How people learn

Your mind is capable of learning both consciously and unconsciously, and it stores invariant representations at many levels. For example, you can store the invariant forms of Corvettes, cars, motor vehicles, transportation, and so on. As long as your expectations are met, this mental processing will usually be handled subconsciously. However, whenever something occurs which doesn’t meet your expectations, it will push through to grab your conscious attention.

Learning is what naturally occurs whenever your expectations are not met. When you experience something new where you don’t know what to expect, or when something occurs which conflicts with your expectations, your mind will strive to identify and store new patterns.

Your most vivid memories will be of those situations which on some level didn’t meet your mind’s expectations. Something unexpected occurred, something your mind couldn’t match with one of its previously learned invariant representations. When your experiences match your expectations, your mind will essentially discard the specific, low-level details of those events, and the memory will gradually fade into something fuzzier and less distinct. The experiences you remember best are those which conflict with the routine.

Exposing yourself to the same types of input over and over again won’t increase your intelligence much at all. You’ll merely satisfy your mind’s expectations instead of pushing it to form new patterns from new input. Routine is the enemy of intelligence. If you want to grow smarter, you must keep stirring things up. Push yourself to do that which you fear. Keep exposing yourself to new experiences, ideas, and input, and you will become smarter. Your intelligence is not fixed unless your lifestyle is fixed.

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2007/06/how-your-mind-really-works/

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