1. Multi-Sensory Learning (DATA)
I used to only read books or listen to podcasts or audio books. Now, I engage multiple senses by doing both. I listen to a podcast and watch it at the same time. I read a physical book while also listening to the audio book. I watch the digital course and listen to the audio. It is no longer passive-learning, it becomes active.
This multi-sensory approach puts me right at the foundational level of the Knowledge Pyramid (discussed below) and helps to make the learning experience far more enriching and memorable.
Action Step: Next time you pick a topic, find multiple ways to consume it. If you’re reading a book, also listen to the audio book. If you listen to a podcast, watch the video version too. Engage as many senses as you can to reinforce the material.
2. Note-Taking is Essential (INFORMATION)
I used to assume that my brain could handle all the information thrown its way. But now, I take notes religiously. I no longer like to listen passively to podcasts or books or anything in that matter.
If I find the topic intriguing, I must take notes along with the multi-sensory approach. The act of writing what I've consumed into my own words and organized structure, changes the data into valuable information and personalizes the content for me. It takes what is audio or visual and makes it tangible for me.
Action Step: Equip yourself with a dedicated notebook or a digital note-taking tool. Whenever you’re consuming information through multiple senses, jot down key points, thoughts, or questions. Make it a habit to rephrase in your own words, solidifying your understanding.
3. Review, Review, Review (KNOWLEDGE)
Ebbinghaus was right—revisiting information is crucial. So, I set aside time to review my notes. This not only allows me to climb to the 'knowledge' level of the pyramid but also combats the forgetting curve effectively. I review all my notes throughout the week right before I go to bed.
Why right before bed? Because I am moving from my highest brain waves states of alpha & beta down into my theta state where I can grasp the knowledge in a deeper sense. It can go into the subconscious mind to move further up the knowledge pyramid.
Deep Rest and Meditation
One unconventional method I've found extremely beneficial as you review, review, review is entering a state of non-sleep deep rest (NSDR)—almost like a form of hypnosis. It's as if this allows my brain to process and engrave the information deeper into my memory. You personally take yourself from Alpha/Beta brain wave state down into a deep theta state but you still are able to have an intense amount of focus.
From this state, I can visually see and review all my note and go through them piece by piece engraving. Allowing me to go further into the Knowledge & even Wisdom portion of the knowledge pyramid
Action Step: Dedicate a few minutes after your learning sessions to sit or lay quietly, meditating or just resting with closed eyes. I do 6 deep breathes and exhale all the way on the last one. I do this a few times until I am in a fully rested state. Use this time to review and reflect on what you've learned and allow your brain to process the information without distractions. Also of course take time throughout the week to schedule dedicated review sessions. Multiple times a week, revisit your notes.
4. DO and TEACH: The Ultimate Test (WISDOM)
They say if you can't teach it, you don't know it. This is the actual doing.
After I feel like I've absorbed the information, I put what I've learned into practice and then teach it—by writing a blog post about it and turning that blog post into a YouTube video to teach it.
The key here is putting your new knowledge into practice. Yes, you can teach it but to really grasp and understand the topic, you must put it into practice in order to get real life experience and feedback.
For example, someone can teach about how to make a million dollars but if they haven't put the knowledge into practice and made a million dollars themself, their content doesn't have depth or credibility.
I feel I hit the pinnacle of the Knowledge Pyramid, reaching the level of 'wisdom' when I have put knowledge into practice and I am able to teach what I learned in a clear, personal way.
Action Step: Share and put into action what you've learned. If that's not feasible, start a learning video journal, where you record yourself teaching the topic. Remember: the objective is to reinforce your understanding by articulating it.
Quality Over Quantity:
You might think it's impressive to read 50 books or consume 300 podcast episodes in a year. But my goal is quality, not quantity. It used to be quantity over quality. I'd rather delve deep into a single book for three months, taking notes and truly internalizing its core concepts, moving through the knowledge pyramid rather than skimming through a dozen without any lasting impact.
Action Step: Rather than setting broad goals like “read 20 books this year,” focus on deeply understanding subjects. Choose one topic or book or podcast topic and truly immerse yourself in it. Dedicate time to understand, discuss, and even debate the concepts.
My journey through learning has been transformed by taking Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve seriously and applying the layers of the Knowledge Pyramid to my learning and study routines.
If you really want to deep dive into memory retention, make sure you check out the book Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley. His techniques will blow your mind even more.
As a result, I'm not just learning; I'm remembering and applying what I've learned. It's about not just scaling the pyramid, but also fortifying each level so I can truly say I've conquered the forgetting curve.
You can too. You got this. Keep going.