Learning fast and slow

Learning fast and slow

Fast learning is exhilarating and gets rapid results while slow learning is a profound and  rewarding experience with compounding benefits.

The author of the book A Mind for Numbers described slow learning as a profound experience. The fast learner is the hotshot on the race track with a Formula-1 machine blazing ’round and ’round, getting all the claps and hurrays. Meanwhile, the slow learner is the hiker up on the mountain, breathing the fresh air, taking in nature, and appreciating life one moment at a time.

Learning fast

Fast learning is exhilarating and gets rapid results. It can be glorious, although easily blinding. When it is stripped off of the buzz and sometimes ego-pumping compliments from the audience, it can be genuinely useful in getting things done. Ticking clocks and backlogs benefit from fast learning. However, too many shortcuts build debt overtime and an unhealthy habit of quick fixes that overlook the long term. It’s not for the long run but it works upfront.

Learning slow

Slow learning is a profound and  rewarding experience with compounding benefits. Learning doesn’t have to be glorious, it can be humbling instead. Most times there really is no need for an audience. It’s just you learning, it’s just you and the journey. The benefit is that you build flow, depth, and  focus, among other things. The outlook is not narrow nor shallow and it stretches beyond just getting things done. There may not be upfront benefit all the time, but it pays manifolds in the long run.

Learning fast and slow

There is a place for both learning fast and slow. Although slow learning is ever-so-often discounted in the mainstream, it creates profound experiences and  results. Fast learning is sometimes overhyped, but if harnessed thoughtfully, it can build momentum and rapid results.


Oakley, B. (2014) Learning how to learn [Video]. Available at: