If you’re a high school student reading this, you’re probably fairly learned-out. You’re intensely studying 6-7 subjects at high levels, likely pretty competitively. You barely have enough time or energy left at the end of the day to study what you’re required to, let alone your own pursuits.
It’s easy to get into that mindset – that you need to focus all of your attention on learning subjects for school. I know a lot of students who are highly successful that do this. They put all of their time and energy into learning each school subject, and maybe do a sport or something outside of school, but that’s really all they do. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t want anyone thinking that’s the only option.
Recently, I’ve been exposed to an entirely new wealth of knowledge. By joining the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, I’ve been exposed to insurance agents, accountants, and business owners of all sorts (food, apparel, real estate, you name it). I can tell you that I’ve learned more valuable information in my 3-hour per week sessions at YEA! than I’ve learned in AP Physics all year. I have devoted myself to learning about business and what I need to do to succeed as a young entrepreneur. By actively pursuing knowledge in the field I care about, I feel much more confident about where I’m headed and I am more enthusiastic about that than most of my classes.
But, it’s not only formal learning taught by people that’s valuable. There are so many ways and resources to learn – in fact, you’re on one of the ways right now. It’s amazing how much you can learn if you find the right resource.
Right now, I’m in a season in my life that I’ve deemed a “season of learning”. While I am doing a lot of doing and accomplishing, I’ve been devoting more of my time to taking in what’s around me and then applying it to my life. It’s more of a mental shift than a physical one. Of course, I’ve been devoting more time to taking in information, but taking a learning approach to life is a big mental shift that can only be done with mindfulness.
I’d like to share with you my favorite methods to come into contact with information I want (not fluff) and how I sort through it to find what’s valuable:
1.) Podcasts – Stitcher is a great podcast app. Podcasts are so easy to listen to and absorb because you can listen almost anytime. I like to listen while getting ready in the morning, taking a shower, or taking a walk. My most recent obsession is a podcast called “Wit and Wisdom”, but I also follow The Positive Psychology Podcast, Audio Dharma, and Buddhism Guide regularly.
2.) Facebook pages/groups – I’d say that Facebook groups are more interactive and valuable when done right, but pages and groups of people like you who share your views are so valuable. They not only get you in contact with other people, but it comes with all the knowledge that those people have. Be careful, though, with Facebook that you don’t get too caught up in it and waste time (it’s easy to go down that spiral).
3.) YouTube – there are so many inspirational and informational YouTube channels out there. Try to find one or two channels to incorporate into your week that add value to your daily life.
4.) Email lists – it seems like my peers are increasingly devaluing emails as all spam. NO! There are email lists that you’ll actually be excited to receive and you will open at first chance, read (or at the very least skim for the most important information), and enjoy. I’m subscribed to about 7 email lists that add value to various aspects of my life. Just be sure it doesn’t get overwhelming with 20 emails per day. (Been there, done that)
5.) Ask questions – you know that moment when somebody says something and you have no idea what they’re talking about, but you nod and pretend you know what it is and pray that they don’t test that confirmation? What would happen if you actually asked for clarification? You’d learn something! Crazy, right?
Now, there’s one thing I need to caution you of with this: information overload is a real thing, and it can hit you hard if you try to constantly cram information in every waking hour of the day. You should and really need to make time to learn about things you’re passionate about and that will help you with your development, but you need to have quiet moments when you’re just thinking to yourself. You’ll never be able to process the information or digest it well if you’re just cramming it in and moving onto the next thing. To avoid information overload, after watching/listening/reading something valuable, taking about 5 minutes to just sit with it. Maybe write down some notes on things that stuck out to you or action steps you want to take based on what you learned. This will ensure that you get the most out of the information you’re putting in to your brain.
Let me know what kinds of things you’re learning!