SMART, DIRECTED, EFFECTIVE LEARNING
TO CREATE THE LIFE YOU LOVE
"SUFFICIENT" KNOWING IS THE OBJECTIVE!
"Without 'sufficient knowledge' we cannot live an effective, happy life. There is no good fairy that will rescue us from this reality. We must spend the time doing 'the work', following the path...until we get to that point where we can see that we are more than 'life competent'."
The concept of "sufficient" is a key to everything you do. It means "enough" to get the desired results (effects), but not more - since the value (payoff) of anything is in terms of results. So, we do "sufficient learning" to gain "sufficient knowing" to gain that which is of most value in life, always following the 80/20 rule to work on what provides the highest impact on our lives. In other words, we would seek to learn in one area until we get most of the benefits and then switch to another area that would provide higher (unmined) benefits for our time. (See Operate Based On The Most Value Gained For The Time Spent - The Marginal Returns Principle.)
Learning "too much" puts one in the zone of having knowledge which is never applied and therefore is useless or in the area of not gaining much for one's time. There is no legitimate learning for learning's sake - it is only learning for "life's" sake.
BUT, IT IS BEST TO LEARN IN "LAYERS"
A simplified model of the idea here might be to look at learning in layers:
I. The big effects per amount of time
II. Smaller effects per amount of time, but still worth the time
III. The effects gained are no longer worth the time (or I can better use the time for another opportunity in another area that will gain me more for my time
CHOOSE A PROPER LEVEL OF MASTERY FOR EACH AREA
There is a higher payoff for learning in some areas than others. There are extremely high payoffs for learning in certain areas that are so frequently done that even a small increase in effectiveness has massive total effects over time.
It does not make sense to master something that has no benefit to you. It does not make sense to drive something too far, past the point of too low of a return for the time.
Learn something grossly (macro) other things drive to more and more detail...
ONLY "DIRECTED" LEARNING IS EFFECTIVE
Surely it is not too difficult to understand that those who wander around in life learning random bits of information here and there are absolutely unlikely to learn enough to be effective in life. They may know little things, and perhaps impress a few people, but they will not succeed in life. Period.
HAVE A PATH
"The way" is to have a path to follow, typically better designed by an expert, but one you can tailor a bit to yourself. And the path is usually more like a straight line, which in the real world is the shortest (and most productive) line to get to where we want to be.
On a path, one does one step at a time, with no giant, miraculous leaps. Everything in the real world happens in sequences of steps. (To make excellent progress in any one thing, one must be sure to know what reality is. Know this for sure: What Is Reality?, and follow the sequence of links until you really know what reality is and how it operates - which is not actually understood adequately by most humans.)
Typically, as humans, we will go "off path" at times.
Each time we merely need to look to see what is occurring (offpathedness) and go back on the path. Notice that the word "discipline" originally meant "instructions" or "path" but we've added additional meanings that include negative to "enforce" this. Discipline, however, can be easy, and certainly effective as it is only "directing ourselves to return to the path". (See Discipline - "The Only Way to Get What You Want" - see how it works most easily.)
Without a clearly set path to return to, we are not likely to return very well to making progress.
With a path, we just look to see the next step to take in the designated series of steps. If one has no path, then one wanders about, getting a tidbit here, an insight there. It is true that those can give some sense of progress, but the progress is minuscule compared to that of following a path.
A straight line is still the shortest path between two points: where I am right now in my learning on "x" and where I will be at the end of the path, however long it takes me. (See The Paths and follow them, after you've read this piece, though.)
LEARNING MUST BE PROACTIVE
Without "active" thinking where one "integrates" knowledge into a full understanding while seeing how the "whole" fits together and works, one falls short. One may hope somehow that one will become "knowledgeable" enough through tidbits of information, but that never works!
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not "hard" to do effective learning, as it quickly pays off great dividends and benefits that make the whole process pleasurable - and make life easier.
If you are going to do the whole program of life improvement, it is best, in my opinion to schedule the time to do the reading AND, in parallel, to schedule time for the implementation. If one does not implement as one goes, then one tends to be missing the rewards that one gets from what one is reading. So, I'd recommend doing both at the same time, so that you're not only getting wiser but also creating an improved life as you go.
What follows next includes directions about how to learn and digest what you learn on the paths.
SEE IF THIS IS TRUE
If knowledge is that which has us deal with life better and/or function better, then wouldn't it make sense that we'd put this at the top of the list?
Only an ignorant fool would dispute that - and he would be then bound to remain an ignorant fool for life.
To some degree, though, it is not uncommon for people to be too far down the Wisdom/Ignorance Scale:
Mark where would you place yourself on this scale. Then put a G for the goal of where you would like to be on the scale if you are serious; otherwise put a W to indicate where you wish you were. Note that the quality of your life corresponds highly to the wisdom scale.
Ignorant WISDOM Very Wise
Very low QUALITY OF LIFE Very high
The two scales align here. Wisdom is causal - it is, in fact, the knowledge (and implicitly the ability) to create a higher quality of life. There is no other path (besides luck and serendipity). If you want a higher quality of life, you must learn greater wisdom, period!
TEST YOUR BEGINNING LEVEL AND THEN YOUR PROGRESS IN REALITY
Tests are only objective measures that let us know where we are and, when we couple that with where we want to be, they help us determine the path to get what we want out of life.
There is no shame in only knowing what you know so far. There is only the opportunity to choose a more productive path toward living a greater life.
Using the tests and what we want in life, it is useful to prioritize where we can get the biggest payoff for our time. You'll see what we do with this, after we review how best to learn.
THE APPROACH WE'LL USE
Any good learning system must be systematic. (Duh!)
Here we mean that we have a well-designed path to follow so that we are learning in an effective cumulative manner that which is most important.
Additionally, we must learn from good, expert sources (for we don't want to be learned fools, who "know" and believe in stuff that is not quite right).
Part of this learning process will require us to validate or invalidate for ourselves that which we read. Here, we'll just leave it for now at your asking "is this true?" (Or "could it reasonably be true?".) And then the "double-check" question "is this absolutely, provably true?" In effect we will be using a truth meter, or what we call The Truth Test that is like the one Byron Katie used to escape years of depression. (I recommend that you use it religiously and frequently to help guide your whole life process.)
WE'LL START WITH A "TYING IT ALL TOGETHER"
In SQ3R, a study technique, we first use a "survey" to see what is contained in the book.
The books on this site will tend to be complete and in-depth, requiring some study and some implementation steps.
You can choose to use these two approaches, or a hybrid in between:
1. In-depth, complete. Here you go through each section and complete everything or
2. Cherry-pick, variable depth. You can choose go through once in a quicker way, to cherry pick what is of concern or projected to be a higher payoff - and then go back to complete all the work and the study needed so that you have effective mastery.
With either of these approaches, the end goal is to achieve effective mastery - and no less. You will be wasting much of your life if you quit short of mastery and effectiveness in life.
In any event, you'll want to read the introduction to be drawn into the idea of the happiness implementation book (or any of the learning programs) and then you'll want to look at the organization (Table Of Contents) of the book to obtain an overall picture and to see the logic of how it all fits together into an effective whole. And, in the LifeBook: Implementing Happiness and any other major comprehensive book on the site, you should be able to see that you assuredly can attain greater happiness through the content and the steps involved.
THEN, GO DEEPER
Then you'll dive into a greater degree of depth in order to attain "sufficient mastery" to be able to be effective. But you might do that in degrees, where you perhaps read through the sections, doing some of the exercises, but proceeding through fairly expeditiously. With this approach, you gain an overall comprehension of the whole of life and see how it ties together, with your gaining a higher perspective on life. (Then you would go back and complete the pieces and go into greater depth - as the final test is that you reach the stage of seeing that you have mastered each area.)
Note that we are not "going for" perfection or even high mastery at this point, as reaching such a point requires a lot of time that would take away from other areas where we can gain more impact on our lives. We will essentially be going for the highest gain per amount of time spent, using essentially the 80/20 Principle [click the "back" button if you go to that piece, which is on a sister site], which we will use to run the rest of our lives (we'll build it into the systems, including the reminders systems).
SURVEY, QUESTION, READ, REVIEW
Before we go into the greater depth, you may just have to take what I say in the various pieces as "most likely true" even though you don't have the full understanding of how and why. For instance, many people will resist the idea of the fact that the mind is strictly mechanical, with no wizard behind the curtain and no magic. This actually is to your benefit, for it allows us to more reliably use the system to get more of what we want.
And, as you go more into depth, you will be able to verify and validate for yourself what is in the book.
So, via the SQ3R method, we:
2. Go through the first time, getting the higher payoffs more quickly plus getting
3. Go back in higher and higher levels until we reach "sufficient mastery" at Level I.
4. Finally, we finish the mastery to a finer and higher level, but never more than is
needed in any area for its usefulness in life.
STANDARDS FOR YOUR LEARNING
Although you'll only receive a grade in actual life for your learning, the standards that are essential are based on using the
1. Power Of Completion (not stopping short of where we need to go, and not having to revisit it to finish and/or repair damage from insufficient knowledge - as in the promise "what you do not complete, you are bound to repeat"). 2. Authentic Learning, which is learning enough to be able to get the desired result. I've included in the learning page The Best Ways To Learn - which you should definitely follow, so that you're not wasting time and so that you are getting the biggest bang for your time!
READ THROUGH TO GET THE OVERVIEW
It is perfectly fine to read the overall discussion, to tie together the overall concepts, without linking to the more detailed pieces. People who do it that way then get the benefit of reading it again, but this time linking into pieces of interest where you feel further information or explanations are needed. Some people do a hybrid approach, putting off reading some of the links but reading others of particular interest or where they need more in-depth reading to understand some of the details or proofs of the points made in the overall discussion.
I would recommend that you for sure read (or scan at least) the three pieces in the Standards section above, as implementing those will serve you well in getting right to being able to fully implement and use effectively what is needed in your life for greater happiness.