Strategies to Learn Difficult Things

Last week’s #MakeItHappen was all about why doing hard things is a good thing. It’s important to know why something is good for you, but in order to execute it is just as important to know how. This week is all about strategies on how to do hard things. Learning difficult information will require that you look at something more than one time. It doesn’t always come easy. There will even be days where you will lack focus and concentration. However, don’t let this stop you from trying.

Who knows if once you begin to comprehend, the subject might even become your passion. Practicing strategies to help you learn better can have a huge impact. Most people give up when they try something that is new or when it doesn’t come “naturally.” Good thing you are not most people. Don’t let yourself give excuses like “I’m just not a math person” or “That subject isn’t my strength”. Sometimes we start to believe that something is hard because that’s what we have been told or what we have heard…like physics. We hear that physics is hard and we fall into a fixed mindset mentality. We might believe that it’s okay just to get by because it’s hard. Instead, shift to a growth mindset: maybe I can learn a new concept, I can try a different approach, or look to a peer who can explain it to me in a different way. Maybe you are just not good at physics YET.

One strategy for learning to do hard things is to better understand whether you are an audio or visual learner. Use different methods of learning and see what fits your style best and comes more easily. Does reading the material or watching videos about the concept help you understand the material faster? Once you figure this out, apply it to all areas of study, even things you are “good” at. You may find yourself understanding concepts even faster.

Another strategy to help you learn hard things is that once you have done your research and studied the material from different perspectives and different forms of media, be it books, videos, podcasts, now explain it to someone else. The best way to help you retain information is by recall, or teaching others. Research shows that teaching others not only helps you understand the information better but also helps you learn faster. Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” The ability to teach others in a clear and simple way will help you master any skill.

Finally, no matter what you are working on, don’t give up. Most people give up just before major breakthroughs. You might be one study session away from finally getting it. The same is true with athletics. For this week’s #MakeItHappen, challenge yourself to try learning something using different types of media or different techniques and find which one works best for you. Then explain it to someone else and see if you slowly begin to feel more comfortable with the topic. Let us know what learning style works best for you and email us at or share your story and tag us on social

Go make it happen,
Luly & the YTeach Team

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
– Eden Phillpotts

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