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When we have so much to do, doing it faster seems the intuitive thing to do right? I met a two y/o kid, and I don’t know if this is a good idea anymore…

At a wedding I was invited to a few days ago, I met with a girl that I hadn’t seen since high-school. I was shocked at how much she had changed. She was married and had become a mother. Twice. She was there with her older son age 2! After some talk we had, I turned to her son and asked what his name was, but being shy he would hide behind his mother.

After a few minutes, he saw some plastic fruit hanging from the table, and he was asking his mother to give him the toy. But his mother told him “no, this is not ours, we cannot have it”. When I saw it, I thought “it’s just a plastic fruit, nobody’s gonna miss it…” so I took it, I sat on the floor and offered it to the kid. He was so happy, but before I give it to him, I asked once again “what is your name?”. For a moment he stood in silence because he was shy, but since he wanted the toy, he told me his name and his surname.

His mother was laughing and told me that they were trying to teach him his name for five months, but he wouldn’t learn it. One day, they were watching a video from the day he was born, and the boy heard a nurse calling the family name. Then he asked his grandmother, and she told him, this is your surname and this is your name. Since that day, when he is asked his name, he says both name and surname.

We were laughing about it, and we agreed that he only learned his name when he was ready.

Are we ready to learn our “name”?

Ever since we were kids, we are learning. At first a few words and then how to walk and talk and then to communicate.

Until we go to school!

Everything changes when we go to school. In school we know we should be learning but somehow we don’t seem to do a very good job at it. Some are better than others at learning, some kids need some help, but the learning process is the same for everyone, and if you cannot keep up, you are left behind.

The grades we are given give us the impression we are numbers, and if the grade is not good, we make it about us, we are not good enough, and we should try harder and harder. Then we go to college where things become even more difficult, and after the pressure and stresses we still manage to survive it all, and we are now adults where we have jobs, and we try to make it through life, making enough money to pay our bills and survive…waiting for what? To die?

No wonder why almost 80% of adults don’t read a single book after college. Is this what we really wanted when we were kids?

I want to learn more, I want to evolve I want to go to the next level, I want to read every book there is…

But I was one of those who had decided to burn my books after school and never open a book again. I wanted to do whatever came to mind and live care-free.

Reality turned out to be much different though. After dropping out of college, I started to read a few things here and there about self-development. “WOW, this book is great” I would think. I should read more like these. So I started to read a few articles, few books, started to go to some seminars and before I realize it, I was swallowing every little piece of knowledge available. I was constantly adding more and more books to the list I wanted to read.

This was totally out of my reality in the school years. I knew I had to learn in school, but I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t stupid; I just didn’t want to.

The productivity learning myth

After reading Tim Ferris and other similar authors, I tried to improve and optimize my life so as I could achieve more in less time. This was great; I was doing much more things in much less time. Every task broken down into strategic “to-do” made me much more effective and efficient in life.

And of course, I would try to learn everything fast — Speed-Reading, 1.5x audio-books or video courses. But something was wrong. I was getting data into my brain but not knowledge.

You see, for something to be considered knowledge, you must experience a-ha moments. The a-ha moment experience is something that happens by its self when you have information in your brain when you are relaxed, and you listen or see something that connects the dots. In this way, tiny lightning happens inside the brain and the a-ha moment is born. When it happens, it usually stays with you forever.

I was trying to put as much information as I could in my brain, but I wasn’t allowing it to breathe. I wasn’t allowing the a-ha moment to be created and I was using my brain just as a storage device. Brains don’t work like that though, brains look for something, and they focus there to understand how it works. For this understanding, brains need a-ha moments.

Slow down

What we do is: read books, watch video courses, go to seminars and everything in between because we know we must learn these. But it doesn’t work like that; it works the other way around. First you want to learn about something then you go open a book, watch a video course, go to a seminar or ask some friend. And take your time. Your brain will focus where it needs to focus.