Today is Star Wars day. 

“May the fourth be with you”

This post is more than just an excuse for old joke! Jedi master and philosopher Yoda offers many great pieces of the insight. Here my top five quotes attributed to the character:

  • “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

You have been reading in much the same way since primary school and you may have picked up a few more bad habits along way, like back skipping. A big part of speed reading is unlearning old habits whilst learning the new way are reading more efficiently. When you learn a new habit brain cells literally make new connections. These need to be reinforced by practise such that they replace and take precedence over the old habit.

  • “Do or do not. There is no try.”

To try implies lack of commitment. We talk about trial and error. It is important in learning anything, especially something different from the norm such as speed reading, to commit absolutely – to ‘do’ not just to ‘try’. The main reason why people do not totally commit is because they are afraid of failure. This leads me to the next quote.

  •  “You fail because you don’t believe.”

You need to step outside your comfort zone believe in yourself and not self-impose barriers to success. Henry Ford famously said, “if you think you can, or you thinking cannot, you are right.” 

  • “The greatest teacher, failure is.”

You’re going to encounter setbacks but think of them as learning experiences. Thomas Edison tried hundreds of materials to make a lightbulb filament. Each attempt was a step closer to one that would work. 

An unemotional acceptance of failure is an essential component for the scientific method. Ask a question. Form a hypothesis then design and conduct an experiment. Check the results against what the hypothesis would predict. If results differ (i.e. the hypothesis failed) modify the hypothesis. If the results match the hypothesis report so others can confirm and conduct further experiments.

Sir Humphry Davy was a pioneering, nineteenth century English chemist who discovered several chemical elements (including sodium and potassium) and invented the miner’s safety lamp. As a great exponent of the scientific method, he said, “The most important of my discoveries have been suggested to me by my failures.” Failure is necessary for progress.

  • “Pass on what you have learned.”

Teaching is one of the noblest professions. There is no greater gift than passing on skills and knowledge but learning is a two-way street. Teaching others has benefits not just for the student but also for the teacher. In order to teach something you must really understand it. You must explain clearly in multiple ways, answer questions and give examples. Teaching deepens understanding for the teacher. In a group there is always a wealth of experience, opinions and knowledge which learners can share. It’s often the case that some of the best learning happens in group discussions or during coffee break.

To learn more read Tony Buzan’s, “The Teacher”, “Head Strong” and “The Speed Reading book” – To paraphrase Darth Vader, the force was strong with this one.

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