There are many types of intelligence, from emotional to bodily-kinesthetic, linguistics, and beyond. There are also just as many learning techniques. Anyone who turns to the internet for tips on tricks on how to learn faster will find a staggering number of views on the subject. It’s trendy to want to learn more, better, and faster. It’s a hot topic and the experts have a lot to say.
If you want to learn faster but are tired of the hype, take note of these two common traits among individuals who learn faster.
1. They have growth mindsets and pursue knowledge with curiosity.
Growth mindset individuals believe in possibility, including their ability to grow. Aware that they can develop and change their intelligence, these learners are less likely to shy away from challenging things. Fixed mindset individuals, on the other hand, are more likely to avoid subjects in which they struggle. They also despair when they are overlooked for promotion or receive negative feedback from bosses or coworkers. When it comes to learning, those who develop growth mindsets have a clear advantage.
Inquisitiveness serves another important role in the making of a fast learner. Their curiosity leads them to new subjects. The more they learn, the greater their appetite for novelty. Sure, a fast learner might double as a walking encyclopedia when it comes to specialized topics like the RMS Titanic, but these knowledge seekers also pursue the unique, and the brain thrives on challenge. Giving the brain new material makes it sharper and faster, and therefore more sensitive to error. The brain is truly capable of change. Fast learners become increasingly faster with practice.
2. They are more sensitive to errors and then to learn from them.
Fast learners are able to deduce meaning from abstract or obscure information through reason. For example, they can approach a convoluted argument, identify the key points, and extrapolate the essential meaning. Individuals who excel at learning use deductive reasoning to problem solve, judge positions based on evidence, and manipulate information to develop new arguments. They synthesize new material by drawing connections to other pieces of knowledge they’ve acquired. The ability to infer also allows these learners to guess more quickly and accurately than average learners.
Growth mindset individuals also demonstrate differences in the brain from those with fixed mindsets. Numerous studies have shown that people learn more effectively when their brains exhibit two properties. These learners have larger error-related negativity (ERN) signals, suggesting a bigger initial response to mistakes. They also show more consistent error-related positivity (Pe) signals, which indicates that they are probably paying attention to the error and, therefore, trying to learn from it.
The Value of Hard Work
Arguably the most critical quality for quick learning is the willingness to work hard. You may be the next Einstein in terms of natural ability, but your talent is of little value if you don’t work diligently to improve your learning. Having some grit is one of the qualities that distinguishes amateurs from experts across all fields.
Having grit is like having a strong immune system. It prevents us from giving up when met with adversity. For example, if we make a mistake and misread the instructions on a test, having determination helps us learn from the experience. We’re much less likely to make the same mistake twice if we’ve paid attention and adjusted our behavior accordingly. People with sticktoitiveness are definitely members of the growth mindset camp. They persevere with their inquisitions because they have allowed themselves to make mistakes.
Fixed mindset, perfectionist people of the world beware! Hard-working and investigative thinkers are out-learning you in big ways. They believe in their ability to learn and defy the fear of failure. With greater feelings of self-worth, they remain committed to their interests. Growth mindset learners approach life with more creativity and are always up for a challenge.