I believe that the ability to learn is one of the most important things in life. And I don't mean learning about things that don't interest you just because you have an exam to sit. I mean learning the proper way, by exploring something that really interests you in an almost playful way.
When you start learning about things that are relevant to you, then you absorb far more information than you do when studying other things, and the information is also more likely to be put to use to change your life.
Below, I have copied and pasted a note I wrote to myself about learning, and what I think it entails. Have a look and see what you think:
1. Be aware of the major beliefs and world view that you hold, as it will become the filter for your information. Do you believe this is a designed world? Do you believe there is good and evil? Or do you believe everything is random? All these will decide which information yoy absorb and the connections that you can draw from them.
2. Have a goal that you are wanting to accomplish, and focus your learning around that. You will absorb more information if you intend to use it and it is relevant to you.
3. Choose the right resources to learn from. Use books and talk to those with experience.
4. Think for yourself. If you find that majority of the people are in agreement with your findings, time to look deeper. The truth is never immediately available. To determine if something is true or not, look for consistency with the other knowledge and wisdom you already have.
5. Be willing to change your mind when there is a good case for it. You will need to constantly update your beliefs about things which you do not know much about. You will also need to constantly challenge your assumptions about things.
6. If you are learning about something that can be praticed, then do so as you will gain invaluable experience which you can't get through books. It will teach you intuition and teach you what not to do. The pain involved in trying something and failing is the best teacher.
Having knowledge is like looking in the right direction. By itself it does not accomplish anything, but when you walk in the right direction (which is the application part), then you get somewhere. And the more correct the direction, the less time and effort it takes to get to the destination.