Being a Good Learner: THE KEY TO LIVING AN ABUNDANT LIFE

Learning something isn’t hard. All you need is a willing and teachable spirit. You’ll also need to give up your
comfort zones, resist discouragement, face challenges and change old mindsets as we take each definitive
step towards our goals and transformation.
Every good learner possesses three As in them: Attitude, Action and Actualisation.

Attitude

You’ve heard it often: “Attitude is everything.” How well we learn depends on how desperate and hungry we
are to gain that new skill or knowledge. Once we recognise the importance of the lesson, we are willing to
give our all to learn it, at any cost. Despite the falls and scraps and strong admonishments when we make
mistakes, we clench our teeth and bite down hard on this precious learning opportunity, refusing to let go
until we succeed.

We all have the power to change inside us. We can choose self-encouragement rather than self-defeat. No
matter what we’ve encountered in life, it’s how we end that matters.

Keith Harrell says that our minds can be programmed. We can actively choose “whether the software installed
is productive or unproductive.” What you say to yourself and what you believe is “the software that programs
your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you…Whatever you put into it
is reflected in what comes out.”

Action

In the article “The Biology of Forgetting – A Perspective”, the writers state that “the human brain has the
remarkable capacity to acquire, store, and recall information across decades of time…[and learning may
activate] neuronal growth processes that establish new connections”

That’s why it’s important to practise what we’ve learnt. If not, we’ll very quickly forget everything or may get
anxious because we no longer remember anything we’ve learnt! Just ask the person who hasn’t gotten behind
the wheel since leaving the driving test centre.

In 1885, Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus found that “information is often lost very quickly after it is
learned. Factors such as how the information was learned and how frequently it was rehearsed play a role in
how quickly these memories are lost.”

Because we are creatures of comfort, we slide back naturally and easily onto our “comfort couch” and “the
tough stops going”. We need to get off that comfy couch, get out of what we are normally comfortable with –
our Little Comfort Corners – and start practicing what we’ve learnt.

We should listen and observe with our eyes, ears and heart, jot down everything diligently – our short-term
memory has been given too much credit – and drink in the entire experience: failures, frustration et al. If at first we don’t seem to get it, don’t be disappointed or discouraged. Fastidious recording often proves helpful
in remembering what we’re taught because we’re prone to forget.

Recording charts our progress and we can see clearly how far we’ve come and how close we are to reaching
our goal. Bolstered and encouraged, we are unfazed by mistakes; we ignore negative thoughts and feelings of
humiliation and defeat; and when needed, we boldly ask for feedback – be they harsh or kind, we sift out
what is useful – on where we need to improve.

Because learning can be an arduous task, part of learning also requires us to set a goal. Setting a SMART goal
trains us to focus our energy and time to learn the lesson.

SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based”. Here’s some pointers to help
you set your SMART goal:

Be Specific: set clear, well-defined goals to point you in the right direction.

Make sure it’s Measurable: write down a number or weight or one particular skill to master within a certain
date and so on so you can measure your success.

Is it Achievable? Set realistic yet challenging goals that require you to “raise the bar” and bring the greatest
personal satisfaction when you reach every small milestone.

Is it Relevant? With the vision of who you want to be in mind, you’ll develop the focus needed to get ahead
and do what you is necessary.

Time-based: set a start and finish date. If the goal is not time-constrained, there will be no sense of urgency
and subsequently less motivation to achieve it.

Actualisation

Finally, actualisation means that we’ve internalised the lesson. What we’ve learnt and practised hard has now
become a part of us. A self-actualised person are defined as one who is doing all that he or she is capable of,
and living life at its peak. The caterpillar has transformed into a beautiful butterfly. But don’t stop there: the
adventure has just begun. With our newly built abilities and knowledge, we’re ready to reach for higher
heights.

It starts with a willing attitude, then humbly accepting pain, criticisms and picking out the thorns of
discouragement. After picking ourselves up again and again, we hold on to that original spark of desire into
concrete action, which eventually gets moulded into the key that opens the door to an abundant life, which is
ours to have.

Start now. Start today.