How Successful Learners Learn

Steve Cunningham, owner of gave a presentation called “How Successful Learners Learn. His company creates summaries of books for people that are too busy to read them. He is an avid reader and realized that others were not, so he created a solution. But his presentation at San Antonio Start up Week was about a different solution that he and Rackspace founder Graham Weston created called The Golden Path.

Basically, we were all taught the wrong way to learn; consume more information, take notes, memorize, recall information and try to get better. But the brain does not like to store and retrieve this information. Brain is lazy and prefers to do what it has always done.

“Successful learners only focus on the wildly important” <– I really love this phrase. The Golden Path is:

Golden nuggets x Golden actions =

Here’s how to get there.

  1. Begin with an end it mind. Small skills important to succeed. Figure out what those skills are. Find 5 people who have done what you want to achieve and ask them. Patterns should emerge after 3.
  2. Pick a skill and set a learning goal. When what you need to learn is complex, learning goals are better than outcome goals. There are a few important ideas required to master the heart of the matter. Find the world’s top 3 experts and identify what they agree on. Look for overlaps and disregard everything else. Generate critical and creative questions and have them in front of you when you are in learning mode.
  3. Come up with principles or ideas you can use to guide actions to make better decisions. Choose one principle from every book you read and keep them all in one place.
  4. Learn through experience. Keep your actions aligned with the golden rule. Choose one action and identify what and when to create instant habits. If this happens, I’ll do what.

Have an accountability partner so you can have accountability conversations.

Bottom line of the Golden Path: Find the essence and put it into action.

Don’t waste time trying to learn all of everything. Find the key ideas and start to use them immediately, this way you can create habits.

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