Hacking Knowledge: 74 Tips on How to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better
While we all may follow our own unique pursuits in a lifetime, the quest for purpose through self-improvement and knowledge is among the great unifiers of humankind. Progressive thinking is the backbone of society’s progress. Great visionaries and their quests for knowledge have inspired the majority of the modern marvels we rely on today. While the process of seeking purpose in your life may not seem as universal or consequential as Einstein’s, it is crucial to find how to learn in a way that works for you, which can lead to greater self-awareness and wisdom—not to mention a new job, better pay, a new hobby, or simply knowledge for knowledge’s sake—whatever is important to you as an end goal.
This brand of introspection and knowledge is not necessarily acquired through traditional means, and the learning techniques that work best may differ from one person to the next. In fact, some of these tips may surprise you. Imagine all of the ways you may have been perfecting how to learn to find your smartest self for years without even knowing it!
Reduce stress + depression: Stress and depression can affect the ability to recall information and cause short-term memory loss. In mild cases, depression can sometimes be improved simply by exposing yourself to more white light and eating fewer refined foods.
Shake a leg: Lack of blood flow is a common reason for lack of concentration. If you’ve been sitting in one place for awhile, bounce or bend and flex one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall abilities.
Food for thought: Eat breakfast. A lot of people skip breakfast, but creativity is often optimal in the early morning and it helps to have some protein in you to “feed” your brain. Plus, a lack of protein can actually cause headaches.
Food for thought, part 2: Eat a light lunch. Heavy lunches have a tendency to make people drowsy. While you could turn this to your advantage by taking a “thinking nap” (we’ll get to that later), most people haven’t learned how to actually make this work on a regular basis.
Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that has been used in China and other countries for centuries and has been acclaimed for its brain-energizing properties.
Sleep on it: Hitting an REM cycle not only helps you rest and reset, it may also help with high-level problem solving. Researchers at University of California, San Diego noticed that getting some rest and dreaming allowed creative thinkers to work through some of their toughest problems.
Take a break: Sometimes, in order to change your physical or mental perspective and lighten the invisible stress that can sometimes occur when you sit in one place too long, it helps to take a 5-15 minute break every hour during study sessions. Studies show this is more beneficial than non-stop study, as it gives your mind time to relax and absorb information.
Take a hike: Changing your perspective (and surroundings) often relieves tension, thus freeing your creative mind. Taking a short walk around the neighborhood may help you liberate those latent learning skills.
Change your focus: Sometimes you just don’t have enough time to take a long break, however you can always just change subject focus. Try alternating between technical and non-technical subjects, for example.