Think of a time you learned something without really thinking about it or forcing yourself to learn it. You probably just did it without really worrying about it. That’s how many of us learn our native languages as children. Sure, your parents may have been disciplined enough to sit down with you to teach you new words each day, but from your perspective it was natural. You weren’t worried about the consequences of not learning how to speak – you just did it without thinking twice.
As an adult learning isn’t always that easy, so we often force ourselves to learn new skills. That approach is better than not even trying to learn new skills, but natural learning is more fun and enables us to learn so much faster.
Natural learning is when you’re not really cognizant of the fact that you’re learning. It’s like playing a video game; you’re doing it for fun and learning is secondary. You learn how to play the game in order to have fun. Learning new skills won’t always necessarily lead to fun, but the majority of our skills will lead to some kind of reward whether it’s a higher paycheck, helping your community, becoming a doctor and saving lives, or changing the world.
The challenge is to obviously turn forced learning into natural learning. An important first step for me has been to integrate learning into my environment. Rather than turning the spare bedroom into an arcade, it’s an office. The arcade would be sweet, but in the long run the office will lead to much higher rewards. Doing work and studying in my office is just a part of my day. I don’t think twice about it because that’s where I need to go to make sure I’m taking care of my business, the bills, and learning.
I’ll admit, learning new skills still needs to be forced from time to time. It helps get me started. But once I get started, it just becomes a part of my day. Having a clear purpose in mind also helps me keep going. I need to know why I’m learning a new skill. Once I determine why I want to learn a skill, I do my best to make it happen naturally. It’s been helping me with my business tremendously.