While listening to the book The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba, they talk about why learning can be extremely difficult at a young age. They refer to it as you needing to be a Why learner.
Most school kids experience this. The need to learn a lot of meaningless information to pass your exams. It’s hard work when your heart isn’t in it. The reason it’s hard is because they lack a personal reason to why they want to know the subject.
Learning should be a gateway, not a goal.
No wonder why so many people are adverse to continuing their education when they enter adulthood. It brings back memories of the frustration and boredom learning material just to pass an exam.
I reflect on my A-level mathematics (what I studied in the UK at age 16–18). We would be covering pure mathematics which was abstract and confusing. I loved maths, but this was hard.
I was also studying computing, where I was spending countless hours learning the ins and outs of programming. I loved every minute of it.
What I didn’t grasp at the time was the ability to combine both fields. To use my programming to build statistics calculations or computer graphics. What I lacked was a why for my mathematics that would have been perfect for my programming.
Fast forward and there have been many times where this skillset would have been valuable. But I lacked the insight to view my learning from a different perspective.
When I approach my learning now, it always has a purpose. I know why it’s something I’m interested in. This makes it easier to invest my time and energy into learning as I have a measure of progress when I can utilise it in serving my greater purpose.
One such example is my recent curiosity for behavioural science. While I’m at the start of my exploration of this subject, my why is clear. I want to understand what makes people do what they do at the group level. This will help me become a better marketer, a better advertiser and a better communicator to helping people on my mission—to inspire a generation of thinkers and doers.
Deep down, my why is to help understand the fabric of behaviour so I can contribute to a brighter and more actionable future. With this, as I explore the subject of behavioural science, I will do so with focus on my why and passion to succeed. It makes learning a lot more enjoyable.
Today’s Ah-Ha moment is that if you don’t have a why, your learning will be dull and in turn a lot harder to succeed with.
What are you learning right now, and does that align with your why? Let me know.
Want to level up your note-taking and be a deep meaningful thinker? Check out my book Atomic Note-Taking.