Most people learn through books, audiobooks, videos, courses, podcasts and conversations. This can get boring.
Whether it’s to learn how to learn, a new business model, a new passion or hobby you want to explore, here’s some uncommon ways to learn (I’m confident 90% of readers will find at least 1-2 ideas they haven’t heard of before).
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated or working with any of the links/people below.
Pay for $5 coaching lessons
This works especially well in my experience for programming and learning a new language.
There is people in all areas of the world that love to teach. This is true for fiverr.com too. Simply search for what you’d like to learn, set the budget to $6 (Due to some currency conversions, lots of them may come up just above $5 by 10-50c), order the gig and setup the Zoom call.
I’ve personally done this with learning how to use Elementor and how to speak Arabic for a few lessons simply because I had the idea at 2am when I was bored. It was fun, and totally worth he cost.
Pay $10k for 2 days
At the other end of the extreme, find someone that knows a lot about a topic, a teacher, or someone who’s high up at a company doing the thing itself for 10+ years and offer to pay them $10k for 2 days of their time to learn everything they know about X topic summarised.
It’s likely that person will spend 1-2 months condensing everything they know down into 2 days of 6-8 hours each and saves you 100’s of hours finding all this information yourself.
The most important principles from a lifetime of learning on your chosen topic for $10k condensed into 2 days is a steal, but you could also offer them $500, $1k, $2k, etc.
Another idea is to do this with someone who’s the author of your favourite book, YouTube channel, podcast and more.
Use text-to-speech at 600 WPM, not audiobooks
With each new audiobook, you have to get used to the new narrator’s voice before you can speed up the audiobook. Over the course of 10, 50 or 100 books, this adds up and sometimes, their voice or accent create a limitation so you can’t speed it up as much as you’re used to.
Using speechify.com, a free app that translates PDFs into text, you’re able to stay at a consistent amount of WPM (Words per minute) from start to finish for each new book you start.
Plus, with time it’s not too difficult to get up to 550-600 WPM which is likely a lot more than what most people would average listening to on an audiobook.
Steal other people’s superpowers
I see this as a talent in itself. Whether researching how someone writes their articles and trying to break it down, mimicking the way they speak or present, researching their business or funnels, or, my favourite version of this, trying to find out what makes friends or mentors tick with questions like:
- What belief is behind X action?
- What perception is responsible for X?
If you can agree to the reasons for their beliefs, values, perceptions/interpretations of a certain thing, you’re then already on the way to having whatever it is that they have that made them good at the thing you desire to get good at.
- The expert is really interested in psycholinguistics because it allows them to understand others in some cases better than they understand themselves
- The expert believes that in business, being unique is #1 and learning the skill of finding problems, then creating solutions is key
Having these insights could prove invaluable if they were tailored towards you.
Watch people, find out why they do things and what makes them tick. Is there a reason, belief, or value behind it? Whether it’s an interview, or a friend you have.
Every person has something they can teach you (A good belief to agree to and store in your mind). Whether they laugh a lot, or never give up, these are traits and beliefs you can copy from others.
Find unpopular resources from unpopular experts
Most people learn from popular YouTubers, podcasts, etc, often with something to sell to their audience. What if I told you there’s extremely qualified people that spend their time doing the thing and not making a bunch of content about the thing?
Some unpopular resources:
- Articles by the 1% of experts themselves
- YouTube videos with 100-10k views of conferences, events, colleges, and interviews
- Individual podcast interview episodes from the 1% of experts (Search their name and “podcast” on Google)
- Paul Graham, an extremely successful CEO with a website that looks like it’s from the 2010: http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html
- Patrick Collinson, one of the co-founders of Stripe with a very, very “minimal” website: https://patrickcollison.com/advice
- Top CEO interviews, the creator of Ethereum, etc
- Harvard’s playlists
A quick rule of thumb of someone being a real expert is if they have nothing to sell you.
Their YouTube/podcast/etc titles are probably boring, and they are very likely to have a few hundred to under 10 thousand views.
Resources like Andrew Kirby’s Sunday Synthesis are another bonus to find areas like these.
Take free/paid online courses
Here’s some of my favourite popular and unpopular resources for courses:
- nextmba.online: places that sell courses more so directed to employees and not so much the “get rich quick” courses
- ocw.mit.edu: free online college course
- masterclass.com: celebrity courses
- mindvalley.com: similar to MasterClass
- thegreatcourses.com: lots of interesting, long-form courses about anything from history to wine
Start a podcast
Starting a podcast, regardless of the amount of listeners, can give people a reason to talk to you so you can learn, and possibly even build a real connection from there.
Whether it’s with people you look up to, or someone who has no audience online but works for a company you like or would like to work for, has a skill you’d like, etc, a podcast with even 0 listeners is a useful “in” for that initial conversation.
Join a paid community
Joining a course for your skill, passion or hobby purely for the community itself can be worth it.
Just one person to learn with at the same time can be motivating, keep you accountable and speed up both of your journeys.
Find a mentor, ideally with a low social following so it’s easier for your message to reach them.
A few ideas here:
- Offer to pay them for their time (If they’re very successful in their field, there’s a chance they may deny it and help out anyway)
- Listen to their content for a few months, and find where you can help out for free, what problems they have, or what they’re looking to do but haven’t started on yet
- The same as the above but from just your own findings – what would help them that they are unaware of yet? How can you offer this for free, a connection, an idea, or the actual work done for them, in their email or inbox waiting for them to see?
When you’re getting in touch with people, a helpful frame work to use is “EST”.
- Ego: stroke their ego, give them a genuine compliment about their work
- Specific: ask for something very specific, so they don’t have to think
- Tiny: make sure it’s a tiny ask – such as respond with A or B
This way, you’ve a foot in the door and can keep in touch every now and then from there on out.
Find content to future-proof to passively consume
The most simplest of them all on this list, but one of the most powerful when each bucket of content is done per hobby/skill/passion/topic you’d like to learn about.
How it looks is as follows, I look for:
- YouTube channels
For each topic I want to learn about.
Turning on notifications for the podcasts, YT channels and getting an RSS reader for the blog is a big plus.
This means, passively, content on your topic is served up to you from different sources and all you have to do is click once or twice to consume.
Analyse your day everyday and the past
Questioning everything you do as a mental habit has been immensely useful. It’s like journaling, but totally sporadic with many tangents, but at the end of it, you’ve a solid plan for how to improve.
The common way to learn, improved
Lastly, instead of reading a book because I like some of the reviews or the title, lately I’ve started to read a quick summary online or check out the blinkist.com of it if one exists.
This helps me decide if this book is even worth reading in the first place.
A combination of all of these ideas, and you’ll be on your way learning in uncommon ways.