Essentials For Success: Five Hours of Learning In a Week
Though there are many qualities that contribute to a person’s success, one thing that stands out is that successful people are always hungry for new and deeper knowledge. And to this end, they will always make time to learn, whether it is a new skill, discovery, ideology, or anything that satiates their never-ending curiosity.
In contrast, unsuccessful people can be characterized by a general apathy towards knowledge. Such people essentially have no interest in learning new things or improving themselves. And if you are a dreamer who is thinking of achieving success, then you should definitely consider spending about five hours a week to absorb new knowledge.
Why Spend Five Hours Per Week Learning New Things
You know what is common between Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet? In addition to being very successful, all three have a shared quality – they spend at least five hours per week to learn new things. So, why 5 hours a week?
Firstly, everyone is busy with their life that they hardly find enough time to sit and read. But 5 hours per week is something doable and practical. In fact, we can bet that most people will easily be able to assign 5 hours of their life each week to learning something new.
Secondly, 5 hours per week is considered sufficient enough for you to acquire knowledge and skills. In fact, Josh Kauffman, the author of the famous book ‘The Personal MBA’ estimates that it takes about 20 hours for an average person to learn something new.
So, considering 5 hours per week for a month that consists of four weeks, you can theoretically learn a new skill every month. Not on the deep end, but certainly something workable.
Tips For Mastering New Knowledge And Achieving Success
Once you decide to implement the five hours per week learning plan, you can follow the below tips to make it effective and achieve the best possible result from your learning process.
1. Plan The Timings
The first thing to do will be to plan out the learning schedule. Without setting a clear goal as to when you will learn, you are likely to fall prey to procrastination. As a result, you might keep postponing your learning, and may end up never making time for it.
It is to avoid such possibilities that you should set a clear time schedule. And the time you select must be the most appropriate of times when your mind is ready to absorb new ideas.
For example, suppose that you are busy with work and are only free Saturday evenings and Sundays. You might think of cranking an hour a day from Monday to Friday as your learning time.
But if you are always mentally exhausted from work, then the hour you spend on learning may not be effective since your mind may not absorb the new information completely. Do not do for the sake of doing. Focus, improve and get it right.
As such, it is better to schedule a five-hour session on Saturday evening, or split it into two sessions for Saturday and Sunday. This will ensure you only learn new things when your mind is fresh and ready to absorb ideas. And if you are troubled with procrastination, make sure you get rid of that habit for good.
If you have a tendency to put off and not commit even though you wish you could more, there is a tried-and-tested method to incorporate new habits. Suppose you want to start reading everyday, then you need to combine this with an existing routine. Like, do this after a regular routine habit like breakfast or lunch or work -the first thing after an everyday activity. This way, it is difficult to forget about this, and you’ll be able to cultivate a new habit in no time.
2. Decide What To Learn
The next thing to do is to have a clear plan as to what it is you wish to learn. Ideally, it should relate to something that can help you acquire a new skill and develop your professional as well as personal life. However, you should not shy away from trying to learn things which are completely unrelated.
Draw up a list of subjects you wish to explore, find out the best sources of information for the subjects, and then come up with a learning plan that details how you will go about learning according to the time schedule.
For example, imagine you work as a sales consultant at a stock market trading company. For a particular month, you can focus on learning about human psychology, especially topics that cover a person’s psyche when evaluating a profitable opportunity.
Find good sources on the topic, arrange those sources, and divide them into weekly portions that you can finish in 5 hours each week. In addition, you can also throw in a two hour documentary about Japanese Jujitsu, if you find it interesting.
3. Think About What You Learned
Once you have learned a subject matter, take a few hours to reflect on what you just learned. Just mugging up information won’t make you smart. Only when you understand what you learn can you truly claim to have learned about something. And a good way to do this will be to associate what you have learned to real-life situations.
For example, suppose that you spent your entire learning time for the week reading up on the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Now, think about the possibilities of what you have learned. If you are a teacher, look at how the AI development is going to affect the future of education.
And while thinking about it, you might come to realize that children are currently taught in an inefficient way. And by using AI, the children can be taught the same subject matter in a way that makes them comprehend it much better.
As a result of such a thought process, you may come up with a opportunity you hadn’t thought before. And if you know a few friends who are well versed in coding, you might even venture out to make your AI-driven education concept a reality.
Such things only happen to those who spend the time to learn and reflect on new ideas. If you had remained content with your teaching job, focusing on subjects alone, then you will never have come up with an innovative concept. It is your exposure to new knowledge and your reflection on it that gives rise to new ideas.
4. Practice What You Learn
Once you have acquired knowledge and reflected upon it, it is time to put it into practice. Otherwise, the knowledge will be of no use to you (or others). If you wish to achieve success, then knowledge alone is insufficient. You will have to act on that knowledge at appropriate times.
For example, suppose that you are a marketing manager of a company who is often overloaded with work and has little to no time for spending some time alone. And imagine that you suddenly got interested in chess and spent a couple of weeks learning and researching it.
Now, what use is your knowledge of chess if you don’t utilize it by practicing it with others? So, try to play a few games with your friends. And if you don’t have friends interested in the game, try online.
Maybe after a month or two of constant playing, you might feel as if you are good at the game. And after a year or two, your skill might have improved considerably. This can even lead to you participating in international competitions. All this is possible if you practice what you have learned.
5. Let Others Know
You will also have to let other people know about your newly acquired knowledge and skills. Otherwise, how can you use it to be successful?
Suppose that you are a lead coder at a web design company, specializing mostly in HTML and CSS languages. The company hired you looking at your skill set alone. As such, they can only judge you by your knowledge in HTML and CSS.
This can not only boost your earnings but also your position in the company. In an unstable job market, individuals with the more number of talents are likely to be retained.
6. Teach Others The Things You Learn
Finally, don’t keep your knowledge to yourself. If anyone is interested in learning from you, consider teaching them everything you know. This has two benefits. Firstly, the people who learn from you will respect you. Secondly, the more you share your knowledge, the better your understanding of it will be.
For example, imagine that you are a part of a sales team at a business organization that has not fully modernized itself. And that you have spent the last month learning more about SWOT analysis. After gaining this new knowledge and applying it, you may have increased your sales performance.
And when that happens, be sure to share your newfound knowledge of SWOT analysis and its sales applications with the rest of the team, including your supervisor. This can dramatically change how others view you. And in addition, other members can also chip in with their ideas and suggestions that might end up improving your sales performance even more.
So, be sure to never remain cooped up in your own world. Instead, learn as much as you can about the things you find interesting. And slowly but surely, you will find that your life's on the sure-shot path to success.