Learning never stops until the day you die.
It may sound daunting to some people, but it is a fact that life never paused for anyone and it’ll force you to move whether you want to or not, and again, so does learning. Even if you reach the old age, you’ll surely find new things to discover. However, knowing how to apply what you have learned doesn’t always come as easily as learning them.
You have to admit that learning new things, especially about things you enjoy, is actually fun isn’t it? But, applying what we learn isn’t always so glamorous. What people fear the most about applying what they learn is failing.
If you’re one of those people who fears failure, learning, and even trying, then here’s a few things to think about whenever you learned something new and how to apply what you have learned:
Figure Out Your Why
If you want to learn something, think about the reason why do you even want to learn it. Is it something you want to do? Is it something you need to learn? Or is it something that you simply want to learn because it looks fun? No matter what your motivation is: keep it in mind. It will be the drive to keep you going on. It sounds so simple and yet, when you lost your way, just remember your “why’s” and it will take you back to the right path towards your goal. Knowing your why provides you with a direction. For example, I want to learn Taekwondo because I want to be a Gold Medal Olympic Champion.
A big goal yet it’s why is so simple. But that’s a perfectly reasonable why. Sometimes, life and learning do start from something as simple as that.
Realize the Benefits of Change
Asides from failing, what people fear most in learning is the changes it will inevitably bring along with it. Change is admittedly something to be feared, because you never really know if it’s a good kind-of change or a bad kind- of change until you’re thrust in the middle of said change and is forced to choose between crossroads. But that’s the thing with change, it forces you to choose one path, it lets you learn from the path you had chosen and then it wants you to apply what you have learned in your life from henceforth. It’s a good thing, because it is a proof that your life is moving forward and you are not stagnant. If change brought you success then congratulations for learning something beneficial to you, if change brought you failure then I also extend my congratulations to you for learning something beneficial, namely, things that you should have done and things you wouldn’t do again.
Whatever outcome a change might bring to your life, it is undoubtedly something that you can and you must turn into an opportunity to learn.
Realize the Cost of Not Changing
People who are stagnant in life feel pretty satisfied in their lives because they believe they have achieved stability. Yet they haven’t. It’s just a false sense of security given to them because they are not moving on with their lives. Opportunities came and pass them by because they never took it ̶ too afraid of change, too afraid of living life to the fullest. The problem with not changing in your life is that you get left behind. You can miss your chances to achieve a better life, you can miss your chances to experience failure and learn, you can miss your chances to move forward with your life, unlike many of those around you.
Doesn’t it feel weird when everyone you know have achieved heights you never could because you were too afraid to try and you’re still stuck where they all began? Learning to apply what you have learned is the beginning of the end of that cycle and those feelings.
Understand the Subject Well Enough to Apply It
When you learn something, especially the ones with real- life applications, it is not enough to just passively listen. You need to understand it, even the theory or concept behind so you will be able to do it. Execution of your learning: that’s what applying what you learn is all about. Every knowledge you earn will come of use to you someday in one way or another, the question is whether you’ll be able use it. This is why you need to listen when someone is teaching you, and this is also why you need to keep reading and learning by yourself because you need to understand something well enough in order to apply it in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help when you’re having trouble comprehending something, it is for your benefit that you fully grasp what is it that you are learning.
Don’t Just Learn It Once
Maybe you’re thinking that learning stops once you understand its concept and applied it practically maybe once or twice. No. The essence of learning lies in the multiple application of it. With multiple practice comes mastery, and then even if you have achieved mastery, continue practicing it for maintenance. Take your time to truly learn something, don’t rush. Knowing how to apply what you have learned is an art in itself, which may not come easy at first, but it will begin to come naturally once you have practiced it enough. Take your time to learn something that pushes your limits, and to learn something that challenges you to grow into more than what you thought you could be. Then, take your time learning it again and again.
Mindset – Be Conscious of Your Inner Monologue
Monitor changes in your attitude about what you are learning. Are you still motivated to learn? Are you still learning with the same attitude and enthusiasm when you started? Do you still see yourself reaching that goal you had in mind? Take a breather and reflect on yourself. Have you lost your way and motivation? Do you still want to keep going? When you find yourself suddenly without any direction, ask yourself these questions and answer them. It’s important that you find the answers for yourself since it will dictate which direction you should go: do you continue moving forward or do you stop here and try another thing?
Remember, you started learning something because you had a goal in mind. Remember your “why’s.” Change your mindset into something positive, tell yourself every day, “I can do it!”
Identify Your Triggers
Recognize the things that stops you from moving. Things that may give you comfort but are actually not beneficial to you in the long run. That’s how triggers work, it fuels your habit that you don’t recognize as something harmful to you. For example, a person feels lonely, so they eat to comfort themselves. At first, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a bit of food to make oneself feel good. But how frequent does this person feels lonely? Let’s say it is very frequent and thus it led to him becoming fat overtime.
This is why identifying your triggers and having a positive mindset is good. When you know what triggers you, you can plan ahead of time on how to deal with them. Taking from the example above, whenever a person feels lonely he could go instead to the gym, he doesn’t need to socialize but being surrounded by other people may give him the companionship he seeks, or he could go and listen to music or read a book as it is proven to lessen the feelings of loneliness, or he could go and meet up with his family and friends. Avoid your triggers if you can, and learn to deal with them in a productive and healthy way if you can’t.
Set Actionable Metrics for Measuring Progress
Once you have learned something, the next thing you should do is plan on how to apply what you have learned. This plan should include your short- and long-term goals. Your short-term goals should be things you can easily achieve or within reach immediately. Achieving your short-term goals will give you a sense of accomplishment that will keep you going until you reach your long- term goals ̶ it will keep you motivated over time. Short term goals will also help you to focus on one thing at a time, making it easier for you to be less prone to distractions from your goals.
Monitor Your Progress & Be Honest with Yourself
Take time and think back on how much progress you have achieved from where you started. Be honest and ask yourself, ‘Am I really progressing forward or am I going nowhere?’ and ‘Have I really applied what I have learned correctly?’ Think about the cost and effort you have spent so far, are they worth it or have they been gone to waste? If all of the answers to these things are negative then reflect on what might you have been doing wrong and make a plan on how to deal with it. At times, admit to yourself that maybe all that you have been doing so far is pointless. Quit and take a break, and then start all over again if you must. Rest, but never give up.
Don’t Fear Failing, Rather Fail Often
What most people don’t realize is that failing doesn’t mean you didn’t succeed; failing is a part of success. Failing is a natural part of life that happens to everyone, even those successful people you admire had and still experience failure.
Sometimes, it’s not even the act of failing itself that we fear, its what people says about us when we fail. Dove Cameron’s recent tweet is apt for this as a reminder, “When doing anything at all: all that matters is your own approval, impressing yourself. We must divorce ourselves from public perception and societal reward systems if we are going to be consistently happy and feel safe expressing ourselves…”
Another reason why you shouldn’t fear failure is because it’s just another chance for us to try again, but this time with better judgement, a new perspective and a renewed resolved. John C. Maxwell once said, “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”
This may sound like a repeat of an earlier point but the essence is different. Earlier, when we say don’t just learn it once, we’re just telling you to practice it. But how do you practice? The answer is simple: go out to the world and try. As long as you are able to apply what you have learned, whether it ended up in failure or success, that’s practice. Go and commit mistakes, and practice again and again until you finally did it. Even athletes don’t master their skills immediately, it took them immense time of practice to finally be good at what they do.
Focus on Forming New Habits
Habits reflects who you are and is the foundation of your life. Identify and eliminate which habits are bad for you and causes you to be unproductive, and instead develop new good ones that will help you grow. If you want to be healthy and you made it your habit to run every morning, then it will certainly reflect in your good health. Setting up a daily short- term goal every day until you made it into a habit is another way to effectively apply what you have learned. It’s a good way to start when you want to achieve something greater.
When learning how to apply what you have learned, form a set of guidelines for how long it will take. Additionally, journal your habit forming progress. This way, you know how you feel about it all along the way.
Take responsibility of your actions. Every single day you’ll have a choice: Do I move and do something productive today or do I just laze around? Remember that nothing will happen if you don’t take any action, your goal won’t automatically fall into your lap if you don’t work hard for it. Every choice we make and action we take will lead to a sequence of events that we must take accountability for because it is our choice to act on it. No one else should cover for your mistakes, earn it and make it right. No one else will make your dream come true for you, work for it yourself.
Teach What You Are Learning
Teaching is another great way to apply what you learn. You cannot teach something after all if you don’t have any understanding, knowledge, and mastery over a subject. By sharing your knowledge and experiences to other people, not only you are helping them but you can also measure yourself on how much have you learned to be able to confidently teach it to others. It is also a test on yourself to see if you really have learned something to the point that you can articulate or demonstrate it in your own way.
Learn from A Mentor
If you want to learn something, isn’t it natural that you seek a mentor who can teach you? You can even be picky and choose someone whom you know have mastery over what you want to learn and whom you know that you can learn a lot from. Everyone wants what’s the best for them, and so should you choose what’s the best for you. Don’t be afraid to seek out help, to ask questions, and to learn from them as much as you can. Your mentor may have the answers that you seek, a fresh course of plan and opportunities that you never knew of, and words that you need to hear.
The moment you were born into this world and out of your mother’s womb, your body has learned to adapt to the environment. As you grow older, experiences and failure will teach you to apply what you learn from them. As a famous quote goes, “Never stop learning, because life will never stop teaching.”