Our ability to be continuous learners is directly proportional to the quality of learning systems we put in place in our lives.
Our learning is proportional to our ability to synthesize i) our own experiences, ii) conversations with people, and iii) information from books and courses. And, good learning systems enable us to do all 3 of these. For example, a learning system to improve on our communication skills might look something like this –
1. Get a great book on communication or sign up for an online course. Then, spend a minimum of 15 minutes every day reading the books / listening to the course – followed by 5 minutes of synthesis.
2. Practice every morning on our drive or walk.
3. Ask to spend time on a regular cadence with the best communicators we know discussing communication.
4. At the end of every work day, write down a 1-2 line reflection on how we communicated before we shut our laptop. Do it again on the weekend and revisit our learning system for the week.
5. Teach what we are learning every week or every month to anyone who will listen or read. Our dog, baby, roommate, or mom, are all viable candidates for this. :-)
Each of these mini-systems, on their own, will accelerate our learning. But, piece them all together and learning compounds very quickly.
The beauty about taking the effort to set up a learning system is that we can replace communication with graphic design tomorrow. With a few tweaks, a good system will adapt to aiding our efforts to work on skills that involve other people too.
If we care about improving our ability to learn, consider building a system, we must.