Learn How to Learn

woman on couch with Spanish grammar book on her face

I’ve always wanted to speak Spanish, so this year I finally took the plunge and started learning it. At first I was using an online application (Duolingo), and then I started doing two one-hour sessions per week with a teacher. My wife Heidi is also learning the language, but she finds it much easier than I do and is way ahead of me on the learning curve. Whereas Heidi can hear a word once and remember it (I swear she is just shy of having a photographic memory), it can take me 20-30 times of trying to find the word I just learned in my lesson before I finally remember it.

After feeling like I wasn’t making enough progress, I decided to adapt they way I learn and incorporated flashcards into my learning system. This meant I had to work more in between lessons, but the result was noticeable right away – as soon as I started this new learning method, my teacher and I both saw improvements.

I’ve realized that the solution isn’t always to put in more effort but rather to change things up and try something different.

I share this story as a reminder for all of us to consider what is working and what isn’t in our work practices. Like learning a new language, I know there are some systems, processes, and tasks that I find difficult to do. I’ve realized that the solution isn’t always to put in more effort but rather to change things up and try something different. When something isn’t working smoothly, consider changing your approach and testing out other methods of working at the task or process.


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Randy Grieser, Author, Speaker

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