Essential Ritual #4: Learning

This article is in a series of articles about the ‘system’ of daily rituals, habits and hacks you that will completely transform your days. When you live by this 456 system you will find that obstacles and setbacks will not trip you up. You will find that on the days where motivation abandons you, you will still stay on track.

In case you missed the 3 previous essential daily rituals here are the links. It’s a good idea to go back and read them as a refresher anyway.

Essential Ritual #2: Journaling

Essential Ritual #2: Movement

Essential Ritual #3: Meditation

But this whole series started with this article that so many people absolutely loved: Is Motivation Destroying Your Identity

In today’s article I will share with you:

  • Why continuous learning is important to your success?
  • How and when to infuse learning into your day?
  • What books and podcasts should you learn from?
  • Who or what are the best teachers on earth?

Why Learning Is Important

Learning is how we grow personally and professionally. It is the sixth most important area in our lives and the foundation upon which A Higher Branch Success Academy has been established. It is the essence of our philosophy of ‘climbing higher’ in life and the quest for constant upgrade and improvement in all eight areas of our life.

Without learning we stagnate in those areas. We do the same things every day because we do not know any better. Learning empowers us to try new things and reach for new goals and dreams. All the latest brain research also shows that continuous learning and looking after your brain is good for our health and longevity.

The 3 mistakes we make when it comes to learning are as follows:

  1. We stop learning after we finish school and/or university.
  2. We only continue to learn about our job and subject matter expertise. True learning is a lifelong adventure where you continuously learn about each of the eight areas of life.
  3. We learn from the wrong sources. We live in an era of information overload and making sense of this information is difficult when digested in an unstructured way. The internet is also filled with information designed to promote one fad over another; one diet over another; one lifestyle over another; one product over another.

When Should You Learn Daily?

Something becomes a ritual when you do it at the same time every day or on cue. Learning should not be done as part of your morning and nightly rituals. These times are reserved for movement, meditation and journaling for the reasons previously discussed in those articles.

Welcome to Commute College. Most of us commute to and from work daily. This is the perfect time to plug in, listen and learn. I have learned to love traffic and sometimes I will arrive at work only to stay in the car for a few more minutes to listen to a riveting podcast or book. On weekends I also plug in whilst I am jogging or hiking.

Learning should be done whenever you have ‘dead’ time. Boredom should be your cue to read, listen and learn. In the car, on a plane, train or bus or whenever you having ‘nothing to do’. You need to resist the temptation to drift to mindless entertainment on radio, television, and social media. You need to be in conscious control with what you let into your brain.

This is what the highest of achievers do. Learning is their daily ritual. My first mentor and supervising partner in a law firm taught me this lesson in 1990 when he would hand me ‘cassette tapes’ to listen to in the car on the latest in property and finance law. This helped me become an expert. I simply applied this ritual to all other areas of my life. So I started to  listen to cassettes on health, fitness, relationships, and all 8 areas of my life.

What Should You Learn? Podcasts and Books…

You should be seeking books and podcasts about all 8 areas of your life and not just one area of interest (typically health). This is a problem in itself. I know some people who become obsessed about one area and start to neglect other parts of their life, especially relationships. It is important that you spread the learning equally among all areas.

We are so fortunate to live in an era where we have so much to read, listen and watch. We not only have so many books written by pioneering minds, but we also have Audible, we have Podcasts and we have YouTube. But we need to be discerning and distinguish between entertainment and information.

Two decades ago the challenge was the lack of information and lack of scientific research. Today the challenge is to sift through all the overwhelming and often conflicting information. These are the podcasts I recommend. They are all also on YouTube.

  1. Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik
  2. Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu
  3. The Joe Rogan Experience with Joe Rogan
  4. Found my Fitness with Dr Rhonda Patrick

I recommend these podcasts the hosts are caring, knowledgeable, authentic and share information generously with no strings attached. They rarely sell you anything. They also interview experts, researchers and actual practitioners across the 8 areas of life.

Is JIM KWIK The Best Teacher on Earth?

The standout and foremost world-renowned expert on the super power of learning is Jim Kwik. He is a world expert in memory improvement and optimal brain performance. I attended one of Jim’s workshops and implement his brain training methods and let me tell you it is unbelievably effective. It has helped me think smarter and faster in meetings. He is also one of the humblest people I have ever met. He has worked with actors on the biggest Hollywood blockbusters, top global organisations and CEO’s that includes Harvard, Virgin, Nike and GE. His personal story is also compelling.

One of the principles I learned from Jim Kwik is that your own curiosity is the best teacher on earth. If self-awareness is a great teacher of all things internal, then curiosity is the greatest teacher of all things external.

Applying Curiosity to Information

So, it is important when you read or listen to books and podcasts that you apply a curiosity mindset. Are you accepting everyday information as it is or are you adding to it or contradicting it with your curiosity? This means having your own opinion and questioning everything you learn. Do this by asking yourself: ‘Yes AND …’ or the ‘Yes BUT …’ principles. To apply these principles, we must let our curiosity break through our fear barrier. We all have this curiosity inside of us as children but over the years fear tends to keep it locked away. Trust that curiosity. Unleash it. You will find behind every curious thought is the potential to discover your own wisdom on what you read. It is that curiosity that leads to genius or a genius idea.

Applying Curiosity to People

There is also another huge area of knowledge, apart from books, where we can learn from – people. This is the fastest way to acquire knowledge. Therefore, we must master the skill of listening with undivided attention. We can never know everything in life but by listening to others we can learn from their experience and that accelerates our learning.

Listening is a dying art. Many people overindulge in constant talking that they go through life never really learning from others. I was once sitting in a café and overheard a conversation between a boss and what looked like her protégé. She said to him, ‘We have two ears and only one mouth. We must use those two faculties in that proportion. We must listen to our customers twice as much as we talk.’ Very good advice, I thought.

But my advice is that the people you must listen to first come from the 8 areas of life, in the following order:

  • Your partner who often knows you best
  • Your mother, father or grandparents. They have experience and perspective
  • Your work mentors, colleagues and customers
  • Your closest friends

But as always you need to filter any knowledge from these sources by using your own curiosity and asking the two questions above. This does not make you a contrarian. This make you progressive where you build on wisdom from others to create what’s right for you.

………….

This completes our series on the 4 Daily Rituals. Next Week we will start on the 5 Daily habits you need to program into your life.

Before I leave you, I’d like to share….

Something Personal

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book A Higher Branch called The Tree of Learning. It was a book that I consider my magnum opus. I have written 3 more books since then but I still consider this my finest and most instructive. It was dedicated to my grandmother Rose whose mulberry tree was the first thing I learned to climb in life and written as a guide for my 3 now grown-up children.

Epilogue to Chapter 3:

 “What the old man taught me about the Tree of Learning left a deep impression on me throughout my years as a student. It empowered me to look at school objectively, only applying the lessons that were relevant.

Just as the old man predicted, school made me think that learning was all about attaining good grades and getting a good job. I was never taught what I wanted to learn, but what the curriculum outlined. Had I been given the freedom to choose my learning, I would have embraced it. Instead, I expressed my defiance by doing the bare minimum in subjects I had no talent for or interest in.

I took the old man’s advice and taught myself about all areas of life. I studied books on health, love, family, work, friendship, wealth and charity. There were not that many at the time, but the ones I did find were insightful books by pioneering minds. After many years of private learning I began to discover my own ideas on how to live and express my talents. It was through these ideas that I developed self-awareness. They led me to many opportunities that I seized. What I Iearned privately became the real reason for my achievements, personally and professionally. Learning to climb to a higher branch in all Eight Trees taught me to be a healthier person, a loving partner, a supportive father, a caring brother, a fun friend, an inspirational leader, a visionary entrepreneur and an empathetic, charitable member of society.”