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How to learn something (a skill or a subject) F-A-S-T?

“The same level of thinking that created the problem won’t solve the problem.”

Albert Einstein

The problem we are addressing here is to reduce the amount of time it takes to learn something new. For most of us in our adult age, it takes an awful lot of time. As a matter of fact, we tend to operate based on our past experiences and hate to embrace the new idea; anything that requires us to go through a learning curve. (i.e.: a new app that can really streamline the SOPs of your organization)

Before jumping into the topic “how to learn faster” we need to learn “how to learn”.

“There is no learning without remembering.”


If you really want to learn any skill or subject F-A-S-T and make that skill a long term memory; you need to ensure the following steps are in place:

F – Forget
A – Active
S – State
T – Teach

F – Forget: A lot of people don’t learn faster because they feel like, they already know what they are about to learn.

For example, consider a project manager who use to manage every task he assigns to his team members through excel sheets. Now, If you introduce him to a new app that can really streamline the process, he might not like it in the first place as there is a new learning curve associated with it (and he/she already knows how to do it in the old school way).

In the example above, the project manager didn’t embrace change. Although he knew the app has the potential to reduce his workflows and can save him/her some time (in the long run).

But, his stereotypical mind gave him the notion (to keep things as is) and overlook the advantages of incorporating the new app.

So, to learn something new and to learn it F-A-S-T, the first thing you need to do is to Forget the cliches you have in your mind. Remove those “NOs” from your belief system. Believe you “CAN”, your mind works like a parachute, it works only when it is open.

A – Active: Learning is not a spectator sport. The human brain doesn’t learn by means of consuming information. It learns through creating information.

Your mind doesn’t learn based on consumption, it learns through creation or co-creation.

You need to be Active in the process.

Participate, take notes, ask questions, collaborate with your colleagues. The more you will remain active (in process of learning something new), the faster you will learn it.

S – State: All learning is state-dependent. We are talking about the “states” of your mind, and it is not a good idea to learn something new when you are actually feeling bored.

Can you recall those days? When you attended those classes (with a boring course instructor), and you forgot what the teacher delivered right after stepping your feet out of the classroom.

Now consider, the day when you learn “how to ride a bicycle or a moto bike”. It didn’t make you bored to grasp the skills of a bike rider. You engaged your enthusiastic mind in the learning process and the skill became your muscle memory. When you learn something engaging your emotion, it becomes a long-term memory.

Your State of mind plays a crucial role in how fast or slow you learn something. You need to exercise and take proper nutrition to achieve an enthusiastic state of mind; when your body moves, your brain grooves.

T – Teach: Once you grabbed a new skill or expertise, feel free to teach that skill to others. It can be your friend, colleague, family member, or whoever best suits you. When you teach something, you get the opportunity to learn it twice.

Let us step back to our childhood when we were enthusiastic learners. Can you remember, you used to learn things a lot faster and you loved to share your learnings with the people around you?

You can bring in that inner child of yours – the next time you are about to learn something new and follow the steps (we just discussed above), it will make your learning process a lot faster and a whole lot of enjoyable!