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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

Which Is The Odd One Out?

Which of the following activities is the odd one out?





I’m sure you’re creative enough to think up a perfectly good reason for why any of them could be the odd one out.

Howeve, you only get a point from me if you said it was 'learn'.

But you get an extra hundred points if you said it’s because 'learn' is the only one that doesn’t take an indirect object.


Let me put it more clearly...

You can tell somebody something.

You can ask somebody something.

You can show somebody something.

But you can’t learn somebody something.

When it comes to personal development, this is really important. Learning is something we can only do for ourselves.

Nobody can do it for us.

It might sound obvious, but I know of many people who think someone can do it for them. Except they don’t use the word ‘learn’, they use the word ’teach’. Some personal sit in a seminar or attend a training session and expect to be magically taught stuff without making any effort themselves.

Similarly, when someone reads a book expecting to learn its contents, they expect the pearls of wisdom to become fixed in their memory by just passing their eyes over the words without putting in any mental effort of their own. They think learning and reading are synonymous.

What about you?

Seriously, think of the last non-fiction book you read. Could you say what the main points were? Could you write them down before you check?

Most of us forget over 90% of what we read unless we make a big effort.

This big effort has to come from ourselves. Our teacher, trainer or tutor can’t do it for us.

You can’t learn somebody something.

So the next time you attend a class, seminar or training session, remember it’s not a time to take it as a free ride and just turn up to see what entertainment is being put on.

To get the most out of it, you need to actively pay attention, focus, envisage, interact, challenge, question, reflect consider, make notes, practise and evaluate. Because unless you take steps to the contrary (or unless you have a photographic memory), almost everything you cover will be forgotten within 48 hours.

If we can embrace just this one thing, we can double our learning ability - and surely that's something worth learning.

No one can learn you anything, you have to do it for yourself.

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