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How To Learn Effectively


Man at himself

The world belongs to the effective life-learning people, even more so now with the tremendous velocity of growth of technology and business. The world is experiencing massive ego problems as well, fueled by our addiction to social media and its workings on the mind. This means problems for your learning as learning and ego cannot go in the same bucket. Ego impairs learning.

If you are looking to succeed and live a happy and most importantly, free life. You have to be willing to look dumb and stupid and be ok with it. You have to be willing to crush your ego when it’s needed. Let me explain. 

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”
Epictetus

The premise is simple, you need to develop a lack of concern for what is not important and concern for what do is important. Where do you place your concern? If you place it on managing other people’s opinions about you, for example, your mind will be busy thinking about how to resolve the problem of appearances and looking good, smart or whatever. 

Your mind is constantly solving problems, you cannot stop or control your mind from not doing so. What you can control, however, is the quality of problems that you throw into your mind. 

Real-life Example

Suppose that you are trying to learn how to go out and have without drinking alcohol. That’s a hard one as you need to discover how to have fun and be social without the help of the holy liquid literally everyone uses. When you are drunk, you don’t really care, but sober? That’s another story. In sobriety, you realize that you have to be willing to look dumb and stupid in order to learn how to be social without the help of booze and be able to put yourself out there. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The more you do it, the more you realize just how much you get in your own way by trying to look good, smart, funny, and social. 

I’ve been having a really hard time doing this, but let me tell you that every night you go out without drinking and you come back home, you feel different, you feel learned and improved in social skills, whereas when you are drunk, you just go to bed, you don’t reflect. After a couple of nights of doing it, you begin to realize stuff that you don’t realize while intoxicated, so while other people are on the alcohol plateau, you begin to rise in your social skills. 

But you have to be willing to look dumb and stupid to learn, it’s a fundamental part of the process. The same holds true for life, you cannot learn how to read with a handkerchief blocking your vision. 

How to go about this

A big one is to go out one night without drinking. You’ll notice it instantly, the social anxiety will rise and will make you feel dumb and unengaging. This, of course, is a good thing. Don’t expect the learning experience to feel good in the moment. It will hurt as you are crushing your ego, but, it will feel great in the future. You cannot really learn when things are going smooth. You need challenges, you need to put yourself out there. 

The goal is to eliminate that need to look good, cool or whatever. Once you eliminate that need, you are free again to be you and to focus on quality problems. 

“Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.”
Epictetus

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

It’s easy to think that you can disregard your concern about the things you cannot control, it feels good to read quotes, but to apply them? Man, that’s a whole different business.

So, to conclude. You need to practice, there’s no way around it. The obstacle is the way. Catch yourself every time you are impeding and stagnating your learning and growth because of the fear of social disapproval. If it helps, bear in mind that you are not a kid anymore, you don’t need mommy and daddy to tell you you are being a good or a bad boy. Become an adult, own your life. 

Hey, lastly, I know drinking is a huge topic for many so I will begin to talk more about it. In the mean time I wanted to show you this video from Theo Von. It’s very real and talks deep about our need to be loved and the impact relationships have on our addictions. Hope it helps and opens your perspective. Until next time.

Why Theo Von Got Sober

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I’m always open to suggestions and am happy to answer any questions. stoicanswers@gmail.com

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