#67 - A very POWERFUL method for LEARNING
What is the most powerful way of learning something? How can you engage your brain fully into a topic, tie it into your own experiences, and look at it from lots of different angles?
This is the topic of today’s episode. We have now done one year of podcasting and we will talk about the most important thing we have learned – how to learn, a very powerful method for learning.
May 29, 2020
A very POWERFUL method for LEARNING
What is the most powerful way of learning something? How can you engage your brain fully into a topic, tie it into your own experiences, and look at it from lots of different angles?
This is the topic of today's episode. We have now done one year of podcasting and we will talk about the most important thing we have learned - how to learn, a very powerful method for learning.
Today's episode is a personal development episode, where Erik and Emil explore topics about how to grow as a person.
We are both personal development junkies and spend many hours every week sharing our ideas and reading about new things. This episode is great for you who want to learn about our latest perspective. We share lots of personal stories, talk about how it applies in our lives, and where we have learned it from.
We are starting this episode with Erik talking about how he has spent the last 3-4 years dedicated to learning about social media, personal development, leadership, and social skills.
At first, he was very focused on consuming as much knowledge as possible but it was first when he started teaching what he had learned on Instagram that things shifted. He got to embody the concepts and found that some of them he believed in and some of them made him feel like a fraud.
We keep exploring why teaching is a very powerful method for learning, how it engages our body and our emotions, and why everything you have been teaching will be easier for you to remember.
We sum up this episode with various ways of teaching, what you can do if you don't want to put yourself out there as a teacher in public or on social media but still benefit from this technique and what are the important things to get started.
[00:00:46] What is the most powerful way of learning something? How can you engage your full body and your mind and your emotions into one topic to really make it a part of who you are?
[00:01:02] We have now done a whole year of podcasting, and today we're going to explore the single most important thing we have learned from doing this, and that is how to learn.
[00:01:16] And I'm here, as always, with one of my best friends, Eric Bergman, who is the founder of our organization, Great Dot Com, a company that would give away 100 percent of its profits to charity. And previously, he also founded the company Catina Media, that at the time when he left after five years, had 300 employees and an evaluation of two hundred million dollars. And he also loves to teach personal development and entrepreneurship on his Instagram account that now has a hundred thousand something followers. Eric, how are you doing today?
[00:01:57] I'm doing very well. Thank you for that lovely introduction. You're welcome. It feels good. And I'm here with Emil. And if you're new here he is the first person joining me in two great dot.com is among the smartest, annoyingly smart, smartest people.
[00:02:14] He is my sparring partner in everything creative that I do in YouTube and Instagram and podcasting. And we just love learning things together.
[00:02:23] So it's a pleasure to be here with you today, my friend.
[00:02:25] How are you? I am feeling stable today. Stable, stable. You know, it's not every day can be extraordinary. Some days are stable and they are too late. And what is this podcast?
[00:02:40] Yes. If you're new here, this is to becoming great dot com podcast. And why we're doing this is because we want to help you. They want to make the world or just your own life for that matter, better to business, entrepreneurship and personal development. And today we're talking about learning. And when we planned this episode, you told me a story about how learning changed for you in the last couple of years. And I think will be very valuable for our listener.
[00:03:14] The last three years, then I left Catina Media about three years ago, four years ago, and since then, I've been going very deep into kind of a bubble of learning. I've been reading a lot, listening in lot, talking to a lot of smart people and very focused on leadership, social skills, personal development and general health business. All of these different things that I've felt that I've learned a lot about over the last three years.
[00:03:39] And then about six, nine months ago, I started in a lot of content on Instagram, mainly where it took these different concepts that I've learned over the last years. And I wrote captions about them or did short videos about how how those have impacted my life, how I apply them, different stories that relates to them. And what I realized doing this process was some of these concepts really made my own. I felt like I stepped into them. They became a part of what I am. And I really wanted to live up to those things. And when I spoke about some other things, I felt kind of like a fraud. It's like I'm saying that this is a good idea, but I'm not doing it myself. I feel this could be good advice, but apparently not good enough for me to apply it. So what's interesting to see that, OK, some things here are really doing, I really believe in and I'm learning the more and more and some things I actually don't believe when I say them out loud. So it helped me to kind of see what of this knowledge that I've taken in over the past couple years. Do I want to learn more and even more put as a part of me, which I am I actually supposed to kind of unlearn? So I believe a tricky thing when reading a book or listening to a podcast is that a lot of things sounds very easy. Yeah, it feels like I understand them when I'm listening to them. But then if I'm trying to teach, it's like I have not understand.
[00:05:09] Yeah. Cause there are gaps in your understanding and you don't understand that. And it's just all in your head. No. That's the easy shit on Instagram, you see. Okay. Here is a gap in what I understand. So what you're saying is that you are in this learning bubble and after three years, the bubble was kind of full and you couldn't. There was a lot of things in there and now you started to teach it and then you saw that, OK. This thing is actually so valuable that it's working for me. And then you can teach from experience and out things. It's like I try this. But there's something Off-Air or maybe there's something I don't understand yet. And I need to do more research since I have kind of less knowledge in a way, less things that I use that are yours. But you know those things better.
[00:06:00] Yeah, I think you could say that. It's like I've been for three years down or something. I've read so many things. I've watched so many things. And I put all of these knowledge into a big bag of knowledge in a sense. And it wasn't sorted. It was just all thrown in there. I kind of knew that it was terror, but I didn't really know how to find something easily or how much I really liked that idea or that idea. And now I've been over the last and six to nine months, I'm putting my hand down this bag, taking something up. I've been playing around with that toy your concept for a while. And see, I did something I really want to keep. Do I want to have a relationship with this thing? Do I want to learn more about it or do I want to throw it away?
[00:06:39] And that's been the process that I've been on. Now I know a lot more about these concepts that I wanted to really have. And I've also felt like, OK, these other things might be smart for someone else, but they don't really apply to me. This has been the process of kind of looking at these different concepts and ideas, seeing do I really believe in them? Do I embody them? Are they fun enough to do? Or am I throwing them away?
[00:07:07] So what can someone learn from this? Would you say?
[00:07:11] So I think in an interesting way of looking at this is to look at the classroom and ask oneself who in the classroom is learning the most? And I believe the person who learns the most is the teacher, not the students who are there to learn, but the teacher, because the teacher needs to take a topic. They need to. Share it in a way that is inspiring for people to learn. They need to be able to answer any question coming from any different angles that need to be able to think about it in lots of ways. They need to talk about it. Write about it. Maybe find images about it. They need to make it part of who they are. So believe that whatever it is that you want to be really good at. If you want to be an expert at something or just get better at it. I believe the best way to get there is to teach, because then you have to you have some body to be able to do that to become a teacher.
[00:08:06] No one is using that metaphor. I think that who learns the most might actually be the students because they're going to all these different kinds of classes and they're learning a ground level knowledge in a lot of things that at least I forgot.
[00:08:21] Five years after I was in school.
[00:08:23] But the teacher might be learning fewer things, but how much deeper knowledge and more the understanding of that specific topic that they are now specializing in teaching? Yeah, definitely.
[00:08:36] If there is one thing you want, if you want to be good at a lot of things, it's really hard to teach a lot of things. You know, you can ever take Wikipedia and say, I'm gonna teach Wikipedia and try to teach everything in there. But you could say I want to be the best at no species of dogs.
[00:08:52] And then just read all of that on Wikipedia and you can become an expert in that alone. And you could teach dog species for whatever reason you want to do that. I know everyone just wanted a golden retriever anyway.
[00:09:11] Now, someone might be listening to this and think to themselves, OK, I really want to learn more efficiently. That might be why they are in this podcast. But at the same time, there might be a feeling of overwhelm about teaching. It's easier to just read a book or listen to a podcast. And it might also feel scary, like, who am I going to teach us to? I might feel uncomfortable, start teaching on social media or wherever it could be. What can they do to start teach anyway?
[00:09:42] So I think that I understand that a lot of people think that this is really scary. I felt it was scarier to start posting because it's quite vulnerable posting something with the intention of teaching someone during a kind of sub communicating. I'm smart and I'm an expert. I'm an expert and I'm kind of bragging. There are different ways of doing this. One way to actually do it on social media, but be very open with that. I'm doing this because I want to learn. So kind of in theory, can put enjoyed bio on Instagram or whatever it is. I'm trying to learn this topic. I'm posting what I'm learning. Mm hmm. So you're not claiming to be an expert and already there it's easier to kind of go out and say, I'm learning. Here's what I'm learning. Join me on my learning journey rather than saying, hey, I'm an expert in this or that, because then you kind of have to be you could do this in a podcast or on Twitter, Instagram or a blog or whatever. But you could also if you don't want to put anything out there, you could do this in writing for yourself.
[00:10:42] Like pretend that you're teaching someone create a class like a friend of mine. He created a marketing class, but he didn't really share it with anyone for several years because he wanted to do this really well.
[00:10:56] And then maybe a years later, when he felt like he was ready, then he had already prepared all the.
[00:11:01] Exactly. So you don't need to put yourself out there to create something that someone could learn from.
[00:11:07] You could just think, OK, how about if I wanted to teach how to do a podcast? How would I explain that? Go through these details, do it, maybe show it to one friend. I see. Do you understand this? Or whatever it is that you want to teach. So you could just do it in writing. You don't need to do it publicly and you will still get the same mindset because.
[00:11:27] I believe that the more emotions that you engage in what you do, scarier something is the deeper understanding you will get of it. At least the deeper it will go into a memory as well. And that's what happening when I'm posting a video. It's like I need to say it in front of a camera. I need to engage with it like TISM. Sometimes I'm very nervous. It's just become something that my body thinks of. OK. Since Eric has this many emotions right now, there's got to be something important going on. And I'm engaging more with it. He is teaching in general. You don't need to be an expert. You can say you're not an expert and say that you're teaching because you want to learn and. One thing that I like. So a friend of mine here, he is doing some weight loss programs online. And he told me that. OK. So if you want to lose weight, would you rather learn from someone who is super ripped and then like a bodybuilder and being in shape their entire lives? Or would you want to learn from someone who was 20 kilos overweight last year and now is normal weight and has been doing exactly what you've been doing? And I think to me, I would rather learn from someone who is on the exact same journey. I mean, gee, maybe that guy is not a super expert, but he can understand. Do you know where you are coming from? So you can talk from a beginner knowledge base to a beginner. And I think that's very valuable. I think anyone will benefit from teaching. And I think that there is always someone would benefit from learning, even if it's not from an expert.
[00:13:02] I agree with that as well. And I really liked what you said about engaging more emotions and showing your brain.
[00:13:12] But this is very important. And that reminds me of something that I read in a book that I thought was very interesting. So this book is from a Swedish champion in memory. His name is Muttiah that he. And I really like the book Gifts for Students and how they can memorize things better by involving more senses, just like you said. And one thing that stuck with me from that book that I think is super interesting is that he's saying that. Research says that. The brain doesn't store any individual information. The idea is that you don't have your name or any numbers or anything like that stored in your brain. What you have stored is connections between things. So you understand what one thing is like the color red, for example, by how it relates to other colors.
[00:14:09] Okay. And by all other red things, examples. Exactly. I know the color red because I know your shirt is red. I know an apple is red. I know my old car was red.
[00:14:19] Yeah. And that's kind of.
[00:14:21] I'm going to all those memories. Exactly. So the name Eric and a computer would be stored like Sara once. But the name Eric in your brain is stored like to everything that you have ever connected to the world. Eric. Yeah. Someone really smart. Really beautiful. Exactly. Charming.
[00:14:39] Exactly. Humble. Yes, exactly. Those things now. So, for example, I will never, ever, ever forget the word cinnamon button, which is a very Swedish thing. I think super taste the cinnamon buns because that word is imprinted in my head by my grandmother making them. I understand what I remember what it looked like in her kitchen. I remember the smell of the cinnamon. I remembered anticipation in my body waiting for them to finish in the oven. I remember drinking milk with them eating at 15 and I said it will and go. So no schist entire day worth it. So our kids don't have to take any responsibility at their consequences. You can just eat fifteen cinnamon buns and that's what kids do. How good is it. That is so deeply imprinted in my brain. And I think that is something we can take advantage of for learning.
[00:15:35] And two to Canek, new information to us. Many existing things as possible. Yeah. Yeah, I think that makes perfect sense.
[00:15:44] And that's pretty much what you're doing when you're teaching them. Yeah. Creating deeper meaning or engaging more with it.
[00:15:51] Or you get this topic and you can tie it into a place you were feeling you had or you tie it to different stories. We tried to find your own metaphors. Yeah.
[00:16:00] And I think that is key because our brains are wired to learn through storytelling. I mean, we were hunter gatherers once and we were sitting around a fire and all elder people told stories that now we could learn from. So we are super made to learn from stories. And if I just read something in a book.
[00:16:21] Then if that's just information I tried to remember, it will not stick so much to my brain. There are fewer places to connect it to compared to if I take the same concept and I have to travel, tell it to a story that I have experienced now, which will stick to everything that happened in that story. It will stick to the environment that was in the sounds. I was hearing the smells. I sensed the emotions I was having in my body through that event.
[00:16:50] And you need to look for this as well as you need to think a lot more about it to be able to put it into yours, to put more effort in. And you have to invent your own thing that makes things that stick so much more.
[00:17:01] He has a like now you will even tie cinnamon buns to the concept of learning through teaching because now you're tying those two together. Exactly. The concept of learning through teaching will go deep erga because you feel the smell of it and you want to eat 15 learnings sitting's.
[00:17:23] I remember another cool thing that just came to my mind from that book, actually, and so there was this old guy that was a masochist when you torture yourself. Yeah. So you spent like 20 years of his life just memorizing known words like K.R., V.T., and they memorized thousands and thousands of thousands on them and then measured how long time it took for him to forget them, depending on his learning method, masochist or very, very passionate. Very, very passionate.
[00:17:55] I mean, there is some quotes from them, smart guy said once life is about finding your passion and then it's over. Mm hmm.
[00:18:05] And what he means by that is that until you when you found your passion, live life will go so quickly after that. So then you're kind of done. And maybe that's what he did. You found his passion and this was what he loved these people forever.
[00:18:17] And I think we should all be appreciated of the outcome, because what that showed is that if your repeat. So he did two test ones where he was repeating them after a certain time. And one where he was recalling them after a certain time. And the result was that when he recalled things, he had more than twice the retention. And what do you mean with recall? So recalling is. I don't want to repeating as I looked at the numbers again on a piece of paper, recalling as I tried to remember them without using send piece of paper sediq coming from inside of me instead of from outside of me.
[00:18:55] Okay. And instead of just looking at him, you need to make an effort to try and find out in your memory when your brain is coming up, put it on its own thing, stick much more. You create more strong connections between neurons in your brain. It makes sense because you need to engage more. Yeah. And I think that is that engagement, right? Yeah. You put more. I'm telling you, Gaist in this podcast and I am reading a book I had to be to keep up with you. Yeah. And you're telling yourself that this is important because I'm making an effort to find out. Yeah. I don't make an effort by just looking at some place on this paper and reading something, you know? And I'm not engaging myself in that means very little to me. So then what are some tips for someone who wants to start to learn teaching, learning by teaching something that becomes so obvious now?
[00:19:41] Yes. When we're talking like this is to have a body. You described me as a sparring partner. And I think that is so important to learn, because when we prepared this podcast, we have to sit and talk. And then that is really the effect of are we really using this? Do we really believe in this? Can I really say this?
[00:20:00] And that process, I think, creates a much deeper understanding of what is actually true for me.
[00:20:08] And that's actually just teaching. Even if you're not teaching someone together by just having a friend and you're one someone who's interested in learning things. Yeah. And you're studying personal development or whatever. Just having someone to paraphrase and retell that thing that you just learned. It's like if I if I learned a concept today, I learned how to tie my shoes, whatever. And I. You are interested in learning new things. Okay. Well, I learned this loop swoop and pull thing. I cannot tie my shoes and then I'm actually teaching you. Even though we're not really teaching anything together. Just having important having friends. And that's a very small way of teaching. But you're actually teaching. Yeah. You're teaching to your friend when you're preparing to teach as well. Yeah. Yeah, that's true. I think that the earlier you start teaching, the better. You don't need to be an expert or you become an expert by teaching. Yeah, exactly. That's probably the only way to become an expert. You don't teach anyone, then you're never gonna see the full picture because you need to be challenged. Yeah, it's like do it actually so important. You need to have your ideas challenged. Yeah. Because otherwise you might just go in one lane and you don't really think in different directions. And then someone comes in with a question from the side. Okay.
[00:21:19] Have you thought about it's like, oh I think the minimum step is to just.
[00:21:25] Read something or listen to something and then try to reteach it, and you can do it to yourself other by speaking out loud. Or writing it down on a piece of paper, because at least what you're doing then is that you become aware of where is the gaps in my knowledge. You know what this is that I don't understand. If you read a chapter in a book, it would always seem like you understood it because the person that wrote it understood it so well. So it creates this illusion of competence. But that doesn't mean only because you hear something and it sounds good, doesn't mean that you understand it. That you can't retell it. That you can apply it. So if you write it down, the gaps in the knowledge, it's gonna become very obvious and then you can do more research. Gaps in knowledge doesn't mean that you fail. It just means that, okay, I need to think a little bit harder and that's good. Yeah. Something I want to add is that I really believe in this concept of reteaching everything that I learned to a point where now I feel like if I read a book and I don't do some kind of reteaching, I'm feeling like 70 percent of what I learn is wasted.
[00:22:31] So if one thing is that when you have this approach, I learn much slower.
[00:22:38] Yeah, definitely. So that is something that is a bit painful to me. They want to move forward fast, but I think over the long run, it actually saves a lot of time.
[00:22:47] Did you learn slower? But you actually learn. Yeah. Which is a difference because a lot of times you create an illusion of competence as you touch upon. It's an illusion of thinking that I know a lot of things, but I don't yet. And instead, you know, a few things that you know them well.
[00:23:01] Yeah. Because, I mean, I had a year when my life where I read maybe 50 books, because that is what's cool on in some personal development circles. But I can't. I have some vague idea of what those books were about, but I don't know anything specific about it. I can't. I can talk about it or I don't. I don't understand it.
[00:23:21] You're just flooding your memory with new things that you haven't really contemplated or thought about Saturn.
[00:23:33] So what can someone who wants to support this podcast. Woo! Good question. Yes.
[00:23:39] So what would really help assault? If you listen to this, you would maybe like for more people to hear about how they can make their lives or the world better, transparent ownership. The best way to help us is to go to your podcast app and press subscribe and recent buy that helps us out so much is we want to get into different podcasts, top lists. And if you can't do that, enough has more to do with the amount of subscribers to the month of listeners. Which is good for us because we are teeny tiny podcast compared to some of the big business ones. But if you and we partner up, we can actually get there and reach so many more people with these messages and we would be super duper grateful right there.
[00:24:26] Superlatively great superduper. Think give it today, my friend. See you next week. Chocobo.