The train? A classroom? What is Jimmy talking about?
Let me tell you a little bit about my time at University. Unlike in America most Australians typically study at a University close to their house and don’t live on campus. My commute to University was around 1 hour and 5 minutes each day. It was a 50 minute train trip, followed by a 10 minute tram trip and a 5 minute walk just one way.
I went to University in the early years 4 days a week and in the 3rd and 4th year 3 days a week. During the first 2 years I would have been commuting just over 2 hours a day 4 days a week. That’s 8 hours a week I am looking out a window. 8 hours! How many people reading this right now wish they had 8 more hours a week to knock more things off their to-do-list?
I started off thinking of ways to occupy myself on the train. I had a few conversations with randoms on the train but it was always small talk so I gave up on that pretty quickly (on an unrelated note I have much better success talking to strangers on planes. Those conversations are always intriguing)
I started listening to music but also quickly realised I was listening to the same songs all the time. What I did next was even more random, I taught myself how to finish the rubiks cube while on the train. At the beginning it was more of a frustration than anything. How the bloody hell did this thing work? I watched hours of videos and read so many algorhythms on how to get it done but the challenge was finding an algorhythm that I would remember. One day on the way home from University I pulled out the rubiks cube again and for whatever reason it just clicked! I did it! I did the old silent fist pump to myself. I had an unbelievable sense of achievement. Something I had tried to do for some time now I had finally finished.
I couldn’t do that cube for years. As I learned more about the cube I realised that when I pulled it apart to put lubricant in the middle so it spun faster I put the last piece on in the wrong direction so the cube I had was technically unsolvable. I had to pull the cube apart and put it on the right way. The videos started making sense because the pieces were showing up how they were supposed to. I never gave up!
Today I can do the rubik cube in just under 2 minutes. But I am always looking to improve.
I unknowingly turned the train into a classroom. I passed the time by teaching myself new things. It was a very cool trend that I wanted to capitalize on and then I was introduced to the piece of media that was going to change how I learnt forever!
Podcast, what’s that? A podcast is an audio file that covers a specific topic or hobby. There is a podcast out there for everything. Radio Shows have podcasts you can download to summarize their shows. The first podcast I ever started listening to was by an Australian internet marketer Yaro Starak. His story intrigued me and I just wanted to keep on learning. That’s where my obsession started. By the time I started listening to Pat Flynn I was listening to over 40 podcasts a week. You know the best thing? I was doing it on my daily trips on the train and on my daily walks, I wasn’t sacrificing any of my time at all. I was utilizing it better and learning at the same time.
Every time I get on the train I always make sure I have some fresh content to listen to.
I started using this technique before exams as well. I quickly realised that I was retaining more knowledge from audio files than I was from anything else. So I would record my lecture notes and make my own podcasts to listen to on the train. It became like a song where you knew the next word. When I got into the exam room I often recalled the part of my podcast I needed to and wrote it down word for word. It was a simple and effective way of learning without draining my time.
I always say to people asking for studying tips; Don’t study harder, study smarter.
The train was also an important part of my life for another reason. The social side, I really got to know one of my now best friends from the constant trips to and from university. Although he left during the second year he is still one my best mates today, it’s pretty crazy to just look back on all the laughs and wild nights we had out. Definitely one of those mates you feel you have known for ever.
The following video is a bloopers reel from our failed Amazing Race Application. One of many laughs and I still laugh every time I watch this back.
What you should take from this blog
We have moments in life that we just waste. Utilize them, improve your knowledge, relationships and every facet of life. The train doesn’t have to be a meaningless trip to your destination. Make it your classroom.