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Learning How To Learn

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read
Learning How To Learn

Your life has been disrupted by the pandemic.

There couldn’t be a better time than now for you to do this.

If you could only liberate this ability inside of you—then you could, literally, inherit the earth.

And you can do it not by speculating what the future holds but by simply putting this ability to work.

Here’s how.

The learner

Eric Hoffer, an American philosopher, once said:

In times of rapid change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

This quote instructs you to use the ability that is inside of you—learn.

First, let’s debunk some myths about learning.

  1. I’m not a scholar: you don’t have to be a scholar to learn. What you need to know are simple actions that anyone with just a pencil can do it.
  2. It takes too long to learn: that’s because you believe that learning is a result of years of work. Where in fact, it can be done rapidly which is best suited for people who are pressed for time.
  3. It’s too difficult to learn: if you’re using the old way of learning, then yes. And this is where if you understand the principles behind learning, nothing will be too difficult to learn.

So how do we do that?

The learning

The process of learning starts with first realizing that there is a need to learn. And with the new normal upon us, it has never been more urgent.

Many have experienced or will be experiencing some form of pay cut or being made redundant. To stay relevant will entirely depend on your ability to keep learning.

To determine your ability to learn in the new normal, let’s do a one-minute checklist to determine if your current learning processes are suited for the new normal.

Do you:

  • Find it hard to understand what you’re reading?
  • Have trouble picking out the main points of what you’re reading?
  • Spend hours reading and yet unable to distill insights from what you’re reading?
  • Have difficulty describing what you’ve read either on paper or in conversation?
  • Imitate other people’s point-of-view and insights rather than create your own?

How many questions did you answer with yes? If there was even one, then it will be worth your while to learn how to learn in the new normal.

You can do this

You’ve been through this before.

  • 1980: The recessions
  • 1987: Black Monday
  • 1997: Asian Financial Crisis
  • 2000: Dot-com Bubble
  • 2001: 911
  • 2003: SARs
  • 2008: Subprime Financial Crisis
  • 2020: COVID-19

While each crisis has it’s unique characteristic, they are fundamentally the same.

Which is: what used to work isn’t working anymore.

Let’s start by learning why that is so.

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.