What do you do for personal development? Stagnation equals decline because everything around you keeps moving and improving. With very little effort you can make progress though, by keep learning new things every day.
The ability to learn is the most important skill you can have. When you master it, the world is yours because you can do anything. All you have to do is learn.
Here’s what I do to keep learning, understand concepts, get new ideas and develop myself:
"Only the autodidacts are free." – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Wisdom (@TalebWisdom) June 17, 2019
Sleep is the basis of all other things in life. If you don’t have your sleep in check you can’t perform optimally. That means sleeping 7 to 9 hours, every day.
You can’t learn without focus and memory. Reduced focus and memory are two of the first short term effects of a sleep deficit.
And the information you absorb during the day is being processed by the brain during the night. That’s why you remember more the day after.
I now tend to go to bed at 23h every day, including weekends. It takes me about 30 minutes to fall asleep. My alarm is set at 8h but I normally wake up a few minutes earlier. So I end up sleeping 8-9 hours per day and that’s great.
It really makes the difference. I’m experiencing more energy, more creativity and less anxiety. Overall I feel better, happier and I’m getting more things done. All of this affects my business positively, too.
You need to read non fiction books and act on them. It gives you new ideas and views from someone else’s perspective. Every book will teach you at least one thing. The better the book, the more insights will stay on your mind.
Reading one book takes about 10 to 20 hours. If you read two hours a day, that’s about one to two weeks per book. That’s 26 to 52 books a year.
My goal for this year is to read 50 books, one per week on average. This is easy to do if you don’t watch TV or Netflix.
You need to read books and act on them.
It gives you knowledge, perspective, and ideas.
Reading only one hour a day adds up to 25 books a year.
— Gijs Heerkens (@gijsheerkens) June 20, 2022
AirPods have changed the way I consume audio. It’s like an extra pair of ears.
It also made me start listening podcasts. During cooking, eating or cleaning, I can now learn things by listening to podcasts on interesting topics. Free of charge.
When I go for a walk, I leave my AirPods and iPhone at home by the way. This is a good way to meditate.
It always pays off to hire a specialist on the topic you want to master. If you don’t want to spend money on knowledge, consider what it costs to be on the same point in one year from now.
Later I hired a speech therapist to improve my neutral Dutch speaking. I wanted to get rid of my accent because it bothered me during business meetings.
If you really can’t afford paying a specialist right now, you can go follow some on Twitter. By following the right persons, you can learn loads of things while keeping the money in your pocket. But beware of social media addiction.
On Twitter, you can create a productive filter bubble for yourself.
• Following writers will improve your writing.
• Following chefs will improve your cooking.
• Following comedians will make you funnier.
For the first time in history, all your mentors live in your pocket.
— David Perell (@david_perell) November 30, 2019
Your friends can be an important part of your learning process. Naturally, you will stumble upon people in every part of life you are interested in.
If you are interested in sports, you will meet friends while watching sports in a bar, if you are interested in cooking, you will meet friends at cooking classes, if you are interested in fitness, you will meet friends in the gym.
I think you need at least one friend for each of your main interests, so you can discuss things with him or her.
If you really want to understand a topic, writing an article on it is a way to go. It forces you to dive deep into a subject, think about and express the results it in your own words.
This was the number one reason for me to start blogging.