How does one keep up with research, learning and reading while balancing a job, family and other life constraints?
Better yet, how do we learn more effectively and efficiently when there’s an endless stream of information coming at us at all times?
My answer might surprise you.
In this episode, I go deep on the tools, strategies and framework I use to stay up to date, read broadly and apply constantly.
But the best part is that no matter your learning style, constraints or limitations, I promise there’s something applicable for you:
- How to filter and prioritize which information to consume and when (11:45)
- The best way to transfer knowledge into wisdom (13:50)
- Different methods and techniques to index/ categorize your notes (23:50)
- Ways to use constraints to keep you on track (34:30)
Whether these tips are helpful or not, we would really appreciate your feedback! Please reach out to us at email@example.com to let us know what was most helpful, what you’d like to learn or hear more about, or how we can provide you with more value!
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Brett Bartholomew 0:11
Hey everyone, if you’re the type that likes giving back and you appreciate philanthropy into a good cause, then consider going to artofcoaching.com/booksale. Once or twice a year, we do a sale of my book conscious coaching. And we provide signed copies. Now, as I’ve said before, I don’t sign these copies as a way to say, Hey, I’m big time, or I’m famous, that’s certainly not the case, I sign it to personalize it out of appreciation. My book is usually only available on Amazon. But we do open it up certain times of year for the sign copies on our webpage, it’s more than 20% off. So to give you a frame of reference, even on Amazon, usually they charge about $25 for the book, you can get it right now for 1199, plus shipping, it is actually my handwriting, and be careful what you wish for because it’s awful. And we will personalize it because we appreciate you. And of course, one of these proceeds goes to the Alzheimer’s Association, and leukemia lymphoma foundation. So again, go to artofcoaching.com/booksale, that’s artofcoaching.com/booksale.
A huge thank you to Momentous for sponsoring this episode of the podcast. And also a huge thank you for changing your sleep formula. Now in the past momentum has had some great sleep products, but they also had melatonin in it. And this was a problem for me, because while it would put me to sleep, I’d also wake up feeling groggy. And the problem is, if you don’t know those sleep products that are loaded with melatonin, well it serves a purpose. It comes with some side effects. And it’s not meant for daily use, and not everybody is going to have the same response to it. So Momentous is simplified everything and their new sleep pack has three naturally occurring ingredients. Magnesium apigenin, L-theanine, and together, they create a powerful sleep cocktail that aids in the transition to sleep. It is not a sleeping pill, I want to repeat, it’s not a sleeping pill, it’s not going to make you feel drowsy or groggy. And when paired with other habits, it is going to improve your quality and quantity of sleep. I promise I’m not BS-ing you at this, especially because I cannot afford to take things that make me feel that way when I have to get up and speak or do the podcast or coach. So if you need to perform at a high level, and you can’t afford to wake up groggy, and you don’t want to have to resort to having three, four or five cups of coffee, just to get rid of that drowsiness. Make sure you check it out. You can always on anything Momentous save 15% By using code Brett15 that’s br e t t one five. That’s code Brett, e r e t t, one five. You can also just go to livemomentous.com/artofcoaching and as always, these links are in the show notes. So if you’re busy, you’re driving anything like that, just come back at another time set an alarm on your phone, tap the link and make sure to live momentous.
Welcome to the Art of coaching Podcast. I’m Brett Bartholomew. And at a young age poor communication nearly cost me my life. Now, I help others navigate the gray area of social interaction, power dynamics and communication so they can become more adaptable leaders regardless of their profession, age or situation. This podcast is for everybody who is fascinated with solving people problems. So if you’re in the no nonsense type who appreciates frank conversations, advice you can put to use immediately and learning how others navigate the messy realities of leadership. You’re in the right place. I’m glad that you’re joining us. Let’s dive in.
Alright, let’s get into it. You’re joining me from a hotel room in Miami, Florida. I am actually here facilitating our last live event of the year. This is for our coalition group. And because my son decided to go off the rails this morning, I was not able to record before I got on the flight. So I’m excited to be able to bring this episode to you despite all those constraints. And we have been going now officially nonstop since December 2018. So before I go any further, if you would be so kind to consider leaving a review on Spotify on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to this show. We would deeply appreciate it. We really try our best to show up every week and give you some value, we understand we are far from perfect. But if you’ve learned anything whatsoever from this show, please just take a moment many of you may not know this. But those reviews are so much more than a pat on the back. That is not the point at all. All of these things operate off of an algorithm. And the only way that small family owned businesses like ours, and shows like ours don’t get buried by the NPR is of the world, the podcasts that are sponsored by larger radio corporations or celebrities, is through your reviews. So please take a minute, just give an honest review, we really appreciate it.
All right to meat of the interview. This one comes as a result of another one of the open ended questions that we allow you guys to submit on our webpage. So if you’re new to the show, or you just need a reminder, you can always go to artofcoaching.com/question. Again, that’s artofcoaching.com/question. And you can send us any question that you want in lieu of being able to do a live radio show. It is literally the closest thing we can do to being able to answer your questions, live and in real time. And we had a great one pretty broad, but gives us more than enough meat to start today. The question was, given your multiple priorities and schedule, how do you stay on top of learning and your own education? Now, as you guys can imagine, this is super broad, we could go a million directions with this. So let me isolate this down. And then let’s get into some meat.
Okay, one, I am really big on, you know, just getting your hands in the dirt and learning firsthand. So there is this stuff that I think has been a tendency over the last decade, probably even longer this idea of optimization. And I think that’s all great in theory. And what I mean by optimization is some people treat learning like it’s a sport, you know, you have to get into the daily architecture of how you structure everything, you have to have all these kind of pneumonic devices and triggers. It’s almost like this biohack culture has now gotten its way into every single thing that we do. And I think it’s great to strive for some level of optimization, but that that term in general connotates, that, you know, things aren’t perfect to a degree or if they’re not their most efficient, that you know, you’re not going to be very resilient in the face of adversity. And that’s just not the reality for the general public. So I think that there are people that I think these topics are titillating, I think they’re interesting, but the average person is trying to manage a job, a family and so many constraints, they just want some practical tips, they’re not going to be able to take 20 supplements, they’re not going to be able to block off three hours of their day, they’re not going to be able to get the lighting perfect and everything perfect in their room, they need some tips. And so that’s really the individual that this is for. Okay, and that’s not shots fired at anybody. That is just the reality. You don’t aren’t you not going to have perfect circumstances in life. So lock it in.
Now, if you don’t know anything about me, and this is relevant just to color. The information I’m going to give you on the episode, I have a toddler, I’m in the middle of trying to write a new book, get a doctorate I traveled, I taught 23 different courses this weekend or this year. So that means I was typically gone Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe coming back Monday, if I didn’t travel and we hosted in Atlanta, it was still a three day event, typically between setup and everything. I live like many of you in the real world, there is no perfect. So we don’t live in any kind of mansion or ivory tower, we have to balance the same kind of live trauma you do. So these tips are all about that.
Alright, so first off, one of the ways that I manage, you know, my education and my learning, despite the crap show that is life sometimes is you know, in the biggest asset is that my work by default, being in the education industry, that coaching industry requires intensive research, intensive reflection, a lot of experimentation and constant iteration. It is really easy for me to funnel, what information is relevant, the nice to know versus the need to know, based on you know, what is coming up? What am I specializing in? As many of you know, our focus on art of coaching is the messy realities of leadership, helping people deal with a wide variety of personalities and power dynamics. There are people that reach out to us about entrepreneurial advice, simply because I went out on my own in 2017. And there’s a lot of folks that want advice on how to build a grassroots brand. But even that marketing aspect is communication is psychology. So, you know, there’s lots of things out there. I’m curious about and I do read broadly, I’ll get into that in a moment. But at the end of the day, I do have to think about Alright, how does this apply to how we deal with people? How does this apply to being better leaders or being more adaptable? So I think that’s the number one thing you have to develop a great filter. There are so many folks out there and some of this may be redundant, you know, as we get through the episode, but they love information just for information sake. And please, there’s a term coming up that may be offensive to some of So I’m going to take a brief pause if you have children in the car, it does warrant saying to a degree, so please, if you have children in the car just be heads up. When you are just in love with information for information sake, when you are just harvesting information when it just seems like more, more and more, no matter how non applicable. It is, that is a form of mental masturbation. That’s just what it’s called guys. I’m being frank with you. It’s not my term. I didn’t make it up. But it’s the truth. And it’s a term that’s well known out there. For people that just feel like Oh, my God, let me sit here and engulf, and engorge myself as rather, in all this information, I just want to know it. No, you need to have a filter, like, what are you going to do with this stuff?
That’s great that you’re reading a book a week? What are you doing with that information? That’s great that you’re listening to a podcast or three podcasts, you know, in a day, what are you doing with all that information? We need more people in society now that are doing things that are learning experientially not just talking about things. I mean, there are so many folks out there that just want to regurgitate ideas that are not their own. They forget, and we say this all the time, that exposure is not the same thing as experience. And this is a big issue, because so many people feel confused, or overwhelmed, or in need of advice, because just too much is coming at them, they have no filter. So they’re constantly picking people’s brains. They’re constantly listening to the next YouTube, reading the next article. And we all fall victim to this. I mean, some of it is a byproduct of just wanting to be great at your field, and wanting to be good at what you do this idea of self improvement. But self improvement still has to have a direction, it has to have a goal, you need to ask yourself, alright, what is out there? What do I find fascinating? does it align with where I need to improve most right now? And if you’re like, Brett, I don’t know where I need to improve most right now. Well, you need to get some feedback and ask some folks, all right, but by and large, we can always improve that how we deal with people, we can always improve in self awareness, learning how the world works, all these pieces. So just make sure that you’re filtering that down, right, because sitting there and accruing knowledge without applying it is pretty useless to a degree in my opinion.
Finally, to that point, you know, I understand that that’s a lot of strong wording. But if it offends you just read between the lines? All right, all I’m saying is there’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. To acquire wisdom, you have to filter things out, you have to do, and I gave you some tips there. Is it relevant right now? How can I apply this in the next five minutes, five weeks, five months, five years? You know, if I had to teach this back to somebody, how would I do that? Because that’s your sound bite right there. Teaching is the highest form of learning, right? If you’re learning and then you’re going on to the next thing, and the next thing and the next thing and you can’t even teach, even if it’s just at a base fundamental level, like almost teaching it like trying to re explain it to somebody else, right, trying to get it down to its fundamental concepts, the core mental model of what you just learned, right? If you can’t do that, it doesn’t pay to just keep going sit with that information for a while. The best tasting food cooked slowly. Alright, there is a reason for that. There is a reason sometimes you just need to sit with that information. You do, you do. Alright, this reminds me of something I said on Twitter as well, as we start to get into more and more tips. But I find that it helps to kind of frame everything around these pieces, because they’re just, there are some things that people need to hear in life. And I think we’ve gotten so far down this rabbit hole. This is important stuff to lead with up front. But, you know, the idea of improvement can be assumed, especially when it comes to more information, oh, I’m reading more books,I’m downloading more content, engaging with that content, I’m able to spit off some factoids to some friends, I must be getting smarter. You don’t get smarter by absorbing information, there has to be an output. And so if you have the opportunity to teach it, that is critical. And I think that’s something that has helped me get ahead of where I would have been otherwise had I not done that. I constantly am having to teach, I’m constantly having to refine my thought, either through my writing with my doctorate, I’m constantly having to make things simpler through my writing with my book. I’m constantly put into constraints of having to speak, give a 30 minute keynote, a 60 minute keynote, a 90 minute keynote. There is a responsibility there. There’s a responsibility. And so that all being said, when you have a consequence, when you have a responsibility when you have an output, it is going to make your learning more effective just through those things. Okay. Doesn’t mean you have to have product doesn’t mean that you have to have a presentation though that is a useful form of note taking, you know, you just got to find different ways to apply that information and make it relevant. So just want to make that point. Davinci probably said it better than that long rant, one of his quotes, and if you haven’t read the book about him by Walter Isaacson, it is phenomenal. It’s something that you can definitely do on audiobook, I think it’s great. He says, I’ve been impressed with the urgency of doing, knowing is not enough. We must apply. Being willing is not enough. We must do. Right. So that is where everything that I’ve said and the urgency behind things like deliberate practice, deadlines, consolidation of that material is so critical. So if you want to ask me my number one learning tip, filter, have a goal, and then teach it back to people teaching is the highest form of learning.
Okay, one other base concept, and we’re gonna go from, you know, less sexy to a wide variety of tactical examples, read broadly, and apply voraciously. Now you might say, Brett, well, you just told me to isolate things down. Oh, and by the way, Brett, you already said apply? Great. I’m gonna say that part again. What I mean by read broadly, is you can still isolate something that you’re learning about, in my case, whether that is power dynamics, communication, human psychology, decision making all these things, but I can read a variety of perspectives on those things. And by the way, there’s also nothing wrong with it, you know, if I’m reading one or two serious books at a time, I also still like to have some fiction books, right. And reading doesn’t even have to be a book. I’m constantly reading articles. I think business is in the end, the economy is incredibly interesting. So I’m always reading stuff, you know, whether that CNBC, you know, different research journals about that. The point is, everything connects, right. So that’s another big aspect of that learning. When you read broadly, within your domain, or across multiple domains, you start to see how everything connects. We live in a very complex world. And these things do not happen in a vacuum. Everybody thinks that their industry and their field is so special, they all think it’s so uniquely different. They are not. Okay, of course, there are some differentiators. But there are so many common through lines, there are so many common through lines. My dad is a stockbroker, you know, he said the majority of his job, of course, other than understanding the economy was learning how to coach people hold their hands, make sure that during times when the economy seemed like it was down, they didn’t make rash decisions. Man, that sounds like a lot of my job today. Man, that sounds like a lot of your guys’s jobs. So many of you have reached out to me whether whether you’re a psychiatrist, whether you’re a firefighter, whether you’re in finance, there are aspects every day that you’ve got to lead, and you’ve got to be compassionate, and you’ve got to make tough decisions. A wide variety of jobs require this, you know, and so whether you’re reading about history, whether you’re reading about any of these topics, periodically just stop and say, what else does this whatever this is, whatever you’re learning relate to? What does this relate to? Is there anything that I’ve experienced in the last 24 or 48 hours? Is there anything that I experienced this year? At the time this episode is released? Right? It’s December 2020, to do some reflection, think, what are the top five things I learned this year? And how did I apply them? And where do they apply to other areas of my life? I’ll say that again, stop for a minute, say, what are the top five things I learned this year? Where did I apply them? If you apply them at all? And don’t beat yourself up? If you didn’t, this is a process and then say, and where else might they be, you know, related or interconnected? Please understand that the brightest in the world, the brightest in the world, see the connections between seemingly disparate ideas? That is huge. All right.
Another thing, I don’t worry that much about scheduling learning in the classic sense. Alright, so there are some people and I talked about this at the beginning that promulgate all these Oh, you know, plan your day around this to this. My days aren’t predictable. And by the way, neither is true learning. It is great if you do have pockets of time. Okay, a while back, I think three years ago, I invested in a hot tub. I jokingly refer to it as the think tank, if I could, every morning, I would get up, get a cup of coffee, and sit in that thing for like 30 minutes to an hour. And there are some times that I can and that’s great, but I can’t be reliant on that. Alright, especially because I travel so much and I’m moving around and many of you, you know, like, maybe your morning commute is that for you phenomenal, that’s great. You know, that might work great. Maybe it’s not that and maybe it’s a walk whatever that is, you know Sometimes the most scheduling you can do is just find that one pocket. And I think you got to remember that that’s compound interest. So you may not be Tim Ferriss or you know, other folks that maybe can schedule these things out. Or you can have everything neatly kind of organized, or you maybe have some system, you just got to have some kind of input, some kind of clarity, some kind of silence and some kind of reflection. Again, not sexy, but I just, I want so many of you who have reached out to me saying you feel defeated, because it doesn’t feel like you have this perfect system to realize that doesn’t exist. Like I said, every day is not going to be predictable, and neither is learning. Just find whatever time you have, just like when you were to invest in the stock market, find whatever financial way, you know, like, if you have five bucks, 10 bucks, great, you can invest that you don’t have to have 500. If you can’t get your full workout in from a fitness standpoint, great, you can go for a 10 minute walk. Those are huge.
Okay, so I will read a little bit before bed read can be fluid, of course, I prefer a physical book. But there’s some times that if I don’t want to get too intense, which I can, if you give me a physical book, it’s not long before I start outlining or underlining, highlighting, writing in the margins, which I’ll get to in a minute. So sometimes I just like to close my eyes, put air pods in. And listen, one of the books I’m listening to right now is another one by Walter Isaacson. It’s the biography of Steve Jobs. I’m also rereading the person and the situation. And some of these things I own both on Audible, I shouldn’t say both sorry, on Audible on a Kindle and an A paper copy. And trust me, I’m going to talk to you about how I break these things down in a minute and the note taking and all that, so just stay with me. Alright. So couple things here. Remember, apply, filter, teach it back, find some pockets, don’t worry about being too rigid with that scheduling, you have to just understand that in real life. You know, that’s not always how it works.
Another real life reminder, just because I think people miss this. You know, learning does not always happen in formal settings. And even if it did, the lesson rarely comes to you in a format you expect. So many folks tend to think like if you just one thing, man, if I’m tired of any kind of question, it’s that if there was one piece of advice, if there was one this if there was one, that there’s never one, you know why? Because let’s say there was just one piece of advice? Well, the one piece of advice I would give somebody who’s 25 knows themselves has applied a lot of information and has a certain process, you know, is going to be very different than some you know, the one piece of advice, I might give somebody at a later stage in life, who’s coming out of a different kind of season, maybe it’s a little bit chaotic, so on and so forth. So you’ve got to quit isolating those things down. Right? And you’ve got to think about, every time you go through something, there’s a lesson, more of it requires you guys just stopping and reflecting on what that lesson was. Right? That’s just the real goal isn’t obvious. You have to read between the lines. I always thought it funny when I would go watch somebody speak. I’d hear somebody in the crowd be like, Well, that sucked. And I just remember looking at somebody one time after hearing them, say, two to three speakers socked and I was just like, What are you? What are you hoping for? You know, like you have these questions in your head that are unexpressed, these people have 30 to 45, maybe 60 minutes, like, what is it you’re looking for?
But the reality is, is most people that feel that way, typically haven’t taught that much. You know, they haven’t taught they just don’t know the constraints. They haven’t been there. And so, you know, you take their criticism or their complaints with a grain of salt. When I do read, let’s say, Well, hey, Brett, you mentioned paper books and underlining. If I had a book in front of me right now, I will write in the margins, I will underline, I will often color code things. Sometimes I will use pink for kind of a powerful kind of take home or sound bite. So if I see pink in a book, and this isn’t always how I do it, but sometimes if I have everything at my disposal, pink is something that I catching I can be like, alright, that’s, that’s a key quote or a key concept I need to go back to green might be something that is a definition that I need to revisit. Blue might be research or further reading that I need to do somebody mentioned something in a book or an article. Alright, and then yellow is just a general note. Now again, this depends on the markers I have on my ad hand, but that’s one way I’ll do it.
Another thing that I think is supremely valuable, please feel this is let’s say I’m on page 192 of a book. The pages are irrelevant. And there is a really great point. I will go back to the very beginning of the book, open it up and literally like on the inside of the cover, right? PAGE 192 taught, you know, whatever that topic was input, reread this, or this is good for blank presentation, or use for new book, little things like that. There’s a couple times I always wonder, you know, when my son’s older, I was reading a book recently, and I had made a couple notes about a book that I was reading, it had a couple of sound bites, that were almost verbatim of things that I was saying, in the book that I’m writing now. And I just made a note related to new book, and I’m like, oh, gosh, my son’s gonna wonder, you know, what came first the chicken or the egg. But the point is, is whether you just say, hey, read 92, when you’re doing a podcast on learning, or use this for a future thing, it becomes kind of this pseudo, very rudimentary index, I can open any book on my bookshelf, and see pages that were really important to me. And I’ll typically dogear those pages as well. So it’s not uncommon, if you come to my house, excuse me, you buy a book, or you get a book off the bookshelf, in my library, you are gonna see, writing an index, you’re gonna see pages earmark, you’re gonna see pages flagged, color coded, if you don’t, that’s because I’m using another method. That method, if you let’s say, You grabbed a book off my shelf, and you’re like, hey, this one on Ben Franklin, or this one on social dynamics, or this one on how crowd psychology, impacts other people’s decisions. That is likely because I have it on Audible. And so sometimes when I’m traveling, whether, you know, it’s a long car trip, and maybe I’m not driving, or if I’m on a plane, you know, in, in February, I’m gonna go to Australia, we’re running one of our apprenticeships. And so I’ll probably, I’ll get through a ton of listening to audiobooks and all that. Just simple, I can close my eyes and won’t get motion sick. But I always open up Microsoft OneNote. So in absentia, of having a book and writing in the book, I will listen to the book. And in Microsoft OneNote, I have just a simple section that’s like notes from notes from books, movies, and other observations. And I’ll write the title of that book. And I will have notes about that book. So if you looked at my Microsoft OneNote, you will see, you know, several book titles, I don’t get them all, I’m not always able to take copious notes on every book, you know, and then I’ll highlight those things. And I also will use hashtags away. hashtags were meant to be used to kind of code what that’s about. So just using a simple example, again, let’s say I wanted some resources on learning. I could open my Microsoft OneNote, but hashtag learning or learning in quotes, what do they call that a Boolean reference kind of thing. And almost anything that I’ve ever written with that phrase will come up. And that’s a very easy way to index that. You know, it wasn’t until years later, some you know, I remember Robert Greene talked about how he used a commonplace book. I think Ryan Holiday uses that as well. You could think of it just like that, right? I just have this index of things and themes and topics and stuff that, I don’t want to forget, you know, and that’s important that you do that. Because there’s so much value in going back to those old notes. There’s so much value in going back to those old themes.
Everybody gets so caught up on the new and what’s next? And have you read this new book, I want to say, Hey, have you reread some of these books, you know, have you reread it now some of you and I say this tongue in cheek, I’m super grateful. Some of you have read my book, conscious coaching two to three times, and you have not yet done some of our newer stuff. For those folks, by all means, keep reading it. But make sure to check out there are way more up to date resources. But the point is, you can. There can be books that you read when you were 22. You know, and you go back to when you’re like my God, it’s essentially a new book, because you’re in a completely different place in your life. So I really want to encourage some of you to go back now and make those indexes right in the margins, do these things, dawg, you’re at color coded. But more importantly, just pick two books next year that you want to reread two pick two that you want to reread. And remember, have a point for those things. Have a point for those things. So that’s really important.
Another piece is just high level, but I think it needs to be said, be a genuinely open minded person. You know, if it is true that the teacher appears when the student is ready, the first thing you need to accept is that you’re always a student. You should not just make sure that you’re not just buying books that you know lead to confirmation bias. You want to buy things that make you think, you know, just in a lot of different ways and alternatively,
A quick break in the action to remind you guys of some free resources you get by being part of the art of coaching family. If you go to artofcoaching.com/resources, you’re going to find a ton of free downloads a ton of free presentations, you’re gonna find intern guides, guides on how to find the right mentor for you. For those of you that are not morning routine people and you live in the real world, you’re even gonna find a checklist that helps you get your day back on track after somebody or something has derailed it. If you’ve dealt with imposter phenomenon, we have a full guide on that. And once again, we have a ton of things that we do not share on social media, or anywhere else is exclusively for all of you who listen, so go to artofcoaching.com/resources. Now, whether you are the leader of your company, or whether you’re interning at a company, there is going to be something for you there. And if we don’t have it, just reach out to us email firstname.lastname@example.org Tell us some problems that you’re dealing with, and tell us strategies that you would like or tips that you would like and we will put something together for you. We put all kinds of information out there, we want to provide you with value. But make sure you check this out before you do it. artofcoaching.com/resources.
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Make sure that you’re not just buying books that you know lead to confirmation bias. You want to buy things that make you think, you know, just in a lot of different ways. And alternatively, find out an author who doesn’t agree with one of your favorite authors and and read that or read it from a different perspective. Maybe even read the book, even if it’s a book you enjoy as an exercise, sometimes I’ll try to be like, Well, that can’t be right. When might that not be true? That’s huge. Even if you agree with something in totality, just imagine, say like when might that not be true. And let that feed some research into, you know, you trying to prove that point wrong, you can find a lot of great alternatives, you’re gonna find a lot of great alternatives. And it can lead you down some really, really great rabbit holes.
But I just think you know, there are a lot of self proclaimed lifelong learners out there who only engage in that kind of confirmation bias. They do, they only do things that kind of make them feel comfortable. There’s kind of a running joke internally, at art of coaching, it was started by one of our attendees who said to everything, it’s interesting that the people that actually need to work on communication and leadership the most are the ones that will like almost never come to your workshops. And I said, Well, you know, I think that’s true in a lot of different fields. I think that they’re you know, generally you look at the fitness world. And a lot of the content that’s put out there is you know, people will say it’s for other people to Oh, and we want to help people get more fit. But the majority of people digesting fitness content are people that are already fit. A lot of the people that digest you know, financial information, or people already interested in finance, you know, so that’s, that’s the irony there. But you got to get uncomfortable, you got to get out of that confirmation bias.
I’ll take a pause here. Alright, so you’ve learned a number of things. I’ve given you some really tactical ones about the highlighting, I’ve given you some high level ones. One thing that I can do, and I don’t think you’re going to be impressed by this, but you ask is I have a little bit of OCD. So let’s say I’m reading research, let’s skip the books here for a minute. And there’s some research articles I know I’m behind on I will leave them on my desktop, because it drives me nuts to see him there. I hate a messy desktop. But by and large my desktop, especially on my laptop is super messy, because there’s so many little things there. It’s our presentation laptop. It’s what I present off of. So there’s a lot of things I just want to click and access without having to get into Google Drive. But I I literally will have a file on my desktop that’s like research to be read. Or sometimes I’ll just leave it scattered. And inevitably, my OCD will lend itself to me needing to Alright, I need to get one of these articles off my desktop. And this is an example of creating constraints or consequences, do things that kind of make you, you know, I don’t want to use a term like trigger you because it’s an overused and an oddly used term a lot. But you know, you need to put things in your environment, there are these little prompts, or reminders, that’s a big thing. Otherwise, it’s just the whole process is like, too clean. You know, like, I don’t think that you need to sit down with your favorite cup of coffee, and turn on your music. And you know, just get relaxed, like, you don’t need to seduce yourself into learning. Sometimes you just got to take it for what it is Lock and load. And that brings up another point, you can also utilize, and I know, my colleague, Ali Kirschner, loves this as her partner Speechify, if you don’t have the ability to read an article for a certain, you know, maybe you’re doing something around the house, or you got to run an errand. I believe it speechify and no, we’re not partnered with them in any way. That’ll turn text into speech. So you can listen to things there, I probably don’t use that as much as I should. I just like seeing the words, I like writing the notes. Even if I am listening to it, before you call me a hypocrite because I said I listened to things on Audible. Yes, but I typically listen to things on Audible, while I also saw my phone in my hand, and I can take notes in OneNote. Because I just think that’s super valuable. And there’s a lot of research to prove that the act of writing it down whether it’s freehand or typing it really, really critical. Really, really, really critical.
Let’s see, we touched on having deadlines. You got to have deadlines, or there has to be an output otherwise, like why are you learning it? If you’re just learning to learn it? That’s fine, by all means, but cap that I’m certainly not saying that you can’t just learn things because you’re interested in them. But you know, like I said, you can’t just eat all the food that you like the taste of either, you have to have some kind of purpose for these things. It is fuel in a way. I talked about obscene notes, writing out an obscene amount of notes inside the books. Excuse me. I think another one and, this goes back to presentation I did back when I was speaking mainly to strengthen conditioning coaches, and physical therapists and athletic trainers do what’s called Creating the optimal coaching environment. And by the way, you can get a free download. I think of the video. No, I know, I’m confirming it now by going to artofcoaching.com/optimal. And this presentation, and I’m going to describe it in simple terms. Yeah, just out of sake of time, not your intelligence was all about, I had a lot of people all the time saying hey, how do I get across to athletes of different ages, different genders? How do I you know, like, how do I understand how they think. So I’d put something in there that was pretty tactical on those pieces, and just helping people understanding some of the nuances there. And one of the more interesting parts that we had gotten a lot of feedback on was this idea of learning preferences. Now, don’t confuse it. If you’re a research junkie, and you’re like, ah, oh, now he’s going to talk about, you know, learning styles. No, no, not learning styles. I understand. Those are contentious. You know, little Susie Sunder Bush comes up and says, Well, I only I’m an auditory learner. That’s, that’s limiting, right? Like that’s, you have to learn in a variety of different ways. I’m not saying that, but there are learning preferences. People have preferences for how they receive and process new information. There is an article by Ross, Drysdale and Schultz from 1999 that says, hey, it’s pretty straightforward. providing explanations that accommodate learning preferences, enable learners to process that information more effectively, resulting in greater learning aids. Imagine that. Like there’s cognitive ease, if you speak in a language that somebody understands. And I remember, you know, it doesn’t take much to argue this point, if you guys saw a PowerPoint slide that was just jumbled with information and all the words are tightly stacked together. There’s no spacing, there’s a very complex graph versus another one that maybe has just one thing you need to direct your attention to. by in large, where do you think learning is going to be enhanced in totality? The thing that does not divide your attention through 20 different places.
Because remember, and we’ve talked about this in another podcast, and this is per Owen Harvey 2018. We forget about 55% of what we hear or learn media lead out Sorry, what we hear immediately after hearing it, we forget about 55% of what we hear immediately after hearing it. There’s about 35% that we can actually recall after eight hours. And after 24 hours, we only typically remember about 20%. So while people are not born with certain learning styles, or learning preferences, rather, they do develop them, they do develop them. Now, simply put, there are some people that are a little bit more analytical learners, you can divide these into two categories. Okay, analytical learners, they love or rules, guidelines, procedures, right, they want information presented in a step by step deconstructed manner. They typically also prefer silence or a singular focus. So it’s great if you have an environment. Remember, environment is a critical thing that impacts human behavior, especially learning or Yeah, especially learning. So they want to limit distractions, quiet rooms, they like work like settings. And by the way, a lot of analytical learners tend to be biased towards science and health based professions. The research would show on this as from Coker, 2018, DeVito, 1986, and several others in the 2000s. You know, medical personnel, researchers, physicians, right, they tend to be highly analytical, the irony is most of their patients are not. And that lends itself to some of the miscommunication, global learners.
Nobody’s ever just either or, as with everything we talked about at art of coaching, people tend to have mixed profiles, right? But it still helps understand both sides of this. And those mixed profiles are going to be, what’s the word I’m looking for? They’re going to be most prevalent, depending on the context. So a global learner, they want big picture. They want to concentrate, you know, less on the details right off the bat, more concerned with what’s the goal, the vision, the Why paint the picture for me, give me a lay of the land. And we typically try to do this podcast and that way, we try to open up big picture, what are we talking about? Why are we talking about it? What can I expect? And then we’ll get a little bit more detail. They tend to be relation element focused. They prefer metaphors, analogies, humor, anecdotes, visuals, those things are huge. And this ties in if you guys have heard, the episode we did with the four communication styles, right? You’ll find that coincides directly to that terminology, you know, people that are relation oriented, like, hey, relate to me, tell me what we’re talking about here. And by the way, most high level people, you know, speak simpler, right. And you know, this right, if you really know something you can explain to a six year old five year old.
I had the chance this year, I went to this conference in Park City, Utah, was around some really high level people. And none of them tried to impress the audience with how smart they were. I mean, these were some of the top people and in finance and various other sciences. And it was just a very unique crowd is called The Future conference put on by a friend of mine named Carl Koward. And these people just, they weren’t trying to be up there and say, Look at me, look at the fancy terminology I use. Look at this, they made everything they did simple to understand. They were secure in themselves. And they were securing the value they provide it. Right. So that’s a big piece there. And they tend to prefer dynamic environments in groups, as opposed to the analytical learners that want quiet
Now, I like many of you, I’m sure I’m mixed. If I am working on my book, I will listen to like Game of Thrones, Pandora. And other than that, I don’t want any distractions. And I also don’t want a lot of lyrics or anything like that. So I do like music. I want that kind of dynamic environment. But I do not want lyrics, I do not want a lot of distractions, I’m very much in my head, I need to have that. So I’ll be interested, you know, when you guys are listening to this, reach out to us, let us know where you’re at. But I want to make that critical point again. All learners are different, and many will have a combined profile. It’s not either or. Now, if you are a practitioner that wants to know how this applies to athletes, clients, patients, anything like that, please, please please make sure to download that. That presentation at artofcoaching.com/optimal because we talked about how you can even discern what kind of learner somebody is through the language they use in terms of asking you questions, we give sample teaching strategies if somebody is more of a and this is getting into the weeds, it’s not relevant to this episode, but just teasing it a bit. You know some people you have to alter your tea Teaching Strategies if they’re more visually oriented, kinesthetically, oriented, auditory analytical, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of nuance there. So check it out if you want that. And again, even if you’re hearing me talk about it in the context of athletes in that video, it does not take a genius to understand how it applies to so much of what you deal with in other professions.
Briefly, another piece just because I think it would be weird to touch on this episode without it. Like we said, there’s environmental learning preferences as well. So think about this. You know, do you prefer silence you want background noise or music? I want background noise or music, it keeps a pace and a tempo from a lighting and design standpoint. You know, do you like a well illuminated room? Do you want softer lighting? And remember, this is all stuff from the research. Very interesting, very practical, this is done and done. It had several articles 1975, 92, 93? Are you the type that needs to finish a task? Once you start? Are you the type that needs frequent breaks, and you want to work on several tasks simultaneously? Right, like and think about, more importantly, when are you examples of each, you know, I would say the large percentage of this year I liked preferring on several tasks simultaneously. I do need frequent breaks every about 30 minutes or an hour, I need to get up I need to move. If I am working on something intensely for a couple hours, I need to let my brain go dumb. That’s just huge. That’s huge for me. And I think that that is is really important for you guys to understand as well.
My next point is one of the ways I learned best is I know when to turn it off. And I didn’t always know that I didn’t always know when to turn it off. And we usually this we’ve used this quote so many times by the Nobel laureate, Amos Tversky people will waste years because they don’t know how to waste hours. There are times where you cannot be in constant intake mode, you’ve got to go watch, you know, whether it’s watching TV or playing a video game or taking a walk or cooking or whatever and it like you need to do something that is not work. You need to do something that is not work. And that you can not make into work because that is when your brain is working on overtime. So you want to know one of my biggest secrets, I have learned when to turn it off. And when it might look to somebody else, like I’m wasting time. My subconscious is working like crazy. And that is a weapon. That is a weapon. You know, somebody asked Elon Musk, and please just shell for your politics understand the point. They said what’s the most important part of your day? And he said honestly, taking the shower, they asked him in the context of learning. You said taking a shower is really when I can think and we know this, like those warm shower moments are huge, huge, because it’s that time when you’re in this kind of just state whether you know it could be walking for you. It could be in the shower, it could be meditating could be whatever you do, but you got to think where’s that incubation period? That’s huge.
All right, what have I touched on, talked about applying talked about deadlines, talked about note taking, talked about being finding counterpoints for the things that you believe in. We’ve talked about teaching it back to people. We’ve talked about reading broadly, but also developing a filter. We’ve talked about, you know, global analytical learners, we’ve talked about learning preferences in terms of environment. We’ve talked about a lot. We’ve talked a lot about these things. We’ve talked about digital and physical repositories for notes, if you don’t remember physical is writing in the margins writing on the inside of the cover, sometimes using note cards. Sometimes I’ll make presentations off of what I’ve learned, just loosely talked about Microsoft OneNote, how I will code things in there and arrange them thematically. Thematically, we’ve talked about giving yourself a break, and making sure that you give yourself a chance to digest the material, and making sure that you’re not just going to the next thing and the next thing which would be the equivalent of indigestion from devouring more and more food. So we’ve talked about a lot here. I would say, if there are any, other pieces that I can inculcate in you, you know, it’s just, I want to say this respectfully, learn how to think or learn how to think, you know, like, when people give you information or you read something, you just have to dissect it. And there’s no better way to do it than apply. And that’s why it’s just I know it’s boring. But learning is experiential. If you look at the way we design our workshops, we design them off of what is called KOLB, k. O. L. B. Kolb’s experiential learning. Again, that’s Kolb’s experiential learning
Real simple, I’m not going to go into the nuances of all of his research. When my thesis comes out, you can read about it there or you can find out a ton about it online. But we knew when we designed our outputs at art of coaching any of our live workshops, they had to have four components to it. And they’re based on Kolb’s experiential learning, they needed to have something that allowed people to have an actual experience, they saw a PowerPoint presentation, they engage in an improv based activity, they did video review, they did a feedback session with a peer, whatever that is, they had a concrete experience, then they have an opportunity to reflect on that. Right? They either got evaluated, they broke down the film, they looked at the framework that we gave them, and compare that to you know, what they saw during that concrete experience, right? They think about it, they deconstruct it. And then they engage in what Kolb called abstract conceptualization. Why? What did I learn from that? How can I change it, it’s kind of like athletes breaking down games. They play the game. That’s concrete experience. That’s analogous to what we just said, whether people are watching a PowerPoint of ours doing improv, whatever, they have the experience. Great. Now they’re reflecting on it. They’re watching that film, reflective observation, then they’re learning from it, they’re breaking down what they saw on film, okay, this is what I need to do differently. There’s the feedback my peer gave me through Brett and art of coaching is evaluation. Now we experiment again. So there are four parts concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract, conceptualization, active experimentation. Those are the big secret, the magic ingredient that we have at all of our live events. And you know what, I can give that to you one, because it’s not mine. And two, because we’re never worried about a competitor using that same thing. Because pulling it off, and actually having it be relevant to what you’re doing and well executed are different things. But guys, that’s learning. And that’s, this whole episode. Even if you’re reading a book, great. I have that concrete experience. Now I’m going to reflect on that, what did I learn? What did that paragraph mean? You know, what notes Did you just take? Great. Now, how could I apply that? Now we’ve gone from concrete experience, reflective observation to abstract conceptualization, how can I apply that? What did I learned from that experiment? Now let’s put it into order. And that’s how I created the vast majority of our products at art of coaching. I learned something, I wanted to take it further. I wanted to make sure I could apply it, I tested it, I tweaked it, I made it our own. I looked at all these things. And I said, huh, all right, we can do something here. You know, and we also baked these things into because there’s a huge aspect of this from an emotional component as well, to learn, you need to be engaged. You know, and so you can’t always force it. You can’t always force it. And I think, you know, for me, that’s where music helps, and all these things. But, you know, if you really want to have true deliberate practice, you want to lock in, you can’t always force it.
Now, the counterpoint to that, and this is something where I will mention something I heard Tim Ferriss talk about one time, you know, he said that You know, there’s some times he looks at certain biomarkers of his and if they’re not, you know, at a certain point, he’ll defer sending an email or making an important decision, because he’s not in an optimal state. That goes back to what I said earlier. You know, in real life, you don’t get the luxury of deferring decisions just because you’re not optimized. You know, I’m not really not something that you always get the luxury of doing. So I don’t think that is, I don’t think that’s always something that you want to try to lean on. Although, again, different folks, different strokes. If you have the choice, by all means, yeah, of course, you don’t want to do something when you’re hot headed or tired. You know, I made the decision to do this podcast. It is now 12:18 In the morning, as opposed to doing it the next morning before I start teaching our groups. And I just think, Hey, I know I’m gonna get a little less sleep, but my brains wired, ready to go. Let’s do those things.
All right, so let me know what has helped you. Reach out to us at email@example.com. I wanted to give you something that was relatable practical, I’m sure I missed some things here. But hopefully my main messages got across I really think that that is important is learning how to think learning how to apply learning how to filter, learning how to deconstruct your ideas, I want to encourage you to remember that all learning is only the exchange of raw material. But no person can give another person that capacity to think and if you want to be amongst the best at what you do. If you want to increase your chances of getting hired or leading a team or being a better partner You need to learn how to think mental models critical thinking, I can give people information all day, I can’t give them the capacity to think. And that is something I just want you to think about. Something that I remember reading, as I leave you with this, this will be the thing that I leave with you is. And just extrapolate on that the inspiration from that quote came from iron Rand’s The Fountainhead. And one of the rest, I don’t have the whole thing here, but they just said, like, you know, people can learn from one another. The quote in the book was actually men learn from one another, but I want it to be more inclusive. People can learn from one another, but all learning is only the exchange of material. No person can give another person that capacity to think, yep, that capacity is our only means of survival. And it’s just, it’s true. And you might feel like, oh, but you know, I have no original thought, sure you do? Sure you do. Because it’s always just about something getting evolved into something else. There was the wheel, then the wheel became the cart, then the cart became the automobile, then the automobile, became the wagon, then the plane that you know, whatever the point is, is you don’t have to sit there and be like, Oh, my God, all these things. You know, if I can’t think of it all myself, I’m not an original thinker, like, sure, like what are you doing with it? You know, cite your sources. But, you know, like, when you have the capacity to think you become a true original. And that is something the world needs more of. Alright, like I said, reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org. hope you appreciate this episode. If you want more stuff, behind the scenes, whether it’s learning how I write, whether it’s learning, I don’t know, we get a lot of requests, I tend to choke before I have just the right amount of self hate. I don’t always think I’m a super interesting person, but many of you have some great questions and you want a lot of behind the scenes stuff. So let us know artofcoaching.com/question or email@example.com for myself and the rest of the Art coaching team. We’ll talk to you next time.
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