All people were born with great gifts, talents and potential, including you. What makes a real difference in reaching your potential is the ability to be a smart learner. See what smart learners do differently and what they can teach us.
They always learn.
People often divide their time between learning and non-learning. Learning is usually much more focused, dedicated time. Even our education systems are built around that concept — first we learn for several years, and then we work. Smart learners do it differently. They use every occasion to learn something new — about the food they eat, the way things work, different cultures, different roles in the same organization, history, and the people around them. The world is a great source of knowledge and skills, available 24/7, so they ask tons of questions and connect the dots.
They are good observers.
Walking or driving the same route hundreds of times does not guarantee that you will learn about all the buildings and other interesting things on the way. To do it, you have to look at the world with curiosity. Smart learners focus on the here and now, ready to observe the changes and the world surrounding them. They don’t have to talk much; they will instead ask questions.
They make mistakes.
Most people have a great fear of failure. It seems better not to do something rather than make a mistake. Smart learners exchange the word “mistake” with “lesson.” There is no better way to learn something than simply trying it, so experiment and observe. If one way didn’t work, try another one. Of course, sometimes many lessons have to be taken before something is mastered. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
They don’t give up too early.
With great fear of failure comes giving up too early. Today, we are tempted to try new things just a few times and then resign. When we can’t master something quickly, why bother? However, turn back time and imagine yourself as a child learning how to walk. How many times did you fall down in that process? Probably hundreds! Now you possess that great skill without thinking about it, but what would have happened if you had given up too early? Learning takes time and falling down often — smart learners understand that.
They connect with smart people.
The world is a big network of connections. Some of them are better quality than others, and your time on this planet is limited. Smart learners understand that they need high quality connections — people around them who will inspire them, shake their worlds, and ask good and deep questions. We learn best when we are relaxed and have a real friend and mentor around.
They try new things.
To be able to learn, our brain needs stimulation and then a good rest. Just look at how a small child explores the world, looks at everything with curiosity, then tries to put the pieces together and checks the taste. Later, the child “sleeps like a baby!” Smart learners possess that spark of curiosity and often try something new. Take part in some workshops or online courses, watch TED, and meet new people. They do some things differently and it keeps them from being bored.
They don’t think they are smart.
Smart learners don’t talk much. The knowledge and skills they have are not merely to impress others, but comes from their inner passion. They are humble enough to acknowledge how much they don’t know, and at the same time they feel good about and are energized by that. When they don’t know they don’t pretend to; they simply ask questions.
We all waste so much of our potential by not learning smart enough. Let us take the right lesson from smart learners. Your life will definitely be more creative, happy, relaxed and full of passion.