The unlikely definition of true wisdom

The older we are, the more learning difficulties we can get. Acquired learning difficulties because we think we have learned everything. Here's how to change up your thinking

The unlikely definition of true wisdom comes from master philosopher Socrates: The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.

The older we are, the more learning difficulties we can get. Acquired learning difficulties because we think we have learned everything.

In his book The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene says the reason why children learn so quickly is that they have to.

They have a reliance on adults to learn, to grow, to develop. He said as adults, we have lost that hunger and that dependency to learn.

As adults, we have the same brain as children, and we know now with neuroplasticity the brain can heal itself, it can learn and retain information as children can.

The biggest problem is that as adults, we have less time, less patience and fewer reasons to learn a new skill, language or topic. Of course, this is a generalisation as people reading this that are probably life long learners rocking out.

However, research shows since 2012, 74 per cent of Americans read only one book per year.

It's not all doom and gloom, with the Pew Research Centre finding audiobooks on the rise from 14 per cent to 18 per cent in the last two years and companies investing heavily in the medium.

Pew also found that Americans likelihood of reading was directly correlated with wealth and education levels.

Of course all learning these days doesn't have to come from books. We are so lucky to have access to apps, videos, blogs, articles, mentors, teachers and software. Dr Google has all the answers, so in today's day and age, ignorance is no excuse, as information and education are all there, and it's all free.

Before I totally understood that the only true wisdom is knowing you not nothing, when I was learning a new skill or a new topic, I always thought that it should be easy.

Once I read it or tried I should absorb it or get it.

If I didn't, then, it wasn't for me, and it wasn't my thing.

Turns out that's not the case learning something worthwhile we have to stick at it. In an interview, Greene talked openly about how learning must stretch us and cause frustration inside us because we are going beyond our current limits.

US author and professor Cal Newport wrote that the way to mastering any skill is deliberate practise, calling it "the most important (and under-appreciated) step towards building a remarkable life."

Newport said that world-class performers are that way because they know how to practise. Mostly deliberate practise was doing what was hard, not easy, over and over even if it wasn't fun. It's continually practising when you don't feel like it.

There are so many great examples of deliberate practise articles on the net, and I encourage you to read them.

The idea that we need to be passionate about something to get it right and or stick with it is a myth, Newport said, adding research shows people get excited about their job or their sport or hobby when they reach mastery.

I have found it when I have blood, sweat and tears invested in something. Then I get passionate about it.

Whatever you want to do or learn might be only a flicker, a whisper, an idea, so it has to be your mission to obtain mastery and turn that flicker into a flame, that whisper into a shout and that idea something tangible with real life.

It will be hard. It will be frustrating. There will be times you want to quit, but when you stick with it and can smash it, you will reap all of the rewards that come with it.

And in the words of the great Steve Martin and my own personal philosophy, "Get so good they can't ignore you."

Daniel Burgess is a Pro Coach mentor at The Coaching Institute, and a speaker and coach. Working one-on-one, he has helped hundreds of people  develop self-belief and overcome their biggest challenges. He has coached thousands of people to rewrite their stories and chase their dreams.

There were times in Dan's life where he had to fight to survive. He has suffered horrific injuries, been jobless and homeless and had to rebuild more than once. His story is a reminder anyone can turn their life around and why he is so committed to the power of being defiant.

Dan Burgess life coaching
Daniel BurgessThe Coaching Institute