Lessons from 16 Superlearners

Lessons from 16 Superlearners

Aug 23, 2021 12:13 PM
Due date
Last edited time
Aug 23, 2021 01:28 PM
Dominic Zijlstra
Created by
Dom interviewed 16 superlearners on how they got their skills, while Ryan found an excuse to spend his days napping away
5 min. read
Hide Page Cover
Hide Page Cover
Last edited by
Publish on
Aug 23, 2021
Ready to Publish
Ready to Publish
Published to
About learning how to learn
About learning how to learn
Related to Time (Blog)
The summer is ending, which means back to work for many of us! That's where superlearning skills matter more than ever.
Dom interviewed 16 superlearners on how they got their skills, while Ryan found an excuse to spend his days napping away 😴

I talked with 16 superlearners on my podcast. Some highlights of what I learned about learning 👇🏻

By Dom
Learning is highly emotional. When learning something new, like a language, we inevitably go through a dip at some point. It's only after making it through this dip that we can get to real fluency (James Stuber).
Learning is highly social. We have mirror neurons that make us extremely effective at learning from those a few steps ahead of us. This makes peer-to-peer learning and learning pods extremely powerful (Elliot Lum).
Nothing beats learning by doing (Devesh), especially when we're suddenly forced to do something new, like speaking a new language after moving to a new country (Emmy Sobieski). Deliberate practice allows us to be doing in a playful, fault-tolerant way (Andrew Barry).
The next level is learning by teaching others (Daniel Canosa). And the best way to do that is by telling captivating, personal stories (John Bates).
There are systems and processes that help us learn more effectively, like Zettelkasten (Ely Apao), spaced repetition and building memory palaces (Brian Groat).
But they'll never be perfect and learning remains a messy process. You have to get over your anxiety (Nick Wignall), become ok with dropping balls to the floor (Kaminder) and embrace the chaos (Nate Kadlac). Then breakthroughs will come when you least expect them.
Knowledge is growing exponentially, which makes learning how to learn the #1 skill of the 21st century (Junaid Kalia MD). With ever decreasing attention spans, focus has become a superpower (Ryan Chadha). Those who can make lifelong learning a habit (Joey Doughty) and use momentum to sustain it (Corey Wilks) will be the winners.
Find all interviews on https://superlearners.traverse.link/.

Why "Sleep on it" is great advice for learning

By Ryan
So last time, I wrote about how sleep is not exactly a state of rest. Not for the brain anyway. The brain remains active while we sleep, often replaying events from the day and deciding where to compartmentalise the information so it is best positioned for later retrieval.
Recently I learned about a practice from the Huberman podcast. If you don't already, you absolutely should follow Dr. Andrew Huberman on YouTube. He is a neuroscientist from Stanford University who has a weekly podcast where he talks about the science behind learning, endurance, fat loss, sleep and lots, lots more.
The practice I am talking about is, believe it or not, napping. Yes, about taking short naps during the day, and how that can improve learning, retention and memory. While napping itself can be very beneficial, there is a certain specific practice that is believed to really help the process of consolidation in the brain.
This practice is called Yoganidra. If you do yoga, this is where you lie down with arms and legs lying loose next to you, and you move your attention to various parts of the body. In some practices, this is also called shavasana. It is also known as non-sleep deep rest, more commonly referred to by its acronym, NSDR.
I have been doing this with the kids at the school where I teach and not only is it very relaxing, it also leads to major improvements in learning over time. Of course, you need to do this regularly over a period of many weeks to extract its benefits. The other aspect you need to keep in mind is that you need to engage in NSDR a few hours after learning, so a mid-day nap post lunch usually works best for most people.
Here is a video you can follow along to and do a quick, ten minute session. Let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear of any other practices you use too!
Thanks, Dom & Ryan
Connect on social media
Twitter: Dom | Ryan
LinkedIn: Dom | Ryan

Sign up for our free email course and newsletter

Get high value superlearning tips, and stay up to date with our latest articles, podcasts and course offerings

Get Free Newsletter