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20 Ways to be a Life-long Learner!

We all have one major job before us--to keep learning! This deck is intended to make your life a bit easier. Enjoy, like it, download it and share it!

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20 Ways to be a Life-long Learner!

  2. 2. Lifelong learner: (n) Someone who, is motivated to keep learning actively on an ongoing basis… aka. someone who will be able to thrive even when everything around them is changing.
  3. 3. Being a Life-Long Learner!! ------------------------------------------- ------------------------When I was a kid, my grandmother used to joke about my desire to be a lifelong student. I wanted to learn dance, I wanted to learn Volleyball, I wanted to learn Science and I wanted to learn Economics. Like me, she also was a PhD. But she was much much more--in addition to her masters and PhD in History, she had a parallel set of qualifications in Hindi Literature. The original lifelong learner! So I am delighted to bring to you this new series 20 WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER! Each weekday for the next few weeks, I will share one tip on becoming a lifelong learner--and no better time for this, as we prepare ourselves for knowledge that gets obsolete not long after it gets printed!! And if you would like a copy of the entire 20--just add your email address in the comments below (or DM your email to me)--and I shall share the complete set once it is public. Enjoy reading. AND share, like, download any of the pages!
  4. 4. #1 Empty your Cup!! 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER
  5. 5. "Empty your cup" is attributed to a famous conversation between the scholar Tokusan (also called Te-shan Hsuan-chien, 782-865) and Zen Master Ryutan (Lung-t'an Ch'ung-hsin or Longtan Chongxin, 760-840). The "Empty Your Cup" Conversation Scholar Tokusan--who was full of knowledge and opinions about the dharma--came to Ryutan and asked about Zen. At one point Ryutan re-filled his guest's teacup but did not stop pouring when the cup was full. Tea spilled out and ran over the table. "Stop! The cup is full!" said Tokusan. "Exactly," said Master Ryutan. "You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup.” Source: Barabara O’Brian
  6. 6. This is harder than we may realize. By the time we reach adulthood we are so full of information that we don't even notice it's there. We might consider ourselves to be open-minded, but in fact, everything we learn is filtered through many assumptions and then classified to fit into the knowledge we already possess.
  7. 7. There is a way out—but it is difficult. It is about being able to hold every new idea as a hypothesis to be tested and verified. And keeping our opinions aside—at least temporarily. Eventually of course we will need to decide which ideas to accept or reject based on how well they explain the world.
  8. 8. #2 Expect to be awkward at the start 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER
  9. 9. Remember how hard it was when you started driving —there was so much to remember – all at once…
  10. 10. And today you can comfortably sip your coffee, listen to music, all while driving with ease…
  11. 11. Well this is because when you start to learn something new, you need new wiring between the neurons in your brain. Once you practice the new skill a few times—your brain gets wired afresh and now this takes far less conscious effort. Beginnings feel awkward…
  12. 12. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Persistence is your friend #3
  13. 13. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Read like Bill Gates #4
  14. 14. Did you know that Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year? How does he do this? 1.Keeps an hour aside every evening for reading. 2.Takes notes in the margins as he reads so that he is actively engaged and focused. 3.Never starts a book he wont finish.
  15. 15. Watch him speak about it here:
  16. 16. Fun Fact! Handwriting your notes as you engage with a book— improves what you retain!!
  17. 17. Or Watch the Netflix Documentary: Inside Bills Mind. “I’ve been with him on vacation and he’ll read 14 books,” friend Bernie Noe recalled. “That’s a gift, to read 150 pages an hour. I’m gonna say it’s 90 percent retention. Kind of extraordinary.”
  18. 18. The bag that accompanies him on his travels…
  19. 19. Other millionaires seem to read a lot too…
  20. 20. What are you reading today?
  21. 21. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Podcasts! #5
  22. 22. Podcasts are a great way to keep learning… 1. On your daily commute 2. Morning Walk/ Evening Walk 3. On a Flight (need to download the episode)
  23. 23. Some influential marketers even believe that podcasts are the future because they are easily accessed by Alexa or Siri. And they are a great alternative for those who prefer listening to reading.
  24. 24. Early signs suggest he is right---
  25. 25. Source: LinkedIn Marketing Penetration of Podcasts in India is still low…wonder why?
  26. 26. Globally… Source: LinkedIn Marketing
  27. 27. Here’s how to start: 1. Browse through online lists of the best podcasts in your area of interest. 2. iphone users can use Apple Podcasts app Android users can use Google play music or Google Podcasts OR simply use Spotify or Soundcloud to play. (personally I like Spotify premium because you can download and hear a juicy episode on flights…) 3. Take voice notes when you hear something useful—press pause and make a voice note to self…you can also use an app to transcribe these into text if you prefer… (e.g. Otter for note taking)
  28. 28. Here’s what I heard today:.
  29. 29. Bonus: Most Podcasts are Free! Happy Listening and Learning!
  30. 30. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Online Courses #6
  31. 31. Online Courses are great when you want to learn a topic in a structured format. There is such a wide variety of online courses available today. From University Courses to Private Instructors. If you are interested in a topic that many others are also interested in—there is likely a course online. Here are some to get started…
  32. 32. The most well known of tall MOOCs-Coursera is a great place for professionals to keep attending college—that too elite courses with elite professors! Coursera
  33. 33. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are University Courses taught by University Professors—intended to reach the every-day student like you and me. They are a great way to make sure your knowledge in your subject area is in sync with the latest conversations. Bonus--they are also a great way to gain an insight into other functional areas!
  34. 34. LinkedIn Learning LinkedIn bought Lynda in 2015 and now offers these courses on its own platform. These come free with LinkedIn premium (not sure how else one accesses them).
  35. 35. Masterclass Where Helen Mirren teaches Acting, Shonda Rhimes teaches Screenwriting, Steve Martin teaches Comedy. Now these classes may not directly transfer to the organizational world—but they are an amazing window into the craft of some of todays greatest artists and professionals
  36. 36. The Great Courses The Great Courses and its sister website—Great Courses plus offer a huge variety of courses that allow you to learn frankly such a wide range of topics. Though this is one site I haven’t personally experienced (as yet).
  37. 37. Udemy Udemy offers a great range of courses from instructors teaching you How-To Courses. I use Udemy often when I want to quickly learn something helpful. The courses are quite inexpensive too.
  38. 38. But that is not all—the list is endless. Private Instructors, Your Favorite Teacher—It is likely that each of them either has (or will soon have) their own course online. With the flexibility of time and very affordable prices—there are few excuses to not keep learning.
  39. 39. The Worldwide e-learning market is predicted to be $325 Bn by 2025. That is Huge!! What are you learning next?
  40. 40. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Executive Education #7 Prof. Peter Cappelli teaches at Wharton Exec. Ed. He is someone I admire greatly.
  41. 41. No matter which college you studied at, there may come a time when you want another shot at sitting in the classroom and listening to what some amazing professors have to say. If that is you—then take a look at the Executive Education programs in your field.
  42. 42. What you can learn goes way beyond just the class lectures. You learn from other participants to the program, and you learn from the guest speakers. Executive Education gives you an opportunity to interact with the best and brightest in your field!
  43. 43. Just Remember-- The most prestigious programs can be somewhat competitive in their selection. AND can come with a BIG price tag.
  44. 44. Getting started— You can either check out the rankings of exec-ed programs to see where to go. Or simply look at the programs offered by your favorite professor or favorite/ aspirational school.
  45. 45. The most popular IIM Courses in India— 1. Executive Program in Business Analytics. 2. Executive Program in Leadership and Management. 3. Executive Program in Sales and Marketing 4. Executive Program in Human Resource Management 5. Executive Program in Business Finance 6. Executive Program in Advanced Business Analytics source: courses-in-India-for-professionals
  46. 46. Executive Education at ISB
  47. 47. Many prestigious International Universities today are actively seeking participation from Indian executives. Some even have a tie-up with an Indian partner for deeper outreach. When the time is right—seek out the best!
  48. 48. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Learning from everyday experiences#8
  49. 49. The most agile learners are those who can learn the most from their experiences each day. When it really matters--
  50. 50. Experiential learning is actually the most natural form of learning for our species. From the time we were little children, experiential learning helped us to learn “How To” make sense of the world around us and navigate it better. As we become adults, for some of us—the process of conscious seeking out of new experiences and making sense of them—may slow down. This slow down can be because we are very busy and have no time to really try and extract learnings from each experience. Or it could slow down because we no longer feel as driven to keep learning. Yet, the most successful careers over the long term-– belong to people who are consciously learning—each day.
  51. 51. How can you learn more from your day to day experiences? 1. There is so much to be learnt from our every day experiences IF we have the right mindset for it. 2. Get into the habit of taking notes—right after each meeting. You could do this as a voice note or written note. These notes should capture the key outcomes of your meeting, and also your key observations. 3. Create a rhythm around how often you would revisit these notes for reflection. This could be once a day—at the end of the day OR it could be once a week. 4. Synthesize your new learnings as hypothesis to be tested out further.
  52. 52. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Journaling#9
  53. 53. Journaling allows you quiet time for the most important step of learning--- Reflection!
  54. 54. Just 15 minutes a day can allow you to reflect on and capture your most important experiences from the day. Building your “learning agility”– a key indicator of leadership potential.
  55. 55. But that’s not all…
  56. 56. Journaling also allows you to: 1. De-stress 2. Become more creative 3. Record progress through life’s goals 4. Reconnect with your bigger goals.
  57. 57. You can watch Robin Sharma talk about it here: Here’s how to journal…
  58. 58. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Strong Opinions Loosely Held#10
  59. 59. Some years ago, in an interview, Bezos described a characteristic of people who were “right a lot”— The people who changed their minds He had observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they had already solved. They are open to new information, new ideas and new ways of looking at a problem
  60. 60. Originally credited to Stanford Professor Paul Saffo, “Strong Opinions, Loosely Held” is a philosophy that permeates how many of the smartest people think. Since you often have incomplete information on any forecast or decision. Go through what you have and then come up with a point of view—quickly. But then (and this is the hard part)—think of all the ways this can be wrong. And keep revising your views based on the information you get. Strong Opinions, Loosely Held In a world changing so fast—holding on to your views tightly will not serve you well. You will be wrong—a lot! And unless you seek out contradictory information, you won’t see any.
  61. 61. “What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.” ― Mark Twain Strong Opinions allow you to move ahead decisively. Loosely Held allows you to keep revising your course as you uncover new information
  62. 62. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER The Ping-Pong Technique#11
  63. 63. The Ping Pong technique is about alternating between two different modes of thinking: 1. The Focused Mode: When you are directly tackling the problem at hand, thinking of solutions in a well, focused manner. 2. The Diffuse Mode: When you allow your mind to wander around. The problem is in the background.
  64. 64. Just like a game of Ping-Pong, you consciously alternate between focused and diffuse thinking
  65. 65. When your brain is in focused mode—it solves problems around familiar lines, often in linear ways. On the other hand when your brain is in diffuse mode—it solves problems by going “out of the box” in creative ways You can learn to consciously alternate between the two. Start by working in a diffuse mode. And then when you have been thinking of the problem for a while. Pause. Let your mind wander. You can go for a walk or take a bath or go to sleep. In the diffuse mode—while you are not consciously working on the problem you are most likely to come up with creative insights
  66. 66. Many creative and original thinkers have used the Ping Pong method to think deeply and problem solve.
  67. 67. Learn more in this very interesting video
  68. 68. What big problem are you working on?
  69. 69. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Chunking!#12
  70. 70. Chunking is the act of putting together little bits of information into one comprehensible whole.
  71. 71. The truth is we have a very limited capacity to hold individual items in our working memory at once. And it takes a large amount of effort!
  72. 72. But if we can link them up into one bigger “packet” of information…
  73. 73. We immediately can hold large amounts of information together.
  74. 74. When learning something new--- practice it in small chunks—and then combine these to learn even very large skills!
  75. 75. You can now learn ANYTHING using this very powerful tool! Even things that comprise of many many individual skills—e.g. write a book, start a business, start a video channel, or even become a great leader!!
  76. 76. Learn more here!
  77. 77. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Build Diverse Networks #13 The strength of weak ties
  78. 78. Ideas often travel in networks. By being part of diverse networks you can connect the dots far better than someone who speaks to people of only one background.
  79. 79. One of the most powerful ideas of all time in the field of Sociology is the strength of weak ties! About 4 decades ago, Granovetter studied what kinds of networks helped people develop better careers. He discovered that it was better to be part of many diverse networks than deeply embedded within a single one. The diversity of your network is now more important than ever—it reflects the many sources of your ideas. you can read more here-- “The Strength of Weak Ties!!”
  80. 80. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Unlearning!#14
  81. 81. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
  82. 82. Now strictly speaking there is no such thing as “unlearning”. Neural connections once made do not simply get disconnected. What does happen is that when you make a conscious choice to explore alternative perspectives, you are able to develop alternate pathways. And over time what is a default perspective today, becomes one of many other alternative perspectives.
  83. 83. “As a CEO, I am finding that I have to become a learning CEO. I have to go to school all the time because I am learning new skills that I need to run this company and I am realising that I am not equipped to just coast, I have to constantly renew my skills,”
  84. 84. A Simple Approach To Unlearning Here’s the simple, ingenious approach to safely transform your old learning or habit super quickly: Simply “flood” or overwhelm the old action with the newly desired action or habit! This approach works much like a full immersion approach to learning a foreign language. It's a bit daunting at first, but you quickly improve since all the learning is fresh and new. You’ll move from a rank beginner to minimally competent fairly quickly and then progress to proficient, simply because all your focus is on the newly desired learning rather than the old action. Total immersion into a society where daily activities depend upon the proper use of the language provides the key here. You can read more here at - unlearn-is-so-important/#45e39e612444
  85. 85. Role-models!#15 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER
  86. 86. Humans are learning and social animals. We learn so much about what is possible and how to get there—simply by watching others.
  87. 87. Eklavya and Dronacharya To think of how much one can learn from a role model—simply remember the story of Eklavya…
  88. 88. Having a role model helps us: 1. Envision a future possible self, AND 2. Learn from their strategies, experiences and skills.
  89. 89. 1. Create your own team of role-models to learn from. Perhaps people who have done the kind of work that you hope to. This is like your personal panel of guides. 2. Read about them, watch their interviews, and think of what you can keep learning from their journey.
  90. 90. Mentors!#16 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Famous Celebrities and their Mentors Mentee Mentors Viola Davis Bill Gates Mark Zuckerberg Meryl Streep Steve Jobs Warren Buffet
  91. 91. What is the real difference between a role model and a mentor? A mentor can be a role model but plays more active role According to the online dictionary…. Mentor Role Model ‘A ​person who gives a ​younger or less ​experienced ​person ​help and ​advice over a ​period of ​time, ​especially at ​work or ​school’ ‘A person who serves as an example of the values, attitudes, and behaviors associated with a role. Role models can also be persons who distinguish themselves in such a way that others admire and want to emulate them.’
  92. 92. Role models are those people that you look up to, admire, and would model your behaviour after. A mentor, on the other hand, is usually someone who has invested time and effort in helping you along the way. Mentors would usually be in the same field as you, providing you with insights and key learnings that would help shape your development. Whereas, a role model can specialize in any field – providing inspiration through their moral values, achievements, success and/or their story.
  93. 93. Watch Tai Lopez talk about why you need a mentor (in the form of a person, or even a book)
  94. 94. Yet…Good mentors are very hard to come by, because quite honestly—why should anyone at the top of their game—give so much of their time.
  95. 95. How To Find A Mentor Here are some tips for finding a good mentor… 1. Do not ask strangers to be your mentors – As Sheryl Sandberg says, “If someone has to ask the question, the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious.” Strangers (especially celebrities or famous businesspersons) will virtually always have to say "no" to mentoring requests from strangers. This is probably because they have no interpersonal relationship with you, they are unaware of your abilities/potential, they are constantly bombarded with this question, and they most likely just don’t have the time. 2. If you do want to be mentored by a stranger you admire, rather than asking for mentorship, Ask for their views on a specific subject. Many people will spare 15 mins to help you out. follow their work, be helpful and supportive. 3. Be someone who is enjoyable to mentor - Be great at what you do - Promote the success of your mentor. - Be positive and helpful yourself.
  96. 96. You can also learn more here:
  97. 97. Who would have imagined that the MOST popular course on Coursera is on “Learning to Learn”.
  98. 98. Well it turns out that being a good learner is not just about being smart—Many people are smart. People who understand “How To Learn” outperform people who are simply smart on learning—the data shows
  99. 99. “Here’s how to be better at learning: 1. Have goals for learning. 2. Become conscious of how you are learning. 3. Reflect on your learning By being a “deliberate learner” you will also become a better learner.
  100. 100. Executive Coaching#17 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER
  101. 101. What is Executive Coaching? An executive coach is a qualified professional that works with individuals (usually executives, but often high potential employees) to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential, and act as a sounding board.
  102. 102. As opposed to just advising the clients, through a process of inquiry, dialogue, and other tools, the coach serves as a thought partner to help the client examine and develop his or her decision-making, experiment with new ways of thinking and being, and commit to action steps that help achieve the client’s goals. "Coaching is not telling people what to do; it's giving them a chance to examine what they are doing in light of their intentions."
  103. 103. Why do clients hire an Executive Coach? • To develop the leadership skills of high- potential individuals. • To improve the odds that newly promoted managers would be successful. • To develop management and leadership skills among their technical people. • To correct behavioral problems at the management level. • To help leaders resolve interpersonal conflicts among employees. Executive Coaches are usually hired for one of the following purposes,
  104. 104. How do you know if you’re ready for an Executive Coach? If upon asking yourself the following questions, the answer to most is yes, then it may be time to seek a professional coach, 1. Do You Know What You Don't Know? 2. Do You Know Where You’d Like To Be? 3. Do You Have Clear Professional Goals? 4. Can You Focus On The Present? 5. Are You Interested In Developing Yourself? 6. Do You Face A Critical Decision About Your Life Or Career? 7. Are You Hearing You Need to Change But Aren't Sure How? 8. Do You Have the Time and Resources to Invest?
  105. 105. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Exercise#18
  106. 106. Believe it or not—exercise can be the single most important thing we do to look after our brains
  107. 107. How Exercise Helps Your Brain? A single workout will increase the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain for about 2 hours after— Which means better mood and faster reaction time. 1 2 Regular exercise results in more brain cells in the hippocampus area Which means better long-term memory
  108. 108. How Exercise Helps Your Brain? Regular exercise means a stronger pre-frontal cortex. Which means increased attention span and focus. 4 3 Long term exercise changes the brain physiology so that it doesn’t decline as much with age Which means you will stay sharper--longer
  109. 109. Watch Prof. Wendy Suzuki, NYU speak about why she considers exercise the most important thing you can do for your brain
  110. 110. It seems that the old saying ”all work and no play make jack a very dull boy” may be true after all 
  111. 111. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER A Scientific Temperament#19
  112. 112. A scientific temperament is about wanting to test out your ideas in the real world— and being open to whatever the outcomes.
  113. 113. We don’t necessarily need the precision of scientific experiments. Instead, what we need is curiosity and the willingness to test out our ideas rather than hold on to them strongly. And there are huge business applications for the scientific method too!
  114. 114. Resist the urge to conclude and freeze your views. Being open to alternative explanations is an important mindset 1 How to use the Scientific Method for growing and learning each day? 2 Consider the simplest ways to test your ideas-- just like scientists test out out hypotheses. For instance if this idea is true—what else should you see happening? Does that correspond to your finding?
  115. 115. Consciously resist seeking confirmation. We all do this—seek confirmation for our views. You will need to consciously resist the urge. 3 Use the outcomes of the experiment for newer hypotheses You have learnt something new for sure. But there is no end to it. Treat this as yet another “working hypothesis”. 4
  116. 116. And there are huge business applications for the scientific method too!
  117. 117. The lean start-up method is an application of the scientific method for start-ups!
  118. 118. Sleep#20 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER
  119. 119. It turns out that simply being awake— releases toxins in the brain. BUT Sleep allows our brain cells to shrink and these toxins to be released That feeling of having a clear head— Well that’s real!!
  120. 120. Interesting facts about Sleep!
  121. 121. What’s more--- Sleep is critical for the consolidation of memories and insights gained during the day!
  122. 122. The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Learning and Performance When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, over-worked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information. We lose our ability to make sound decisions because we can no longer accurately assess the situation, plan accordingly, and choose the correct behavior. Judgment becomes impaired. Although chronic sleep deprivation affects different individuals in a variety of ways (and the effects are not entirely known), it is clear that a good night’s rest has a strong impact on learning and memory.
  123. 123. To learn more about the effects of adequate sleep on the brain’s functions, watch any of these videos
  124. 124. Or my personal favorite—From “Learning how to learn” by Barbara Oakley
  125. 125. Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep Schedule • Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep- wake cycle. - One can do this by sleeping and waking up at the same time every day – even on weekends. - Be smart about napping – limit them to between 15- 20 minutes, and before 3pm. • Control your exposure to light. - You can do this by avoiding bright screens 1-2 hours before bedtime. - Say no to late night television. Do not read with back-lit devices. • Exercise during the day. - 30 minutes a day is the recommended dosage for a good night’s sleep, but even a light 10-minute walk during the day can improve your sleeping quality. • Be smart about what you eat and drink. - Limit caffeine and nicotine. - Avoid heavy meals and/or alcohol before or near to your bedtime.
  126. 126. And with this we come to an end of our series on 20 ways to become a lifelong learner! If you want this slide deck as a keepsake— write to me at
  127. 127. 20WAYS TO BE A LIFELONG LEARNER Learn how to Learn on Coursera BONUS!!

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  • VikasArora17

    May. 3, 2021

We all have one major job before us--to keep learning! This deck is intended to make your life a bit easier. Enjoy, like it, download it and share it!


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