Sunday, November 7, 2010

5 important things to follow to be a fast learner

  Learning is a process, mandatory in every professional's life. When you get into an organization, you are always expected to learn faster and be productive soon. Is it that a person's learning is always proportional to his work experience OR can one learn faster? Let us see the 5 most important things for a professional which will help a person to learn faster in a work place:

1. Don't give up easily:  This is the most important of all the things one needs to follow. When you encounter a scenario wherein you are not able to solve something or not getting a solution, don't give up. Try as much as you can. Every time you feel like giving up, tell yourself every problem has a solution. Only when you finally feel you have tried your level best and need help now, go to your colleagues for help. Let me tell you the disadvantage of giving up early. 
  Say, you went to your friend for help without trying much, your friend might give you the solution instantly. In the process, you lost a golden opportunity to learn a lot of things. If you had tried by yourself, you might have started in a wrong direction, analyzed in a lot of wrong places, slowly started moving towards the right place, more closer and finally you arrived at the solution.  Now, you learnt lot of things, not just what you wanted, something which you might need in future by analyzing all the 'now' unwanted places. And things which you learn in this fashion, you will never forget because you always remember the pain you had to endure to learn this. Trust me, apart from this, it does wonders to your confidence.

2. Learn from others mistakes: Learn from your mistakes is a very famous quote. However, this is not only mandatory, but little out-dated . In today's world, it demands us not only to learn from our mistakes, but also learn from other's mistakes. When you are in a team, its not just you who makes mistakes. Your teammates or your colleagues also make mistakes. How can we learn from our colleagues mistakes? Simple, by helping them. When you help people around you, apart from helping them out, you in turn will end up learning quite a few things. If you help on something which you already know, while helping your colleague your concepts get more clarity. When you help on things which you don't know, you will definitely learn something new since you are digging out something along with them. 

3. Learn from the world's mistakes: Learn from others mistakes is what we said just now. Read carefully, its not just you and your teammates who make mistakes. The whole world makes mistakes. How much can we learn if we can even know a fraction of those mistakes?  Well, where does the people across the globe go for solutions for their problems? It is those popular forums where people end up asking questions. Since our blog is on UNIX & little oracle, I would recommend all the UNIX lovers the & forums.  

  Make it a point to spend at least half-an-hour a day in these forums.  In my personal opinion, this is the biggest channel which will enhance your knowledge rapidly and learn faster. In the beginning days, you may not be able to answer questions in the forums. Its fine, you can have a look at the questions and the answers being provided. Gradually, over time, you will be in a position to answer questions asked by people. For me, this is the place where I learnt lots of things in UNIX.

4. Share: Whenever you learn something new or come across different things, discuss and share it with your colleagues. Start a discussion on this topic. Help others to join the discussion. When the discussion gets intense, the learnings start going exponential. At times, you will realize you talked or was able to share much more than what you learnt before. This is the power of discussing.

5. Discuss with your juniors: Many a time when you are thinking about a solution, it may so happen that you tend to skip the obvious and think about big things OR your thinking is fixed in a particular direction. Keep in mind, many complex problems have the simplest of solutions. Don't spend too much of time when you are not able to conceive a solution. Discuss with your juniors or colleagues of lesser experience. 

  Explain your problem to them in a manner which they understand. But do not tell them the way in which you are thinking so that they also do not start in the same direction. You will be surprised to see them taking a completely different alternative which you might have overlooked OR at times, the answer is plain commonsense. Try this once , you will realize this is one of the most powerful options to have. You will do well to remember this quote from Shunryu Suzuki: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." 

P.S: Friends, if you have something to share, feel free to comment. This is the first article on soft skill in our blog. If you like this article, we will write many such articles on the same lines. Waiting for your feedback.