I am sure we all have heard of the common saying “knowledge is Power”, we might also heard of “the more you read, the more things you know.” While I agree with the former, I don’t necessarily agree with the latter. I have read a lot, on a wide variety of topics. However, I didn’t feel that I was smarter and have gained expertise from the the subject areas that I have read. This is because I was reading so fast and so much that I was not able to retain much of what I read. The memory of my brain was kept on being overwritten with the new material that I read. I have concluded that to truly gain knowledge you, you not only have to read about it, but also write about it, discuss about it, observe it in action, and put it in action yourself. In other words, you have to engage all of your sense in order to internalize knowledge.
Here are some of the ways that I have tried to retain more of what I learned.
- Talk about it. Right after I learned about something, be it from reading a book, an article or from attending a lecture or seminar. I would find an opportunity to talk about with someone. Whenever possible, I would engage in a group discussion about the concept or idea that I have learned, it helps with deepening my understanding while listening to other perspectives. The connections you make with other people will always make things stick a little better.
- Teach it. I seek out opportunity to teach what I learned. I would seek out the appropriate audience, of course. For example, when learned ways to do multi-digit multiplications without a calculation, I taught it to my nephews right ways. They were high schoolers, they interaction with arithmetic all the time as part of their study and were able to follow when I taught them.
- Practice it. Turn ideas into actions. The best way to learn is by doing it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. No matter how good the explanation, you will not get it right the first time. That’s because your perspective will inevitably be a little different from the writer/speaker/demonstrator.
Next time you learn something, try to do something with it. Write a posting about it and share. Talk about it with friends and family. Do an audio or video on it. Remember “knowledge is power”. Reading is not equivalent to knowledge. A simple concept is never just learned, it needs to be talked, discussed, written, demonstrated, felt, applied etc.