Consistently building knowledge is critical to keep your mind in tiptop shape, boost confidence, achieve optimal performance at work and stay up-to-date in this fast-paced world.
However, many people seem to overlook the value of learning new things as they settle into a comfortable zone at work and in life. If you want to be proactive about being your most knowledgeable self, here are my top 5 evidence-based strategies for building knowledge.
1. Read as much as you can.
Bill Gates reads a book every week. Elon Musk used to read 10 hours a day before he became the CEO of Tesla. Warren Buffet once said, “I just sit in my office and read all day.” This is how some of the most successful people in the business world spend their day.
For effective learning, take your time to read and fully digest new information. This means investing more time in reading. Block off periods in your day or week purely for reading and turn off your notifications. And absolutely, do not multitask.
2. Attend workshops, seminars, conferences, or symposiums.
These are among the fastest ways to gain knowledge on a subject or topic. This is because when you attend these events, you are in total immersion. The conducive environment, the charisma of the speakers, the energy of the participants, and the networks created all contribute to the motivation to learn.
3. Ask questions.
For us to ask a question, we must first attempt to understand and assimilate the information available to us. Having a curious attitude of asking questions is extremely useful to fill up the gaps with pieces of information that will make your knowledge on a matter more wholesome.
In my workshops, I always begin by telling everyone in the room to have a curious mind and permit them to ask questions at any time with no fear of appearing silly. I always say, “The only silly question is the one you don’t ask.”
4. Get a mentor.
As we journey through life, we often come across crossroads and problems that we have no answers to. Here is where a mentor can help tremendously. Mentors not only provide information but use their wealth of experience to share success stories. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
As a mentee, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge and shorten your learning curve. Another strong reason for a mentor is they see our blind spots and give constructive criticism.
5. Experiment with new things.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” While it is great to continually increase our knowledge on our topic of specialty, continuous experimentation is key in the pursuit of growth. There is a great adventure in throwing yourself into the unknown irrespective of the outcome.
Aim to pick up something new every year or enhance your knowledge or skill by going deeper by learning from an expert. Learn a new musical instrument, go for vocal lessons, learn a foreign language, pick up chess, learn to cook or bake, take art classes, learn improv, take acting lessons, learn to design your own website, or pick up martial arts. Remember: you are never too old to learn something new. Life is a beautiful journey of discovery if you keep your eyes, mind, and heart open.