Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Learn when you don’t feel like you want to

It is easy to feel motivated to learn the things you like. But what about the things you dislike?

In a recent article in Harvard Business Review, Elizabeth Saunders deals with this problem in a wider scope. She proposes two steps which I find useful for learning.

The first step is to find a meaningful WHY. Finding the reasons why you learn or do anything at all are of paramount importance these days. People often complain about not having time to learn the things they need to, and I think where there’s a reason, there’s time. It’s all about knowing why you learn the things you do, whether you like them or not.

The second step is about the strategy you use to learn regardless of how you feel. In this step, you have a personal and a relational approach.

The relational approach is to embrace the learning process as something you do with others and establish positive relationships, or something you share with others to foster your relationships. The cue is making the learning of things you dislike a motive to deepen the relationships you like.

The personal approach has two parts. The first is to simplify. The more simple the task you need to perform while learning, higher is the likelihood of overcoming the lack of motivation. The second part is to add something you like to the learning you dislike. For example, you need to study a subject you don’t like. Do it in a comfortable place where you feel particularly concentrated. I remember experiencing this technique with an old coach I had in my room and liked, and it worked.

The lack of motivation while always be part of lifelong learning. If you develop these two steps with creativity, you begin to amount the experience to overcome this obstacle.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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