Why Learning is like Jet Fuel for Happiness

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I found myself wading into the alluring blue-green Caribbean Sea, with my right hand on a surfboard and my eyes fixated on an immense wave approaching. I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating: an ominous undulation, already taller than me, quickly rising out of the infinity of liquid power. But the fear within, which had risen along with the wave itself, was immediately transmuted into childlike excitement as I snapped into action, spinning the surfboard around and hopping on, belly first.

Exuding exuberance, I glanced over my right shoulder to see the wave swiftly advancing toward me. My warrior ethos kicked in and I paddled with powerful, staunch strokes, building just enough momentum right as the wave tasted my heels. The wall of water surged upon me, thrusting me into a realm of slowed time and total focus. The board was no longer a lifeless object, but a kindred spirit, conspiring to maximize my moment. It was a beautiful communion between beings, conceived through coalescence and driven by synergy.

With a blast of pizzazz, I popped up onto my feet, landing in the classic surfer stance (totally, dude). What a feeling! The inner child within me was jumping for joy as I cruised towards the shore with a beaming smile on my face.

That was the conclusion of my very first surfing lesson. It was a true climax of bliss, fueled by the magical phenomenon of… LEARNING.

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Learning is an integral element of the human experience.

We came into this life to learn and grow. And without learning, no growth is possible.

All inhibitors of learning and growth (stagnation, monotony, boredom, fear, comfort zones…etc) drain the joy out of life and deaden the spirit. On the other hand, learning, growth, progress and perpetual new experiences infuse life with a euphoric vivacity. This feeling of elation is a tell-tale sign that you’re in alignment with your inner truth.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Life’s tendency is toward progression. Life is defined by growth. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Learning is a precursor to growth and an undeniable catalyst of happiness.

The act of learning doesn’t have to be strictly intellectual either. If it’s something physical, like surfing, your mind and body work together in the learning process. This weaves threads of cooperative harmony through all levels of being.

It is undeniable that learning is crucial to the human experience. Learn to love learning and your life has no choice but to change for the better.

Think about how good improvement feels. Think about how good personal evolution feels. That feeling is the child of learning and growth.

Be Willing, Eager and Open to Learning

Willingness to learn is as equally important as the learning process itself. If you’re open and eager enough, you will learn anything you wish to.

Three Manifestations of Willingness that Will Greatly Accelerate Your Life Learning Process

  1. Embrace curiosity – Einstein put it perfectly when he said, ““I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
  2. Listen – Listen to what other people have to say, instead of talking all of the time. Listen intently, listen with curiosity and listen with an open mind.
  3. Ask questions – Question everything and entertain any idea.

Be willing, eager and open to learning and the doors of understanding will eagerly open to you.

There are, of course, ways to refine and streamline the learning process as well.

An effective model for rapid learning is Tim Ferriss’ D.S.S.S. strategy from his book The Four Hour Chef. The acronym D.S.S.S. stands for Deconstruct, Selection, Sequencing, and Stakes.

Deconstruct
“What are the minimum learnable units, the LEGO blocks, I should be starting with?

Selection
“Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcome I want?

Sequencing
“In what order should I learn the blocks?”

Stakes
“How do I set up stakes to create real consequences and guarantee I follow the program?”

Read more about Tim Ferriss’ D.S.S.S. strategy here.

Another Useful Tip for Learning

The human attention span is not very long, so learning in short stints (30-60 minutes at a time, with short breaks in between) is a great way to leverage this. The percentage of information you’re able to retain drops in the middle of any learning session. This is why most people only remember the beginning and end of a long, study marathon. So instead of trudging through things for hours, engaging in short sessions with breaks allows you to function at maximum capacity and actually get more done. Plus, it just feels better (which is a subtle hint itself).

This is why many schools found it more effective to have 50-minute classes, because after that point, kids stop paying attention.

I personally thrive off of getting things done in 20-30 minute chunks, followed by breaks. This is a great strategy for learning, writing and really accomplishing anything.

Tim Ferriss (again) beautifully charts this phenomenon in The Four Hour Chef:

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Why Surfing is the Perfect Medium for Learning

Surfing is both physical and mental – Surfing simultaneously engages the body and mind, and is healthy for both. You use both simultaneously, which creates harmony between the two. Plus, it’s a form of exercise (which, as everyone knows, has a ton of benefits itself).

Nature therapy – You’re outside and connected with nature while you’re learning. You get your feet in the sand (grounding/Earthing), the sun on your face (Vitamin D), the breeze in your hair and you’re in the water (which comes with benefits too). It’s a beautiful, healthy combination of learning and the four earthly elements.

Surfing engages the warrior ethos in a healthy manner – It’s a positive outlet for your warrior spirit. Surfing is both a physical battle and a cooperation between you and the ocean. For those like myself who have a deep connection with the warrior archetype, positive expressions of it are necessary for your well-being. For too long, the warrior ethos of humanity has been relegated to war and other forms of senseless violence. Learning to surf is also learning to bring out your warrior ethos in a healthy way.

As you can tell, I love learning. And learning how to surf was a tremendous experience for me.

Keep learning. Keep growing. Find happiness along the journey of continuous expansion.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

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Stevie P