I mean that figuratively, not literally. This isn’t Walking Dead or anything of the sort. When I say eat brains like a zombie, I’m saying that we should learn from the many great minds in our past and present. That we should internalize the knowledge and lessons that they have uncovered in their own lives, as a zombie craves brains: relentlessly.
Learning is life. It makes us who we are. It defines our careers, our beliefs, and our actions. As such, there are many different ways to learn. I’m a huge proponent of learning by doing or empiricism, but there’s much that we can learn from those who have already done the leg work.
Being able to explore and experience the knowledge and lessons learned of the people before us, informs and guides our own learning process. When you think about, there have been thousands of years of life throughout the generations and just as much accumulated knowledge. Why wouldn’t we tap into this wealth of information to guide our own lives?
Here’s how you can do exactly that.
Learn From Books
Everything from non-fiction to auto-biographies are filled with information, ideas, and timeless knowledge that are treasure troves for learning. These books synthesize years of research, stories, and lessons into a simple form for our leisurely consumption.
Books are silent, but have the ability to scream.Bert McCoy
Plain and simple, you should read more. Read when you have a break. Read in the morning. Read before bed. Create a habit of reading because it can teach you so much about life that you wouldn’t think of otherwise. And if reading isn’t your thing, try podcasts.
Learn From Mentors
Picking up a book is easy enough, but finding a mentor is a much harder proposition. If you do find one though, the value is immeasurable. Finding another person to take you under their wing and teach you everything they know is a beautiful thing. It’s as if you’re getting an opportunity to live a second life, filled with all the failures, successes, and milestones they experienced along the way.
A mentor is able to share their knowledge, build your confidence, guide your decisions, and push you harder than you would push yourself. And of course, it’s a much more powerful message when you hear such advice and guidance from a real person that lived it, rather than from a book.
A good mentor has a single goal, to guide you to surpass even their own achievements. So if you have a a clear goal in mind, find a mentor that can share their wealth of knowledge to help you achieve it faster.
Learn From History
History is filled with lessons if only we would pay attention to them. Although more factual and dry, history is filled with truths about life. The very nature of the human race is seen in the cyclical nature and repeated mistakes and decisions made over the centuries.
We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.George Bernard Shaw
If you take the time to learn from history, you can begin to see things at a macro level that were otherwise invisible. You begin to understand how the world really works. You can find scenarios and see how they played out in the past. What worked, what failed, and what can you learn from them.
Unfortunately, we often ignore history. After all, who cares what happened hundreds, let alone thousands, of years ago? You should.
at brains like a zombie. There’s much to be learned from others, but what is the real value in doing so? Truth is, outside of the knowledge you gain, there are a number of benefits that are inherent with embracing this process.
As mentioned above, the amount of time you can save is ridiculous. You can get lifetimes of knowledge in a single book or years of career advice in just one conversation. Why would you want to spend months or years learning something that was already understood? Why not get the cliff notes version and gain that same understanding in a fraction of the time?
Just as much as this approach can save time, it can also help you avoid struggles and failures. Every path is wrought with mistakes that everyone typically makes along the way. If you could avoid some of those troubles, why wouldn’t you? Simply being aware of the common failures is a huge leg up, no matter the situation.
The other beautiful thing about learning from others is that you add perspectives and ideas that you had otherwise been unaware of. Adding these insights can change how you live and how you see the world. Just by learning from others, your understanding of things can take a huge leap forward, and make you cognizant of ideas that you had yet to uncover.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.Benjamin Franklin
As much as you can learn from others, you still need to put that learning into practice for it to really take hold. You also need knowledge of such ideas to even attempt to experience them. In this way, these two ideas, learning from others and learning from doing, go hand in hand. They are two pieces of the same puzzle that fit together perfectly.
Before you run off to eat brains though, a word of caution. All advice and knowledge isn’t right or relevant to you. Circumstances, experiences, and situations are different for every person, so don’t follow others teachings blindly. Take everything with a grain of salt and take the time to form your own opinions and ideas of what they’re saying. Learn how to make your own decisions.
As long as you take the time to think about what you’re learning, there are many lessons to be had. To be as resolute as Nelson Mandela or as creative as Leonardo da Vinci or as wise as Aristotle. It’s all within your reach, for you to consume and integrate into your own life, if only you pursue it.
Image via flickr