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How to develop a learning lifestyle

In today’s world, change is the only constant.

Major disruption lies ahead in virtually every industry. It’s scary and exciting at the same time.

The average career consists of 80,000 hours. That gives you plenty of time to work on some of the most urgent global issues facing our generation.

(You might be surprised, as I was, that the issue of “positively shaping the development of artificial intelligence” is ranked at the top while extreme dangers of climate change are found at the bottom.)

What problem will you work on? How can you contribute?

You may think to yourself: “I don’t know what I can do.”

I’m here to tell you that you can probably do a lot more than you think.

All you need is a mindshift. 

What is mindshift?

This summer, I took a course called MindshiftIt’s a phenomenal resource, designed to help boost your career and life in today’s fast-paced learning environment.

Whatever your age or stage, Mindshift teaches you essentials, such as:

  • How to get the most out of online learning.
  • How to seek out and work with mentors.
  • The secrets to avoiding career ruts (and catastrophes) and general ruts in life.

You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more—far more—than you might have ever dreamed!

I urge you try the course for yourself (it’s free, unless you want a certificate). In this article, I share a few key points I learned.

Change IS possible

One of the most important skills in the 21st century is to develop a learning lifestyle.

There are three major ways to help you achieve this transformation:

  1. Learn more about your hidden capabilities and assets.
  2. Learn more about learning effectively.
  3. Learn more about matching your assets with the opportunities you face.

Let’s look at these areas in more depth.

1. Learn more about your hidden capabilities and assets.

Often, we are not aware of all our hidden talents because we take them for granted, or we don’t give them much credit. The hierarchy of education contributes to this false evaluation.

I studied drama in high school. Although I never became a full-time actor, the skills I learned have served me well in my current job as a marketer, where drama can be used in different ways to engage an audience.

The point? Look at all your different skills, experiences, and assets. They can be your most valuable resources. More on that later in the post.

2. Learn more about learning effectively.

A beginner’s mind is key to learning effectively, mainly because it keeps you motivated, curious and engaged.

Your environment also has a profound effect on your learning. Did you know that places with a higher ceiling make you more creative? So, the next time you want to brainstorm, visit a church!

If you need to stay more focused, go to a place with a low ceiling, like an archive or a library. You will pay closer attention to the details! Why is that so? It all comes down to how our brain works.

Our brain uses two different working modes: the focused versus the diffused mode.

In the focused mode, we’re working hard on solving a specific problem. It’s the definition of deep work.

Any distractions will put us off the task at hand since our brains can’t handle more than four “pieces” of information at a time. It takes a lot of energy to start over again!

The diffused mode is the opposite of the focused mode. Our mind can wander freely, which happens when we’re taking a shower or going for a walk. Needless to say, we often solve the hard problems when we’re in this mode, because our brain is making new neural connections.

The two modes complement each other well: knowing when to use them can improve your learning greatly.

3. Learn more about matching your assets with the opportunities you face.

Rather than becoming “the best at one thing”, you diversify. Having a talent stack can help you become more competitive in the marketplace.

The cartoonist and marketer Scott Adams shares his best career advice:

Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

Broaden your passions. What two or more things can you become very good at?

Find great mentors

Mentors come in two categories:

  1. Those who pump you up and energise you.
  2. Those who criticise and tolerate no excuses.

Value both types of mentors. You don’t need to have an offical mentor/mentee relationship. Many great mentors can be found in books, films, arts and music. They don’t have to be alive, or even “real”, as long as they offer valuable insights.

Case in point: Epicetetus, a Roman slave who was born 1,992 years ago, has a heck of a lot to teach you about the art of living. He falls into mentor category number two (much like modern-day Tony Robbins or Steven Pressfield), so be prepared for that.

A good mentor is simply someone whose habits and behaviours you wish to emulate. Who are your mentors?

Develop a learning lifestyle

Mindshift is all about developing a lifelong passion for learning.

You put too many unnecessary constraints on yourself and what you can do. Use different mental models (see this and this) to change your perspective and make a larger contribution.

What do you want to learn? What problems do you want to solve? Let us know in the comments!

Just remember, stay curious, have fun, and keep learning. Happy mindshift!

PS. If you’re stuck, check out this procrastination poster. It will help you move forward.

4 responses to “How to develop a learning lifestyle”

  1. Virginia Reeves Avatar
    Virginia Reeves

    Olle: Good points about focused and diffused thinking. Having a ‘beginners mind’ is good to remember when we take a look at even those things we’ve been doing a long time. A shift in perception or attitude towards it can enable us to broaden possibilities.

    1. Olle Lindholm Avatar

      Hi Virginia,

      Absolutely! Thanks for adding your thoughts to the piece.

      All the best,

  2. Rodrigo Avatar

    Great summary Ollie! Thanks! 🙂

    1. Olle Lindholm Avatar

      Glad you found it useful, Rodrigo!

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