Is this the secret of their Genius?

Author: Chris Daley & Dawn Reynolds
July 21, 2016

It is about a month out from the normal beginning of the school year. The sales of clothes and supplies seem to guide many decisions. However, there has been a practice of learning used by the very successful that has the element of uncommon wisdom at its core.

It is called the five hour learning rule. One of its most famous practioner was Benjamin Franklin.

Ben Franklin consistently invested a mere 60minutes/ day in deliberate learning. Franklin's five-hour learning time consisted of:

  • Waking up early to read and write
  • Setting personal-growth goals and tracking the results
  • Creating a company of like-minded folks to build an accountability community
  • Turning his ideas into experiments
  • Having morning and evening reflection questions

You may be saying that Franklin lived in a slower day, who can afford such an investment in our time-starved era. Well, there is young man is journeying down a path that is worth our consideration.

 He is Josh Waitzkin. Josh knows what it means to be at the top of his game. He has been a public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine. He has recently written a book, The Art of Learning where he takes readers through his unique journey to excellence. He explains in clear detail how a well-thought-out, principled approach to learning is what separates success from failure. Yes, he creates time in his day for learning, creativity, and doing things at a higher quality.

For many people, their day is measured by how much they get done. As a result, they speed through the day and slow down their possibility rate.

The five-hour rule flips the script by focusing on learning first.

Somebody with a learning focus would think through which skill to practice before the activity and thus become an authority in the skill needed.
Focusing on learning gives us a consciousness about our behaviors so we can keep improving them rather than plateauing. So who else is using this life learning technique?

Bill Gates still reads a book a week. He shared, "Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding."

Need further social proof? Well:

  • Warren Buffett spends five to six hours per day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.
  • Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks.
  • Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day.
  • Oprah Winfrey credits books with much of her success: "Books were my pass to personal freedom."
  • Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot, reads two hours day.
Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, reads one to two hours a day.

These folks clearly understand that we are in a lifetime learning era, and personally practice this critical habit. Success leaves tracks that the wise may consider. May we embrace a learning principle that will keep us and our children in an advantageous position.


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