How fast are you learning?

Have you ever felt envious of someone who made tremendous progress in a short time? When my acquaintance started to learn to skate, compared to him I was a quiet advance. By after several months, I am the beginner when comparing us both. When my daughter was starting to learn Spanish, I was the one who had more words. After a year, she is much further. When my colleague started to learn Python, he knew nothing about coding; I was the one who speaks computer language, but now after several months it is he who knows how to communicate with machines.

Peoples differ in how fast they can learn something. Some are quick, some slow, some average. In the same conditions, one will master new skills during a month, others will need year (if he will ever manage).

Why? What makes the differences?

People often presume that it is a matter of such factors as intelligence, talents or young age. If you are very intelligent, you will grasp everything in the minute. If you were born with special gifts–let’s say for music—it will be easy for you to learn to play the piano. If you are youthful, you will learn Spanish with a quickness. If you are an old dog, you must work harder and longer.

Actually, any of these factors are core when concerns the speed of learning. They can have some impact, but most often it’s not up to them how speedily you grasp something.

Intelligence is indispensable to learn some skills (i.e. coding), but it suffices to have it above average. If you have 150 IQ it doesn’t mean you will learn to code faster than someone who has 120 IQ. Have every intelligent person learn fast or learn at all? There are many intelligent students who can’t complete college.  

Inborn talent has a minor influence on learning, especially at the beginning. Talent can have influence if you want to be a true virtuoso, but if we speak about decent, but average level, it is not so important. Have every person with outstanding talent develops it? Many wasted talents are in the world. 

Age, as many analyses prove, is not a thing that causes people to stop learning. An adult can learn a foreign language at the same pace as a child, sometimes even faster.

So what differentiates fast learners from slow learners?

I see four elements.

First (but not the most influential) is our learning skill. Learning is a skill – just like riding a bike or swimming. If you have it strongly developed, you will move faster during studying. If you do not know good learning techniques, your learning will be slow. Many accelerated learning courses focus on this aspect: learn how to learn and you will be whoever you want. Right, but it is not all.

The second issue is self-discipline. You can have learning skills, but you can lack self-discipline. Learning is not a onetime effort, it needs consequence and grit. When you are disciplined, you make your learning faster. 

The third element influencing the speed of learning is motivation. Do you want to master it or not? If not, or so-so, probably you will be learning very slowly if at all. The weaker motivation, the slower learning. 

And fourth, but not least is self—confidence. What self-confidence in a context of learning means?