How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind


Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In part 4 of this journey, we look at how Consistency and Retention Strategies can help your learning growth.

The Power of Consistency and Discipline
We all have goals we want to achieve. But sometimes it can feel like a daunting task even when you know where to start. You need motivation and discipline to create sustained success in the long run. Let’s talk about why consistency and discipline are important, and how they can help you reach your goal. The foundation of any successful goal is having a strong “why” behind it; finding out why you want to do something is the first step in reaching that goal. Your “why” should be bigger than just yourself and should make you excited for the journey ahead. Having a clear understanding of why your goal matters will help you stay motivated when things get hard.
When I started playing the guitar, I did two things. Once I placed the guitar on a stand in my office, so I can just turn and pick it up and strum it; and two, I would make sure I do pick it up, every day, multiple times a day. In the current world where we all have limited time and patience, we easily give up. Sometimes we give up when we tackle something hard.
Motivation is great, but it won’t always be there – that’s why discipline is so important in achieving success. It’s like building muscle; the more victories you have on days where motivation is lacking, the stronger your ability to handle those days will become. And if you mess up one day, don’t let it derail all your progress – one mistake shouldn’t define your success or failure. Consistency and discipline are about embracing mistakes as part of the learning process, and using them as an opportunity for growth!
Another key element to reaching success with consistency and discipline is having a plan that works for your lifestyle and schedule. Make sure that whatever plan you come up with fits into your daily routine – this way it will be easier for you to stick with it in the long run! It can also help if you break down larger goals into smaller chunks; this will allow you to track your progress more easily, making each task more manageable along the way.
Consistency and discipline are essential when working towards any goal – big or small! Find out what drives you, break down larger goals into smaller tasks, create a plan that works for you, and use mistakes as an opportunity for growth! With consistency and discipline by your side, anything can be achieved!

Improve Your Retention and Learning Abilities
Retention is an important part of learning; it allows us to remember information and use it to our advantage. However, it can be difficult to retain information if we don’t have the right strategies in place. Let us look at three strategies that you can use to improve your retention and learning abilities.
The first strategy is doing a cursory pass of learning – it could be watching a video from start to finish, going over the notes from your class, or just looking at all the chords, and progressions from your guitar instructor. Go from start to finish without any distractions. Get an understanding of the material, which will make it easier for us to retain the information later on. This helps you understand what are you learning.
Take a break, and start the next step in the process. And this time, taking copious notes while watching the video. I also read them aloud in my voice; it helps me internalize the concepts. Or when I write in my hand, I tend to learn more quickly.
The second strategy is to practice as much as possible. Practicing helps you solidify your knowledge by giving you hands-on experience with the material. If you’re trying to learn something new, try practicing it as often as possible until you feel comfortable with it. This will help ensure that you not only understand the concept but also have a better chance of retaining it in the future.
The third strategy is repetition. Repetition helps us commit information more firmly into our memory because we are constantly revisiting and reinforcing it. If you want to make sure that you remember something, try repeating it multiple times throughout your day or week so that it sticks with you better over time.
By implementing these three strategies—watching tutorial videos, practicing as much as possible, and repetition—you can significantly improve your retention and learning abilities. These tactics will help ensure that you remember what you learn more easily and can use it effectively going forward. So why not give them a try today? You may just surprise yourself at how much easier retaining new information becomes!

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind


Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In part 3 of this journey, we look at advantages of a Distraction Free Space and Setting Realistic Goals for yourself in your learning journey.

Distraction Free Space
It’s no surprise that distractions are a major hindrance to our productivity. Whether it’s the urge to check our phones, notifications from social media, or even simple things like leaving the window open and hearing cars go by, distractions can have a huge effect on our ability to focus and learn.
Removing distractions is important because it allows us to focus on one task at a time. When we try to multitask, we end up jumping from task to task without completing any of them. This results in wasted time and energy that could have been better spent focusing on just one task at a time. Additionally, when we are constantly bombarded with distractions, our concentration decreases over time and it becomes harder for us to focus on what matters most.
The first step in removing distractions is being aware of them. Our smartphones are smart enough to give us that weekly summary of how we spend our time on our phones. I encourage you to check it out. See how much time you spend on social media, productivity, or entertainment apps. They are important, but be aware of them. Spend some time analyzing what triggers your distraction; are notifications popping up on your phone? The sound of people talking outside? Once you identify these triggers, you can work towards eliminating them or finding ways around them. Most phones nowadays allow you to have focus options when you are driving and sleeping. Create your custom focus options for learning (and even one called work). Configure it so you do get notifications when sent by your VIPs. Silence everything else. If noise distracts you, invest in noise-canceling headphones or close the windows in your study area. There are many options available in the market, and I use them often.
The second step is setting boundaries for yourself – both physical and mental boundaries – so that you can protect yourself from getting distracted easily. Make sure that the environment around you helps you stay focused. For example, I also turn off applications or even turn off secondary monitors for my home office setup and avoid activities that will take away from my concentration.
Removing distractions and setting boundaries are key elements of optimizing learning processes for many individuals today. By being aware of potential triggers and taking intentional steps towards eliminating those triggers (or finding ways around them), we can create environments where optimal learning takes place without interruption or distraction from outside sources. Even if it takes a while, I can tell you, you will be able to train your mind to get there.

Setting Realistic Goals
It can be overwhelming at times, but if you take the time to set realistic goals for yourself, you can break down bigger objectives into manageable steps that will help you feel productive and satisfied with your progress. Let’s look at how taking small steps can help you reach big goals.
The first step in setting realistic goals is to start small. Instead of setting an exorbitant goal like reading five hours a day, break it down into smaller chunks such as reading for 30 minutes every morning. This way, you can focus on making incremental progress without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by a huge goal that seems impossible to achieve. Starting small also helps build confidence and momentum as you start accomplishing your daily tasks, which will encourage and motivate you to keep going until the larger goal is reached.
Another important factor when setting realistic goals is flexibility. Not everything will always go according to plan and there will be days when things don’t work out as expected. When this happens, don’t beat yourself up; instead, adjust your goals accordingly so that they are still achievable within the timeframe you have set for yourself (or even earlier). This will help prevent burnout while still keeping you on track toward reaching your objectives. Don’t be afraid to take a break, clear your he because that is equally important (we will cover that in the Mental Health post).
Finally, stay motivated! Remind yourself why these goals are important and what the result will bring when they are achieved—this could range from improving your job prospects or gaining new skillsets—and celebrate each milestone along the way no matter how small it may seem. Staying positive and focused on what lies ahead, not only will it make reaching those bigger goals easier but it will also give you something to look forward to each day!
Setting realistic goals is key to staying productive and motivated throughout the day/ week/ month etc. Start small by breaking down larger objectives into manageable tasks that won’t overwhelm or discourage you too much. Be flexible when things don’t go according to plan and adjust your goals accordingly so that they remain achievable within a certain timeline or even earlier! Finally, stay motivated by reminding yourself why these goals are important and celebrating each milestone no matter how small it may seem. With these tips in mind, turning big ideas into reality can be simpler than ever before! I set a goal of reading for 60 minutes throughout the day. It can happen in the morning, or late in the evening, or it could be 10 minutes spread throughout the day.

JPS Nagi
January12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind


Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In this post we will explore the idea of Creating Time and Having a Structure or a Learning Plan.
Create Time
The very first thing you need to learn anything new is time. Some of us have a lot of time, while others have no time throughout the day. However, if you look at it, you may be able to find a little bit of time here and there. And you should be very cautious about giving because you are not getting any of it back – protect it at all costs.
I (used to) have a very short commute to work, and I enjoy reading. I combined the two and started listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work. most of the time, I would even come home for lunch. So roughly four 10-minute trips a day, means that I would have read for 40 minutes every day (an hour if you like to listen at 1.5x speed).
Find time, even if it is a small amount, in between meetings, during lunch hour, and spend it on what you wish to learn. In the beginning, those small 10 minutes may not seem a lot, but I was finishing a short book every week, and a long one in 2 weeks, by just listening on weekdays.

Have a Structure or a Plan
When it comes to learning something new, structure is your friend.
Something I learned the hard way when I started to learn to play guitar. Having not even touched one before, I started watching multiple YouTube videos for beginner guitar players. I was not making progress, and there was a reason for that. First, I was moving from one teacher to the other and each tutorial video approaches learning differently. I was moving from one method to the other. Second, having learned a couple of chords, what was the next chord to learn? There was no structure in my learning.
A structured approach will give you direction and focus, helping you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed by too much information. Having guidance from an expert in the field also means that you are more likely to learn the material correctly from the beginning, which will save time and effort when building on what you’ve learned later on down the line. Additionally, having someone else provide structure for you in terms of assignments and deadlines can help keep you motivated and accountable for your progress, as well as give you a sense of accomplishment as you work through each step in the process. This can be especially helpful if your goal is to learn something quickly; breaking up the process into manageable chunks with clear milestones makes it easier to stay focused and motivated while working towards your end goal.
The way to fix that is to either find a professional or a guide, who can help provide a structure. If you are going to use something like YouTube, then find a single learning source and just follow through with that. In my case, if I would have followed only one of the guitar teachers, that would have given me the structure I needed to make better progress. I got myself a guitar instructor and he provided me with the structure I made more progress in the first week with him than I had in a month learning on my own.

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction

Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In this piece, I have outlined how I learn a new skill, and many times what I have not done before.

As soon as the pandemic hit, I got a sense that we are in this for a while. Like so many others, I felt boxed in. The boundaries of work and life were getting fuzzy. I missed that human connection with my colleagues and friends. I saw my kids also feeling down in the new world order. I sat down and created a list of everything that I wanted to do, to learn if I had the time. That list had close to 27 different items, like learning to play guitar, how to draw or paint, learning and master unique recipes, learning to read and write Tengwar, and starting to write my book. I did accomplish some of the items from that list. Along the way, I started to find the commonalities between various items on my list. Which can be seen as a blueprint for my learning and growth journey. I have used this as a blueprint often when I tackle the next thing I am going to learn.

Come with me on a journey on how to learn almost anything.

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023

He-Man and Managing Your Universe – Five Management Lessons learnt from the TV series of the 80s

1024full-he--man-and-the-masters-of-the-universe-photo[1]Few weeks ago, I was surfing the shelves of a local bookstore when I came across an omnibus of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. My daughter, who was with me, was surprised that I knew about He-Man. Little did she know that I used to get up early on a Sunday to catch up on the show on TV during the 1980s.
As I look back, the lessons at the end of the show, which I used to find “interesting”, to say the least, are so relevant.
Here are five (plus a bonus) management lessons that we can learn from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

  1. Teamwork Works!
    If you ever watched a show, you will notice that the theme and format of (almost) every show is same – evil attacks and good triumphs. The good side or the evil side are not just one person – it is a team of people. Skeletor heads the evil troupe, and He-Man is leader of the good.
    Skeletor hatches a new scheme to rule Eternia, and attacks Eternia with the help of his cronies. Sorceress warns Masters of the Universe, who come together to save the day.
    Eternia is not saved by a single person but a team of Masters – Sorceress warns, Mech-a-Neck does reconnaissance, Startos provides air support, Man-at-Arms provide strategy, weapons & gadgets, and He-Man and Teela provide the raw power to fight on the ground. On the other side, Skeletor’s team does not work together, each one has their own agenda that conflicts with the others and hence their every attempt to capture Eternia fails. The same principle applies in our work lives. When working on a project, it is important that the team works together. Everyone contributes to the common goal and move forward. When a teammate needs help, the others lend a hand, pick them up and move on. If the members of the team do not work together, then the dysfunctional team will soon face failure.
  2. Alignment to a single goal
    In one of the episodes, the Eternian bees species do not get along with the bird species. Kings of both the species do not want Skeletor to overrun their kingdoms. They take extra steps to fortify their castles, however that does not help the other. In the episode, each (almost) lose their kingdoms to Skeletor. Although they realize their mistakes that they were not aligned and working together.
    Once they join forces, Skeletor is easily defeated. When working on a team, it is important to move forward “as a team” and equally important is moving forward in the same direction. Project teams have members from different departments and each of them bring their own needs and agendas to the table. It is needed that all the needs and agendas of team members have alignment towards the same goal. The ones who do not align to the common goal should not be part of the team; otherwise the project gets pulled in different directions, which will cause delays or worse, failure. When on the same team, work towards a single goal.
  3. Everyone is important
    One of the Masters, Mech-a-Neck, who can stretch his neck and does reconnaissance work in the TV show, starts to feel that he is not as important as the rest of the Masters. He thinks that even one of the robots of Man-at-Arms can replace him. Of course, the show predictably ends in him realizing that the work he does is important. At some point or the other in our lives, we have all felt or made ot feel that we are not as useful as the others. This is an extreme outlier case. Every cog in a machinery is important when they are part of the team. A cohesive team can work together better and faster than a team where folks have their own selfish agendas.
    When in doubt, just take a 15 min break, and recall all the work one has done in the past few years as a part of the team. You will find ample examples where you have stepped up and rose to the occasion and saved the day.
    Another important aspect is to understand that others are also equally important. I have met so many people who feel that they walk on water. Yes, they are smart, but when you fly solo, you can get a meteoritic rise that won’t last forever.
    Everyone on a team serves a function and is important, including you.
  4. Informed Timely Response
    Whenever Skeletor attacks Eternia, Masters have very little time to strategize to do a detailed planning. If they would have spent too much time in planning, Castle Grayskull would have fallen long time back. They gather information (Mech-a-Neck’s reconnaissance), assess the situation, decide on action to be taken and take action. In the corporate environment, we do not have luxury of endless time. The world keeps shrinking their times-to-market.
    There is a time to plan and then there is time to act. Planning cannot go on forever, and action cannot be without any thought behind it.
    When time comes to act, gather your wits & all the information you need, do an assessment,  make a decision and take action. Not taking an action in today’s world will harm your business.
    When you have all or sufficient amount of information needed to take the next step – decide and act upon it. Do stay perpetual planning.
  5. Looking back and looking forward
    In every episode of show, Eternia is destroyed by Skeletor. And in every subsequent episode, the people of Eternia are rebuilding their home. Home insurance must be very high in Eternia.
    Although it may be tough to live there, it shows resilience of the Eternians to learn from past, and then move forward. Man-at-Arms helps build barriers that are stronger and better fortified. That is a very important lesson I think. There is an old Indian saying, “Don’t fret over spilled milk”. I take it a step forward, “clean up and don’t let it spill, next time”.
    We all make mistakes and face failures. What is important is to learn from past and move on. It is very useful to develop a habit of looking back and deconstruct what went wrong.
    Sometimes we are too attached to a project to look objectively. In such cases ask a friend or a colleague you trust for help. Let them help you understand what went wrong.
    Learn from past mistakes, and take steps not to repeat them and move on.
    Moving on armed with new knowledge not to repeat mistakes is an asset that will prove very useful.
  6. Bonus Lesson – Leadership
    Yes, I did say Five lessons, but as I am writing this, I found another lesson. Every time Skeletor and his forces attack, Sorceress, who is the guardian of the Castle Grayskull, provides guidance to He-Man and Man-at-Arms to help steer them in the direction that will change the outcome of the battle. It is through her guidance that Eternia gets saved, no matter how bleak the circumstances. She is the voice of motivation, the voice of reason and the voice of guidance.
    And thus the importance of leadership – a voice of reason, guidance, inspiration and motivation. Leaders are always needed to provide the team with a vision of a goal for the common good and the team has to be able to buy into it. Too many times the vision does not get shared down to the team members. That always results in loss of motivation for the individual contributors on the team. Leaders at every levels of management need to share the vision with team members to keep them “in the loop” and bring overall motivation and alignment.

As a kid, I never thought that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will have so many lessons, much less management lessons. As an adult, I see so many parallels.
There are also allegorical parallels of the TV series; that is an article for some other time.

For now, that’s all folks!

JPS Nagi
July 17, 2016