The game of education is changing quickly. Before the internet you would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a formal education, or you would need to spend years searching for the right books and mentors. The internet has opened so many possibilities for education and achievement in the world.
It can be too easy to get lost in the sea of information on the internet. Maybe you get lost in the sea of cat videos, conspiracies, and all the top 10 series available on YouTube. You need a few tips, habits, and techniques which will help to guide you through all this information. The right information will help you create a powerful self education without having to fork over tens of thousands of dollars for a mediocre job.
Self Education is essential for success. So imagine how much more successful you can be if you make your self-education more effective. Here are 30 tips which will help you navigate self education while giving you a higher return on your invested time.
1. Realize the Amazing Opportunity of Self Education
Every achievement or process starts with your mindset. The same is true for self-education. You must first realize the opportunity available right in front of you. There are too many people who use the internet solely for entertainment and time waste. If this happens to be you, don’t worry, I used to be the same way. I remember spending countless hours watching meme compilations and top 10 videos. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, but if you want to achieve something greater, then you need to be more careful with what you spend your time on.
Self-education allows you to take responsibility for your future, learning, and achievement. You’re able to determine exactly what you need to learn, how to learn it, and how you will apply it. This is beneficial for ambitious professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who want to achieve greatness. Thought it’s difficult to be effective for many people if you aimlessly wander around through the internet and all the potential sources for learning. However, if you use the tips and techniques talked about in this post, there are no limits to what you can learn and achieve.
2. List the Resources You Could Use
There’s a long list of all the potential resources and websites you could use for your self education. Now unlike many people may have you believe, all of these resources are not equal. It’s important to ensure the material you’re reading or viewing is legitimate, effective, and created by industry experts. With that said, you can start by creating a list of every potential resource you could use. This list could contain books, coaches, courses, videos, schools, blogs, podcasts, and any other imaginable medium. Here are a list of some of the best resources for finding educational material you can find:
- YouTube – Find Millions of Educational Videos – Warning: Don’t get lost in the sea of weird videos like I did
- Udemy – Search through tens of thousands of courses – Warning: Make sure the reviews are 4-5 star for the courses you take
- EDx – University made courses ready for the viewing – Warning: Make sure the professors and instructors are industry professionals with years of experience. Most are technical courses and you won’t need to worry about this.
- Google – The classic search engine, no further discussion needed – Warning: Avoid suspicious sites
- Facebook – Facebook is great for finding groups of like-minded individuals to learn from – Warning: Be careful who you connect with.
Use these websites and any others you may think of to create a list of resources you could learn from. For instance, let’s say I want to learn how to play piano. I will create a list of all the piano playing courses, tutorials, videos, groups, coaches, books, and schools I can find.
3. Use Multiple Resources
Try using a few different resources at once. Doing this allows you to learn from multiple perspectives at once. One of the largest benefits I have found is also in your creativity. You can connect different ideas from the resources together to create new ideas and perspectives about the material. However, don’t fall into the trap of using too many sources at once. This can lead to unfocused attention. If you aim to use just 2 or 3 resources at once, you will find yourself to be more effective while also speeding up your learning. For example, I can use a piano playing course, a book on how to play piano, and a podcast for piano players.
4. Create a Self Education Plan
The plan you create is important. In most cases it will determine how effective your self education will be. Almost all students are too used to their teachers creating their educational plans for them and this is a piece which is often missing when students take their education into their own hands. You need a simple plan to follow which outlines your goals, target dates, and how you will reach the end point. Use the following guidelines below for creating your own educational plan:
- What skill or topic do you want to have mastery in?
- What are the most important skills or pieces of information you must learn first?
- Do you need to learn the information in a specific order?
- What resources will provide the best information and practice?
- How much time will I dedicate to mastery of this topic?
- How can I apply the knowledge and skills I learn to prove my mastery?
Creating a plan is super important. If you want to learn more, check out this valuable blog post from Nat Eliason I found! (Self Education – Teach Yourself Anything With the Sandbox Method)
5. Teach Others
One of the most effective ways to educate yourself and really cement the knowledge in your brain is to teach others. Even if you aren’t comfortable with the information or skill yet, see what you can teach. Whether it’s in formal education or self education, I have found this to be one of the top habits for effective learning and mastery in any skill or topic. While you’re teaching the information, you test your knowledge and fill the gaps where you may need help in.
Helping others is also a great way to strengthen your relationships or build new friendships. Everyone’s interested in learning something new or interesting. Try teaching your family, friends, and maybe even strangers on the street. Ask them for feedback and make sure they ask plenty of questions when they don’t understand something. Two important things will happen. First, the person will gain a better understanding of the topic and they may gain a new skill. Second, you’re reinforcing your learning and encouraging mastery of the topic.
6. Find Feedback for Your Progress
Feedback is important for success. It helps you to stay on track and determine if you’re on the right path the goals you set. You can either take feedback from other people, from yourself, or from yourself and from others. Let’s first talk about how to get useful feedback from other people. First, you need to find someone who will keep you accountable who you trust. Start by sharing your goal with this person and keep them up to date on your progress. This person will help you stay on track in an ideal situation, and they may see areas in which you are lacking which you might not notice.
Next, lets talk about how you can create feedback for yourself. Here it’s important for you to be honest. You don’t want to trick yourself into believing you are making massive progress when you’re really not. Self education is all about accountability and responsibility, lying to yourself is doing the exact opposite and you will sabotage your future education and accomplishments. To keep yourself accountable ask the following questions about your progress:
- Did I reach closer to my learning and self-education goals?
- Did I follow the plan and schedule I created for myself?
- What areas do I have the most trouble in?
- What can I do differently?
7. Keep a Notebook
Keeping a notebook is one of the most powerful habits you can practice. You have a few options for how to use notebooks in your self education. First, you can use a notebook to record notes and keep track of important ideas. Second, you can use a notebook to track your progress and ensure you’re on the right track. Finally, you can use a notebook to record ideas which come to your mind which relate to the topic you’re learning.
Let’s say you’re a business owner and you’re reading a book about business. Something which will help you is to take a break every thirty minutes and create a quick summary of what you have learned so far. Now here’s the most important part; after writing the summary, create a list of ten potential ideas you can implement from the new knowledge into your life or business. When you do this consistently, you create a feedback loop for improved creativity and learning.
8. Take Planned Breaks
Breaks are a good thing for your self-education. However, if you take too many breaks, they will work against you, and if you take too few, they will also work against you. Try taking a 5 minute break every 25-30 minutes of focused work. Set a timer for this amount of time, and when the timer goes off, you can take a short break. The goal is to relax your mind by listening to music, walking, stretching, or any other activity you may find to be relaxing. Doing this helps you to focus on your work and make your time spent far more efficient.
After about 4-5 work sessions you can take a longer break of around 20 minutes. Doing this takes advantage of a concept called focused versus diffuse modes of thinking. You’re probably to focused mode of thinking. This is where you stare at a math problem for 20 minutes or concentrate on reading a textbook. Diffuse mode of thinking is when you give up on the math problem, go for a 10-minute walk, and come back with the solution in your mind. It’s a very interesting topic, and if you want to learn more about focused and diffuse modes of thinking, check out the following article.
9. Create a Schedule
Creating new habits is important for successful self education. One of these important habits is the time you dedicate to your learning. Try picking a specific time block for when you want to work on your knowledge and skills. Maybe you want to read or work on an online course after waking up at 7AM. Or perhaps you work better in the evening after dinner. Whatever the case may be, pick a specific time to work, and make this a part of your plan.
10. Be Consistent
The most important part of making a plan is to stick to it. Maybe you’re like me. If I create a plan or a new routine, I can stick with it as long as I practice it every day. However, if I miss even one day, everything is most likely ruined. If you choose a time to study every day, stick with it, and study no matter what happens. Here’s exactly what you want to do after creating a self-education plan. Stick with the original plan for at least one month, after this point, see what changes you need to make if and only if you have followed the plan every day.
11. Read Multiple Related Books
There are hundreds of thousands and millions of books available for you to read. With that said, there are hundreds of potential books you could read on one topic. Use these books to your advantage; I relate this tip to tip #3 where you want to use as many resources as possible, but this is a little different. Start by picking the topic you want to learn about, for instance, let’s say I want to learn how to program in Java. Now you want to find the top-rated books which cover the topic you want to learn, I find it best to use 2-3 at a time.
After you have picked out 2 or 3 books which seem to be good, read them. However, instead of reading the books one at a time, read them all at the same time. You can spend 15-20 minutes reading the first book, then 15-20 minutes reading the next, and you will keep cycling through the books. For many people, this will really help to focus your mind and express more creativity with the ideas you’re learning. Try it out with 3, 4, or even 5 books at the same time and see how it works for you.
12. Learn From the Best
The people you learn from are important. You wouldn’t want to learn how to build a house from someone who has never built one. You wouldn’t take martial arts lessons from an instructor who has never landed a punch or a kick in his entire life. If you’re taking a course or learning any material, make sure you check the credentials of this individual.
Here’s another important point to keep in mind. The greater the achievements of your instructor, the greater your results would be. Would you rather learn Kung Fu from the world’s grandmaster or your local strip joint? Sometimes extra investment into yourself can be well worth the extra result.
13. Invest in Yourself
Investing in your skills and knowledge consistently over time is one of the best ways to speed up your self education. There’s a countless amount of information available for free on the internet, but sometimes it’s important to spend a little money on personalized coaching, training, workshops, and mentorships. This personal guidance will help to guide your learning, and this also allows you to expand the network of people you know.
Something which you may find to be helpful is to set aside a monthly budget for what I call: “personal research and development.” I will spend this money on books, coaches, mentors, seminars, workshops, etc. It’s well worth the money to absorb ideas and network with high performers who are achieving great things similar to what you want to do. However, make sure you’re diligent in what you spend your money on. There’s nothing worse than dropping a couple grand on a seminar or course which offers no real value to your life.
14. Set Self Education Goals
Goals are important for your self-education and anything you want to achieve. They provide guidance and motivation for your day-to-day activities. Before you read any books or taking any courses, create several goals for you to achieve. Start out with a massive goal which you could work on for multiple years or maybe even your entire life. Then create smaller goals achievable in the near future which will help you get closer to this ultimate goal.
15. Create an Ideal Environment
The environment you create for yourself is powerful. It has a direct influence on the actions you take and the thoughts which go through your mind. A disorganized and dirty environment can lead to a cluttered mind. Figure out what type of environment works for you and try to keep in this way. It’s also important to note that every person is different. Some people may thrive in loud environments and some people can only work in absolute silence. Think about yourself and write what environment may work best for you.
My perfect environment is the library or a clean office with some peaceful background music or a quiet television show playing. Some people may become distracted by the music or show, but the noise helps me to focus on the work at hand. Figure out what environment works best for you, and do your best to keep it that way.
16. Use More Color and Creativity
It’s no surprise that the brain loves color. This is a fact you can use to your benefit during your self education. There are a few potential ways you can use color and creativity. First, when you’re taking notes, use multiple colored markers, pens, and try to draw more pictures on the paper. Second, express more creativity while you think about the information you learn. Maybe you can try to think of as many ideas as possible for how you can implement the new information you’re learning into your life or business. Then write these ideas down, draw pictures for those ideas, and use a good amount of color.
17. Learn How to Learn
One of the key principles for Davinci Mind and the educational processes we teach is learning how to learn. Try examining the way you think about new information in your mind and see where you can improve. New thinking and learning habits will help you learn the new material faster, express more creativity, and use your time more efficiently. Our free Self Education Academy will take you through the basics of this progress so you can gain a better understanding of your own mind, and how to best use it.
18. Ask More Questions
Questions form the basis for all learning. They create a sense of curiosity in your mind, and the answers to those questions allow you to learn the material and apply it to your life. If you have difficulties learning new material, maybe you’re not asking enough questions. Try keeping a journal where you record the questions which come to your mind throughout the day. Then you want to make sure you answer the questions. There’s no real use in asking more questions if you never go out of the way to answer them.
Let’s say you’re reading a book on designing websites. Before reading, skim through the book and see what questions come to your mind. Write these questions down on a sheet of paper and try to write as many as possible. You may do this for the entire book, a chapter, or just a few pages, it’s all up to you. As you read the book, try finding answers to these questions. Maybe I will ask why HTML is the foremost language used for website design, now it’s my job to find the answer as I read the book.
19. Conduct Expert Interviews
Whatever field you want to become an expert in, odds are, someone has already done so. Try getting in contact with a few of these people and see who might be up for an interview. You could do this in person or over the internet. Create a set of questions you want to answer and go through all the questions with the expert. You could even turn these interviews into a podcast or a YouTube show where you consistently interview experts on a certain subject.
Interviewing has become one of my favorite go to’s for learning. My podcast has allowed me to meet and pick the brains of experts from all over the world. I highly recommend the experience as you never know just who you will meet.
20. Change Your Plan
Maybe you’re going along and the initial plan you have created for your self-education isn’t working out as planned. This is okay, things don’t always go according to plan, and therefore it’s important to pivot. Examine the plan you created, figure out where things are lacking, and create changes. However, don’t fall into the trap of changing your plan every day or week. Give yourself enough time to test the plan out so you can see if it works or not.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to change, try asking yourself the following questions:
- What area am I having the most trouble in?
- Am I applying the knowledge or skills I’m learning to my life or business?
- What can I do to improve my plan?
- Who can I go to for outside help?
21. Work With Others
A big mistake many people make is to spend too much time alone during their education. I can guarantee there are many people out there who are trying to learn something similar. You could even try convincing your family and friends to learn the material with you. If you find working along to be boring and unmotivating, try creating a group of people to keep you accountable.
Create discussion groups or project groups for your educational journey. Doing this helps you to see the new information from multiple perspectives. These perspectives will help you create new ideas while also making your learning more efficient. You can start by asking your immediate circle of friends and family and then you can move out into online communities such as forums and Facebook groups.
22. Track Your Progress
Accountability is important for successful education. You should track your progress so you can determine if you’re getting closer to your goal. Many courses and formal settings will have built in ways of tracking your progress. This can come in the form of feedback from instructors, projects, and checklists for online courses.
The best progress tracking you can have is what you create for yourself. While creating your plan, and your goals, create a way for you to track your progress. An easy way to do this is to create small goals you can cross off as you keep learning. You can easily turn these small mini-goals into a roadmap which leads to your ultimate success. Projects and presentations are great examples of goals which you can use to track your progress.
23. Learn to Read Faster With Speed Reading
Books and articles are important for self education. However, what if you could train yourself to read faster? Speed reading is a topic of debate among many circles, but I have found the practice to be beneficial. The skill takes a good deal of practice, but there are pitfalls you need to steer clear of.
If you find yourself to be forgetful when reading, there’s a good chance the problem could become worse once you try speed-reading. In this scenario, it’s important for you to develop new habits in the way you process information when reading. The end goal is to engage your visual centers when reading instead of just your auditory centers.
Here are resources you can use to find more guidance:
24. Consider Using Memory Techniques for Vital Information
It’s safe to say most students are ever taught to use their memory properly in the learning process. If you want to efficient with your self education, developing as strong of a memory as possible is crucial. The goal here is to turn the techniques and skills into new habits you can apply to material you learn. There are several possible techniques you could learn. Concepts such as the memory palace will help you encode important information for long periods of time.
Our Self Education Academy has several free and premium courses which will teach you these skills. When developing these skills it’s important to create the new habits in a step-by-step manner. The courses and training will start you with the basics and take you to more advanced techniques. Check out our free academy for an introduction to these skills so you can learn faster and create a competitive advantage.
25. Use a Variety of Learning Techniques
Neurons which fire together, stay together. There are many ways in which you could think about and learn information. You can visualize the information, teach someone else the concept, finish a project, read about the topic, do something physical and active, and the list goes on and on. Figure out the techniques which are most effective for you and use as many of them as possible for the topic or skill you’re learning.
Let’s say I am trying to become an expert on Facebook chat bots. Here are all the possible learning techniques I could use for this goal:
- Read about chat bots in books and articles.
- Take Facebook chat bot courses
- Take colorful notes while visualizing the material I am learning
- Try to teach friends/family and business contacts about chat bots
- Create Facebook chat bots
- Create a physical representation of a chat bot
- Go for a run and listen to podcasts & audiobooks about chat bots
26. Express Your Inventiveness
Innovation has been the fuel for wealth and growth in the industrial and information era. Take the ideas you learn and try to create crazy new ideas. Turn those ideas into reality and express your inventiveness. There’s an infinite amount of possibilities and inventions which you can create. Creativity and innovation is a habit, not a skill. By practicing the creation of new ideas, you can turn this into a valuable asset for your business and life.
You never know when you’ll come up with the idea or innovation which has the potential to change your life or your business. Not only that, but this is one of the most important steps for mastery in any topic or skill. One powerful way to instill this new habit, is to keep a notebook for ideas which relate to the topic you’re learning. After every thirty minutes of learning, write 5-10 ideas which build off the material you’re learning. Even if the ideas are crazy and seem out of bounds for you, write them down anyway, these are the best ones to write.
27. Write Questions Before And After Your Study Time
Curiosity is important for the learning process. We already touched on the importance of questions in tip #18, but this is a more structured way to apply it to your learning. Before learning any material, the goal is to create a list of 20-30 questions related to the topic at hand. This can be difficult at the start, but once you do it a few times, it becomes easier. The goal is to get the wheels within your brain turning so you easily absorb the new information.
After finishing reading or learning the material, you want to go back through the questions and think through each one of them quickly. Next, you want to write another 10-20 questions which come to your mind, and let them sit in your mind and on the paper. The next time you want to come back to the learning, you can look at these questions again, see if any more come to your mind, and resume your learning process.
28. Create Services to Help Others
Entrepreneurship and business are a great way to apply what you learn and prove your mastery. The goal is to think about the needs of others, and how you can help people. Think about the problems of the world, use your creativity, and see if you can use the new knowledge and skills you learn to help these people. It doesn’t take a fancy college degree or a ton of experience to help people in the market. With a little drive and creativity, you can do almost anything.
For instance, let’s say I have spent the last three months learning how to create beautiful websites that sell products. I know there’s a huge need in the market for websites which can sell since entrepreneurship and business is important to the world and economy. This means I can turn this skill into a service and make a living from it. The next step is to get into contact with potential people I can help. This used to be more difficult in the old days where you would have to go door to door. However, thanks to the internet and telephone service, communication is easier than ever!
29. Express Your Creative and Musical Passions
It’s important to explore your creativity when learning about a new topic or skill. The topic doesn’t need to directly relate to art, music, or creativity, but you may find inspiration in the material for something of this nature. Try taking a short break from the material and think about the lessons and knowledge you have learned. See if you can turn this into a form or art or music.
Exploring your talents outside of the material is also important. Art and music help you create new neural connections within your brain so you can learn faster and potentially have an easier time concentrating. Every person is different, maybe you want to paint more pictures, or maybe you want to learn to play the violin like me, figure out some creative passion which brings you joy.
30. Be More Physical
Your physical health is important. It’s difficult to have an optimally performing mind when your physical health is in the gutter. Everyone has room to improve, and change can start with something simple. If you’re starting from a poor state, just start with short walks every day. You can gradually make these walks longer, and you can evolve into more intense workouts.
Then you can use your exercise time to learn new things. Instead of listening to screamo on your phone, try listening to a podcast covering a topic you want or need to learn about. While walking or going to the gym, I like to listen to podcasts about marketing, business, and entrepreneurship. These are the skills I know I need to be competent in if I want to build a successful business so that’s what I will do.
What did you learn? Don’t forget to share!
There’s a lot to learn and apply to your life and education. You may find all the possibilities and information overwhelming. If this is the case, you have a few options. First, you can join our free Self Education Academy. The training will guide you through the process of creating effective self education habits so you can structure your learning, develop good thinking habits, and turn the information into a successful hobby, career, or business.
Davinci Mind also offers more in-depth courses for a fee. These are advanced courses which will take the skills a step further and guide you to your greatest potential. Finally, you can also enroll in one-on-one High Mental Performance coaching. This coaching is only for the most serious of professionals, entrepreneurs, and students. It requires an investment, but if you’re willing to invest in yourself, the possible benefits are amazing. If you’re interested in this option, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I hope you learned something valuable from this post. Let me know in the comments below which of the 30 tips you found to be most useful.
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