One thing I’ve valued in my adult life is learning new things. I think learning new things, increasing my intelligence is one way I can lead a better, happier life. Plus, knowing different things may help grow your career (being able to apply different concepts to current problems). I think, being able to learn new things and apply them to our lives pays off in our personal and professional lives.
Habits to help us become smarter
Change starts in the mind
Read, read, and comprehend. I like to read but I got into the habit of reading and letting my mind wander. There was no real point in reading when I wasn’t comprehending what the author is telling me. I was wasting my time and had no new tools to use in life. I had to snap out of that habit.
Now I read with a purpose. I read wanting to know what the author is telling me and why some things are more important than others. Reading and comprehending is the key to increasing knowledge. You can look online for people who read a book a week, and that’s great for them. If you can do it and comprehend it then go for it. That’s not me. I can do 2 books a month but I comprehend the information and pick what to use to improve my life.
We create a reality around things we think are true, even if they aren’t. This is hard to do but we have to challenge what we believe is true. We must remove the cognitive distortions that hold us back. I failed Pharmacy School but that doesn’t mean I’ll fail all things; though it felt like it at the time, I knew it wasn’t true.
Create mental inertia
Use inertia to your advantage. I get lazy sometimes. There days where I don’t want to write or read, workout, or do anything. It’s easy to stay in the mode of thinking. The important thing is to get out of it and be consistent. Having a routine helps break this and using this trend of doing something helps keep us motivated to do more.
Life is full of examples of this. Did you get into debt? How did that happen? Most likely it was over time and not all at once. Did you gain weight, I did. How did that happen to me? It was over time from not watching what I eat and not working out. Inertia was working when those negative outcomes because I kept perpetuating them.
Keep mentally sharp
This habit is like the reading habit but a little different. I’ll give you an example. I decided to make my own window screens. I went to the hardware store, got the kit and the hacksaw and measured out the windows. I had to cut the aluminum screen frame, do you know how hard it is to cut the frame using a dull blade? It takes a while.
That example applies to keeping our skills sharp. It’s easier and more productive to have a sharp blade than a dull one, the same goes for the mind. A sharp mind that can evaluate situations and plan outcomes serves us better than the alternative, having outcomes decided for us.
Look at your history
Sometimes I look at my past mistakes and harshly judge myself against them. I’ll think of the regrets from failing and what my life would be like if I didn’t fail out of Pharmacy School. I know it’s not a healthy way to look at failures but here are some ways to change our perspectives on failures.
- What I do now, and encourage you to do, is to look at your failures and think:
- Am I still making these mistakes that lead to up that failure?
- What are the common mistakes I make when working on a task?
- What have I learned from my mistakes?
- Are my mistakes the same mistakes as others? If so, what did they do to overcome them?
I used to beat myself up for making mistakes, I don’t anymore but what I don’t like doing is repeating the same mistakes. Asking myself the questions above helps me not make the same mistakes.
I keep a bullet journal for daily and monthly goals. In the morning I plan my daily goals against my monthly goals and in the evening I check what was completed. This helps me assign time to read and learn new things that can help improve my personal and professional lives.