Bypassing the frustration of slow-learning
"Why does it take me so long to do things?", "I feel like I can't improve": does this sound familiar to you?
You most probably already said once in your life.
Lately, I've been focusing some time on learning things I'm not really confident with (mostly design related skills) and I realised some bias I had because I'm usually not a slow learner.
If you're like me, perhaps this can help you relieve some frustration.
Try hard, fail hard
Fast learner are tempted to try hard, and it's okay when knowledge sticks.
But when it doesn't, it just provides incomplete knowledge and frustration and the feeling you're slow at understanding things.
It's far more efficient to review notions multiple times than trying to swallow everything at once.
Try harding is often a defensive mechanism of your brain to keep your fast-learner illusion alive.
It creates the false impression that if you work harder and compress time, it would be similar than having the knowledge stick as fast as usual.
You'll soon realise unfortunately, than you're missing most of the subtleties, and you'll feel down and frustrated, leading to resignation like me saying:
I'm just not fit for design. - Axel VAINDAL
Wrong. You're just not giving your brain enough time to process the information.
Let the knowledge be processed before swallowing more.
You would never expect to go to the gym, workout for a week 10 hours a day, and get shredded.
Why do you think it would be different for your brain? 😉
Do not rush things and read slowly
Fast learner has a tendency to read faster, and the brain is still able to process information.
When the topic is advanced/complex/unfit for you, slow your reading.
It will help your brain assimilate content faster. As the adage says, slow is fast 🐌
Reading fast is an habit you develop when you're familiar with most of the topics you read and when information connects easily.
It's a nasty habit when trying to learn things you're not familiar with as it leads to missing important piece of information your brain would have caught otherwise.
Try to think of it as if you were a child learning to read: it takes time for the child to recognise letters and words and being able to read them without having to decrypt.
When you encounter topics you feel are unfit for you, it's likely you're trying to go too fast like the child reading words without understanding them.
(Really) Accept your weakness 👶
We often tell ourselves we are just not fit for some work, but the truth is, it's just denial that it takes longer to learn than what we are used to.
There is no shame in learning slower than others, it's okay.
Be nice and kind to yourself. You're slow at understanding this particular thing but keep in mind you're faster than others on other subjects. That's life.
As previously said, you're a child trying to learn reading.
Would you mock a child trying to learn? No. (if you do, you're most likely an evil person👿)
Encourage yourself like you would encourage a child learning, celebrate small accomplishments and take as much time as you need.
Acknowledge your mistakes
When you learn faster in a specific field, you probably already have your own learning technics.
It's very efficient with fields you are used to, but if you try to learn new ones you, you could have more difficulties and become a slow learner. It's human, you can't feel at ease with every topic.
Your main challenge now is to accept this feeling (awkward and unpleasant, I agree), understand you need more time and maybe use new learning technics. If you adapt your entry into a new subject, you should learn faster and faster (and bypass that frustration).
If you run on roads only, the day you will run on a beach will be a nightmare for you.
You know how to run, you just don't know yet how to adapt yourself to a new environment.
It' exactly the same for your brain. Be tolerant with yourself and "know that [you] know nothing".
Curiously, the best way to answer "Why am I so slow at understanding things ?" is to accept you are a slow learner.
It was important to share with you my experience as it has been hard for me to accept this reality. I hope it can help you too to keep growing and enjoy learning.
The beauty with learning, is that once assimilated, nobody can take it away, so you should enjoy the journey 😊.