget about it.

The fact is to learn effectively, you got to be disciplined. No matter how tired you are, you have to stick with your plans and deadlines.

Please share some of your learning obstacles and comments about learning effectively.

George Tee is the author of “Secrets Of Scoring ‘A’s” and founder of Learning Nest – Secretsofstudying.com . A few of his popular articles are 5 Hacks That Make Study Simple And Effective, How To Effectively Manage Your Time and How I Excel In My Exams And Emerge Among The Top 53 Students.

The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.

Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.

Here are some study tips to help get you started:

1. Use Flashcards

Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.

Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.

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To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.

One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.

Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.

As Tony Robbins says,

“Repetition is the mother of skill”.

2. Create the Right Environment

Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.

Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.

3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information

In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.

An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.

4. Listen to Music

Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.

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5. Rewrite Your Notes

This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.

Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.

To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.

6. Engage Your Emotions

Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.

Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.

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For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.

7. Make Associations

One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.

Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.

To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.

You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.

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Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)