How to be a learning machine in 2020

By | CYH

If you felt you have wasted too much time on entertainment in the last decade, and you want to learn a new skill or deepen your knowledge in a particular area, this might interest you.

There are two roles when it comes to content – either you are a consumer or a producer.

Most of us consume information because it is easier (and lazier). And no one is truly a producer without consuming content first. I don’t believe our thoughts are so original and we always combine and adapt others’ work to make our own versions. So don’t be pressured to produce and focus on how you consume information for a start.

You are what you eat as well as what you read / watch / hear / interact with.

In a similar vein to dieting, you must control the quality of information you receive in order to shape perspectives in your mind.

2020 is the year you can deliberately create a system and turn yourself into a learning machine!

I am just sharing how I do it but I believe there are many more ways to achieve the same result. It boils down to your style of learning and preferences for a medium.

For example, I learn better through reading and watching videos. Audio is secondary for me and only resort to when I am driving. Someone else may need to talk face-to-face to learn. Figure out what’s yours.

#1 – Make your personal email inbox a knowledge centre

Your email inbox doesn’t need to be a virtual advertisement letterbox nor a to-do list from your boss and colleagues. Or at least your personal email should provide more value than that.

I prefer to curate my inbox to receive information from people I want to hear from. I constantly add interesting people to it and delete those whom I felt no longer interest me.

I look forward to emails from David Perell, James Clear, Taylor Pearson and Scott Galloway as I always learn new things from them, or get reminded of the important stuffs to focus on.

I also receive announcements from companies listed in HK and US via free email services. They are free and I get faster news than reading news.

Basically take a proactive stance to build your email inbox and not leave things to chance. Email reading can be enjoyable when you do it right.

#2 – Follow the people you like to learn from on Twitter

Not everyone blogs and not every blogger has a newsletter to subscribe to. For example Paul Graham. You would have to use an RSS reader to follow his articles. I set it up and use it to follow a handful people but I somehow don’t have the habit to read it via the RSS reader.

Instead, I could follow people like Paul Graham and Nassim Taleb via Twitter. There are so much wisdom in Twitter and I felt Singaporeans are not leveraging it enough. The top brains are on Twitter and they became a lot more accessible in today’s world. In the past, you would need to reach them via the right connections. Now their thoughts can flow through to you via Twitter without they knowing or meeting you.

#3 – Build playlists of videos on topics you care about on YouTube

I like David Rubenstein show and it is available free on YouTube. He goes round interviewing the influential people in the US, especially in finance. His questions are sharp and manage to get a lot out of the interviewees. It is a joy to watch. I know some people swear by Ted Talks. Whatever rocks your boat. There’s something for everybody.

I build playlists like ‘business’, ‘investing’, ‘tech’, ‘china’ and more. Every time I come across an interesting video I would save them in the respective playlists.

I play the videos while I drive since I couldn’t be reading. In this way I can make better use of my time on the road by ‘listening’ to the videos.

I hope you managed to get some ideas to implement in your own learning journey. Let me know if you have other good suggestions too!

Wish you a better you in 2020!

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