Learning Is the Best Weapon You Have to Become Extraordinary
“The greatest investment a young person can make is in their own education, in their own mind. Because money comes and goes. Relationships come and goes. But what you learn once stays with you forever.”
Many people don’t realize it, but learning is the most important skill you can ever learn.
Learning can help you pick up an instrument.
Learning can help you speak another language.
Learning can help you build deeper relationships.
Learning can help you survive in today’s business and prepare for the future.
If learning is so useful in so many aspects of our life, why aren’t we investing more time into it? Why are we instead scrolling through our Facebook feed or watching videos, day by day?
As someone who never used to take time out of her day to learn, I now spend a good portion of my day to learn, and the reason is because: learning has turned my whole life around, from someone who didn’t understand much about herself or the world, to someone who takes initiative at every turn to learn something more.
I realized knowledge is power, even when it may not be important at the moment because you can still access it when the situation calls for it.
I mean if one day I bump across a CEO at a coffeeshop and hear him ask what the difference is between white and regular coffee, I could easily approach him and make small talk based on what I’ve read about white coffee. And perhaps, this could birth a new friendship.
Or perhaps a stranger asked me to take a photo of her at the beach. I could tap into the hours of research I’d done on photography and use my new-found skill to snap the perfect picture. And this would fine-tune my photography skills.
Learning brings opportunities that could help you grow beyond what you thought you could be. It’s the most powerful weapon you can use to change your world, to become extraordinary.
All it takes to learn something once and for all is to get started. An example is when I’d browsed through Reddit the other day and stumbled across this post, a goldmine of useful advice. Many were things I already knew but the things I didn’t, blew my mind.
Here’re some of my favorite ones (slightly reworded for readability) that should hopefully impact you as much as it did for me in terms of enhancing your everyday life.
When emailing someone…
Don’t fill in the “To” field until you’re completely done with the email.
It saves you from accidentally sending out badly written emails, half finished emails and emails you’ve never sent because you have more time to think about how you can write it better.
When microwaving food…
Make it into the shape of a ring or donut — basically just hollow out the middle. This heats your food up significantly quicker and more evenly.
When resolving an issue with someone who made an error…
Put the focus on the error, not the person.
For example: Someone sends me an email without the attachment. Instead of saying, “You didn’t send the attachment,” I’d say, “The attachment didn’t come through. Please try sending it again.”
It might not seem like a huge deal, but people are more likely to become defensive or hostile when you blame them, even if it was their fault.
When walking on a sidewalk and approaching a group of people heading towards you…
Slow down a pace slower than theirs. People subconsciously yield to those who walk more slowly. It generally works.
Mean it and explain why, but don’t ever say “but” because this just makes it sound like you’re making excuses.
Don’t say: “I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, but I had a bad day.”
Say: “I’m sorry if I offended you. I had a bad day.”
Or better yet: “I had a bad day because the air conditioning broke and I had to work in my own sweat for the next 8 hours and it caused me to release my frustration on you. I’m sorry.”
When trying to sleep but you can’t…
Blink your eyes rapidly for a minute. Tired eyes make you fall asleep quicker.
When responding to advice…
Say “You’re right” instead of saying “I know”.
“I know” has this condescending tone that makes you look like you don’t care about what the other person has said.
“You’re right” on the other hand shows that you’re actually listening, that you care about what they say and you give them credit for helping you.
When giving advice…
Use the phrase “perhaps” instead of “I think”; it comes off more as a suggestion and not an opinion. It will be more likely heard and taken into consideration.
Don’t say: I think you would feel better drinking hot water if you’re sick.
Say: Perhaps you would feel better drinking hot water if you’re sick.
When going to the bathroom in the middle of the night…
Close one eye until after you finish peeing, then turn off the bathroom light. The closed eye will be able to see the darkness and you will be able to get back to your room without stubbing your toe or tripping.
When clipping your nails…
Wet your nail clippers before using them. Your clippings won’t fly everywhere.
When you want a cool beverage FAST…
Take any beverage in a bottle or can (beer, coke, etc) that’s warm, wrap in wet paper towels and put in the freezer for 5–10 minutes. It’ll be ice cold.
When you made a mistake at work…
Say “I was under the impression” instead of “I assumed”. It gives a more professional touch when explaining to your boss about a mistake you’ve done.
When you want to end a conversation with someone who keeps talking…
Drop something. They’ll pause when you go to pick it up. Use that opportunity to speak, as you pick up whatever you dropped.
Other amazing things:
Plastic wrap/cling wrap goes in your freezer. This makes the product actually work, where the plastic can easily wrap your food without sticking to itself.
X% of Y is equal to Y% of X. It’s made my mental math so much easier.
Example: 4% of 200 =200% of 4 = 8
To end this, I’d like to bring up a story I’d read recently. An 8-year old boy saved the life of his 7-year old classmate from choking by immediately grabbing her neck and performing the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts).
It’s a first-aid technique most people don’t know how to do, but it was a random piece of knowledge that the boy acquired.
Can you imagine what might’ve happened if the boy never learned this skill? Where would the girl be?
“Every piece of knowledge, no matter how obscure and random, may eventually come in handy.” ~Jon Lee
And while it might not be as crazy as saving a life, it’s enough to help you progress in life.