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Don't just take Training, Use It!

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Ever been to a training session and then forgot everything 3 days later? I have many times. If we don't remember anything and don't use anything, how can anything in our life change? What is the point of even taking the training in the first place?

I have attended dozens of trainings over the course of my career and always came out of the sessions excited and full of hope that my life would be changed! And I had every expectation of using every single thing that I learned because it was all good and helpful. But what I found was that even though my intentions were good, the number of times I actually used the material in my life was few and far between. And that frustrated me.

When I reflected on why I rarely used what I learned, it was because:

  • I assumed I would just remember the material

  • I assumed I would still feel motivated to use the new tools

  • I assumed I would know how and when to use the tools

Obviously my assumptions were incorrect! So, I needed a new game plan. I started to study what I could do to approach training differently, including learning from wise people such as John C Maxwell. He says:

"The whole exercise of seeking knowledge is fruitless unless you find a way to apply what you have learned. One helpful practice is to follow the 24-hour rule. Every time you’ve learned something significant, share the lesson with someone else within 24 hours. If you do not practice or pass along what you have learned, then it will not become part of your life and you’ll lose it."*

An approach to learning that sticks

After some reflection, trial and error, I figured out a great model that works well for me. Try it and see what works for you! Or use this as a starting point to come up with your own plan! Here it is:

1. Identify important points as we are going through the course

We are often not motivated enough to back through all the material down the road, so it's easier to highlight important ideas while we are going through it.

2. Identify 3 ideas or tools we will apply at the end of the course

At the end of the course, quickly go back through the important points you identified and highlighted only 3 you will apply. As good as our intentions are, we realistically won't apply any more than 3.

3. Share the 3 ideas or tools with someone within the next 24 hours

Sharing the ideas with someone else forces us to put the ideas in our own words which then enables us to learn it on a deeper level and we remember it longer.

4. Apply the 3 ideas or tools in our own life, or come up with a plan to use it within the next 24 hours

Use it or lose it! Applying it further deepens our understanding and helps us remember it longer again. If we can't apply it right away, then at least come up with a plan to use it as soon as we can.

Figure out a strategy to apply training in your life. Learn the material, make it a part of who you are, and change your life.

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