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Powerfully influence yourself to reach your learning goals.

Growth mindset=love of learning + resilience. However, we need to acknowledge that we have limited cognitive bandwidth and time to process all the information out there. We must protect ourselves from getting deranged and going down a rabbit hole.Today we will explore how we can powerfully influence ourselves to reach our learning goals.

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Since little Noah arrived I have been researching ways to enable him to develop a growth mindset.

Growth mindset = love of learning + resilience

Today, let’s explore learning. We’ll do resilience the next time I write to you.

I am now on an endless journey of ‘learning to be a mom’. When it comes to learning how to best encourage Noah’s curiosity, I am overwhelmed with options, opinions, and obligations that surround me. The market is flooded with brain-stimulating foods, products, and techniques. The glut of information on this topic makes it difficult to distinguish between useful and useless information.

This is true to any form of learning. Learning to meditate, learning to market a product, learning to code, learning to cook etc. There’s so much information out there. The information flow into our brains and the complexity of this information exceed our processing capacity. To become better learners we must equip ourselves with the right learning strategies.

Take my example of ‘learning to be a mom’. I acknowledge that I have limited cognitive bandwidth and time to process all the information out there. I have to protect myself from getting deranged and going down a rabbit hole.

On how to cope with information overload.

1. Screen the source – I try and decipher the intention of the information provider by asking the question ‘why’. e.g. Why is this person giving me his/her opinion on parenting?. Once I get that answer, I further ask ‘why’ 5 times to get an approximation of the intention. It’s an adaptation of an iterative interrogative technique I frequently use to find problem-solution fit when working with startups.

2. Limit the search- Set a time for searching and deciding. This comes in handy especially when I am on Google or parenting related digital platforms with infinite scrolling. It’s so easy for me to get derailed from my intended search query.

3. Become selective- Entertain opinions that are credible, options that are trustworthy and obligations that are priority. Cleverly choose what or from whom to learn.

So that’s a bit on choosing your learning source.

On how to reach the desired learning outcome.

Signed up to Duolingo or a new language learning app and then gave up?
Enrolled to an online coding course and your dashboard says only 40% complete?
Started a journaling practice but write sporadically?

Wanting to learn something new is one thing. Actually doing it is a challenge.

I came across this research paper by Peter Bergman from Colombia University. He explores how psychological and informational barriers impedes parent’s ability to engage with their children in ways to improve their educational outcome. He dissects how our behaviours are skewed towards having immediate returns than persevering towards long-term benefits.

When it comes to parents actively helping children improve educational outcomes he recommends timely and actionable interventions by stakeholders in education. This suggestion can be adapted to any of us to working towards achieving the desired learning outcome.

When it comes to our learning, we are both, stakeholders and learners. We need to see that we create timely and actionable interventions that nudge us towards our learning goals.

Timely interventions:
Having reminders, triggers, notifications helps us to be disciplined with our learning. But that’s not it. We should also look to have interventions post the learning activity. Think of ways to know what’s next via updates, track progress and celebrate milestones.

Actionable interventions:
One way of doing it is making the learning process simple, clear and accessible. Having some form of accountability is another way of doing it. For instance, a cohort-based learning set up or assigning yourself an accountability buddy or having study dates.

In my case, I am trying to learn Spanish. My teacher sends me a reminder earlier during the day with a link to login. Once I am done with class it’s easy to forget about it. So I try to stay immersed in it by allotting time to converse in Spanish with a friend (who is also new to the language). It’s time-bound and I don’t want to let her down so I have to do it. I watch ~30 minutes of Spanish serials on Netflix a day. These simple interventions make learning actionable.

Here’s another example from our labs. To help people learn to effectively practice Reflective Journaling, we created timely and actionable interventions. We designed Restory to be super simple and easily accessible. We intentionally modified it to be an email masterclass for 7 days. This way it’s not overwhelming, it’s right there in people’s inboxes as reminders and they can access it when they have the time. The free Notion template that comes with it has a basic dashboard which is more like a celebratory space for every challenge completed. The interactive workshop will help the people who sign-up to have some form of accountability.

So that’s it for today. I hope this helps you with your learning goals in the future.


Tiny tips

1. Timely Interventions

Having reminders, triggers, notifications helps us to be disciplined with our learning.

2. Actionable Interventions

Making the learning process simple, clear and accessible. Having some form of accountability is another way of doing it.

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