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As I open my class binder, I am paralyzed with overwhelm.
After seven months of intense study, my mind is extinguished. I literally cannot read one more word today. And even if I could, I don’t think I could absorb it.
I realize my mind has been physically changing and expanding during this time because I have been exercising it with new knowledge, perspectives, and information.
I feel spent, but so full.
When we are learning something new, our brain goes through physiological changes. New neurons are firing and wiring together, and we are improving our concentration, attention to detail, memory recall, problem-solving, and preventing the development of dementia (bonus!).
It’s normal to feel what I call “brain tired.”
Below are five things I reminded myself of while learning this new skill and expanding my expertise; may they be of benefit to all the forever students out there:
1. We will remember the details most relevant to us, but mostly, we remember concepts.
I used to get stressed trying to remember every little detail until I realized how impossible that was.
I started focusing on getting comfortable with the overall concepts and ideas first. Then, I noticed how the concepts started weaving together with other related material from the class.
There is so much to know, and details will be learned over time as we perform them or as they come up in a real-world way. Many times, we learn best when we can apply the knowledge to something real that we have to figure out.
When I focused on concepts and let the details fall into place organically, I absorbed more.
2. Some of the information will not be resonant for us or we won’t end up needing it.
Again, this is my reminder to myself when I am in a detail overload spin mode.
For example, I am taking a writing course, and some of the forms of writing covered are simply not interesting to me. I do the lesson to have all the info, but I file it in the back of my brain because I know it’s not quite in alignment for me presently.
Some stuff we won’t end up using, and that’s okay. And some stuff will come around later to complement something else when we least expect it.
3. You know/absorb more than you think.
This one is fun because it always ends up being true.
A good way to test this is to talk to a friend about the subject or do some journaling. Notice how much you remember and how details start to come together easier than you had expected.
Another way to practice how much you know is to apply it to something real that you need to figure out with your new skill.
4. The new skill may awaken a dormant part of your life.
When we expand our minds, it changes what we focus on.
Every time I delve into new territory, light is shed on my past and inspires new perspectives, lessons, and blessings. Knowing more makes you see yourself differently.
You feel powerful and enlightened, engaged and inquisitive, hungrily desiring this new version of yourself you always knew was there.
Learning permits us to be more of who we truly are.
5. You can always go back and review.
I remind myself of this constantly.
We can’t possibly remember everything and recall it the moment we need it. There is so much detail, and we have to cut ourselves some slack.
Take good notes and create cheat sheets you can refer to easily.
Make the material work for you and do a little bit each day, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
The more we repeat it, the more we will become comfortable with it. And it won’t take long if we do it consistently.
For anyone on a learning curve right now, remember to celebrate all wins along the way!
Acknowledge how far you’ve come each day, week, and month. Watch how everything starts to compound, compliment, and spill over into other areas of your life.