Stew on it

One way to solidify learning is to give yourself an opportunity to stew on it. Learning leads to forgetting if we don’t find ways to revisit what we’ve learned. Sometimes we don’t have an immediate use for the knowledge. Or an immediate way we can experiment with the knowledge. In these situations you can still find solace in your mind.

As you explore what you’re learning, take a break. Perhaps for the night. Let what you’ve come into contact with settle into your mind. Let it stew there for a while. Sure enough, the ideas will eventually re-emerge. As if they’ve undergone some transformation in your subconscious mind.

I find physical activity a great way to induce these transformations. Go for a walk. Go workout. Go do something. Ceasing mental acrobatics gives your brain a chance to digest what you’ve consumed. You’ll find associations arise that you could never force yourself to relate while studying. As they arise, think about them.


Talk through things, in your mind. Ask yourself questions. Look for improvements. Refine what you’ve learned. Ask yourself, “Can I apply this to …” “What would happen if…” “How could I improve…”

Get excited when you realize something exciting. Maybe scribble a few notes of things you want to investigate or take for a spin. Try to elicit what you missed when you were consumed with learning. Don’t rush back to the books. And don’t neglect the physical activity, you’ll quickly consume yourself and lose the ability to let things emerge. Ponder a bit, walk a bit, ponder some more, walk some more… repeat

This is a fantastic way to revisit and solidify knowledge.