Tag Archives: effective learning

You Forget 80% of What You Learn Every Day!

There are many people out there who spend hours on end every single day learning and feeding their mind with immeasurable amounts knowledge.  It truly is amazing to see that so many people have an interest in taking themselves to the next level.  Unfortunately, even though the intention is constructive, there lies a undetected negative affect to studying and learning new information.

Have you ever gone to a learning seminar of some kind, whether it is powerful and exciting like a raw-raw motivational event or a low-key workshop for new homebuyers?  Obviously from the back-end, the purpose of almost all these seminars are to sell you on something that you may or may not need.  However, the selling stuff aside, your intention at this seminar is to learn new information, gain knowledge, or maybe even refresh your memory. Chances are that 1-2 weeks after the seminars over, you’ll completely forget almost everything you’ve learned.


On the average, about 80% of everything you learn in any given day is forgotten.  What’s more interesting is that when some information comes in, sometimes other information comes out.   So now the question is how do we retain more information.

That reminds me of a story of a close friend of mine. He has an immense database of knowledge about sales.  He’s been a person who’s always been interested in learning and growing, which I realized almost instantly the day I met him.  Now it sounds like this guy is just hungry for success, and he is, but he was actually hurting and stopping himself to achieve success indirectly. He would spend hours every day learning something new and then the next day he would do it again.  What I noticed was that he kept learning new strategies, techniques, concepts, etc., but took very little action. By taking very little action I mean that he didn’t apply what he learned.

I was just like that in the sense that I kept learning, but didn’t apply it either.  All my knowledge was just archived in my head.  It was just recently (last 1-2 years) that I started applying what I learned in the different situations and scenarios I came across.  My results were remarkable.  People almost always felt comfortable talking to me.  This was all because I simply stopped spending most of my time learning new stuff and started applying what I already knew or some cases what I just learned.  The irony behind it is that usually I’d talk to people about “persuasive.net” type of information, which would blow them away.  My whole goal is to become an interesting person and as I apply what I know, it’s becoming reality.

The advice I gave my friend was that he needed to stop spending all of his time to learn new stuff every day and start taking action what he knows.  I believe in a very simple philosophy: Apply what you know and you will naturally begin to perform your skill subconsciously (without you being aware that your using it) and then you’ll automatically strengthen your “skill of learning” which will allow you to learn new things faster and apply them with ease.  He agreed with me and decided to follow my advice and now he couldn’t be happier with results he has created by taking more action.

We learn

  • 10% What we READ
  • 20% What we HEAR
  • 30% What we SEE
  • 50% What we SEE and HEAR
  • 70% What we DISCUSSED with OTHERS

I’ve read this report researched by the William Glasser’s Institute about how we learn.

We learn 10% of what we read

That’s astonishingly low and very de-motivating.  However, it makes sense when you read the other numbers which I’ll explain why below.

We learn 20% what we hear & 30% what we see

I found this interesting and would definitely argue this knowing that some people are visual (learn by seeing) and some people are auditory (learn by hearing). So this seems debatable to me as being either or.

We learn 50% of what we see and hear

True. 20% + 30% = 50%

We learn 70% of what we discussed with others

Sounds about right since talking with others allows you to communicate your thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and concepts. You’re also absorbing someone else’s point of view.  Discussing something with others is obviously more memorable too.

We learn 80% of what we experienced personally

We almost always relate something we’re learning to some person, place, thing, or event from the past.  If what you’re learning triggers a familiar memory, of course it’s going to be stickier in your brain.  Now you have whatever your learning neurologically linked to some memory in the past.

We learn 95% of what we teach to someone else

Persuasive.net 😉 I agree with this 100%.  I can personally say that I became a much better communicator after I started teaching people what I knew.  Not only is it easier to learn, but also its just overall more fulfilling knowing that you were able to teach someone something.  That feeling alone enables me to continue doing what I do.  I’m sure most of you agree that when you teach someone something, your brain sort of changes into a different mode.  That mode allows us to learn that information a lot quicker. That’s exactly why people choose to become a teacher in California and the 49 states across the US

By now I hope you were able to link up that part about applying what you learn instead of constantly learning new information and the way we learn the fastest: teaching others.  I’m not saying stop learning new things because it’s a great way to grow, what I’m saying is that you should focus most of your time on taking action on what you do know, rather than focusing on learning-learning-learning.

And as far as “you only learn 10% of what you read,” it sounds as if reading was a waste of time, but the fact is that you can take that 10% of what you read and create magic by apply it.

How say you?