Three ways to make learning a daily habit
Naval Ravikant once said:
“The most important skill for getting rich is becoming a perpetual learner.”
And while life-long learning pays great dividends, many people struggle to make it a habit for life. They never learned how to learn or don’t know where to start.
Continuous learning is one of the most powerful habits you can build. The following three ideas will spark your desire to learn and help you make learning a habit you’ll stick with.
1) Create your want-to-learn list.
The best motivator to continue learning is a long list of things you want to learn in life. Similar to a want-to-read shelf, your want-to-learn list creates urgency. If you don’t realize the first two items on it, you’ll never get to all the other things you dream about.
Ask yourself, ‘What do you want to learn before you die?’ and note your answers in your journal or note-taking app. I use a simple table in Notion to collect my want-to-learns. Here’s a sneak-peak of how it looks like:
Don’t worry if you don’t have many learning desires in mind. The ideas will flow once you start looking for answers, and your list will grow organically.
When you write down what you want to learn, think beyond online skills. While it’s nice to know how to start and grow your newsletter, the world will become richer when diversifying your skillset.
2) Follow your curiosity.
When was the last time you did something out of pure curiosity? With full calendars, there’s not much time for undirected exploration.
Many people optimize their days for focused mode thinking — through deep work, flow states, and other work sessions. Learning can happen during focused attention. But the diffused mode is equally important.
Diffused thinking only occurs when our minds can wander, for example, during a shower or while going for a walk. While this feels like taking a brain break, our mind continues to work for us.
While you gaze through the window, your subconsciousness consolidates knowledge. It connects the dots. Stephen King writes his best novel ideas came to him while driving, showering, or walking:
“Pow! Two unrelated ideas, adolescent cruelty, and telekinesis came together, and I had an idea.”
Give your mind regular breaks and make space for exploration. Follow your curiosity — it will drive discovery. It’s the ultimate fuel for your desire to learn.
An excellent way to follow your curiosity is by asking yourself every evening, ‘Did your day help you cultivate curiosity?’
3) Ban your cell phone from the bedroom.
What if developing learning habits is about what you should do less of rather than more of? The smartest way to start learning every day is by identifying the patterns that hold you back. All you have to do is eliminate them.
If you charge your phone in your bedroom, you’re missing one of the most significant learning opportunities — reading before sleeping.
Once you ban your phone from your bedroom, you’ll realize learning is way easier than you thought.
“What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold,” Oprah Winfrey once said.
And it’s true. Reading gives you access to the brightest brains on earth. Learning from the most remarkable people is the fastest way to become not only wealthy but also wise.
If I had to name a single learning habit that improved my life, it’d be reading. Books made me wealthy, transformed my sex life, expanded my worldview, and improved the way I work.
Follow your curiosity and order a few books that resonate with you. Replace your pre-sleep phone scrolling with reading, and witness how the pages will get through to you.
Following these steps isn’t complex or exhausting. On the contrary: These ideas make learning fun and worthwhile.
- Start and grow your want-to-learn list.
- Use your curiosity as a guiding principle.
- Replace your phone with a book.
Instead of feeling discouraged by all the ideas about what you could do to turn learning into an ongoing habit, enjoy experimenting in your rhythm. Think for yourself and keep the things that work for you.
Choose one or two new learning habits until you find a pattern that helps you on your journey to health, wealth, and wisdom.