• John Panepinto

Compounded Learning - The #1 Most Important Habit You Must Cultivate

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

compounded learning

Every single day poses an abundance of opportunities for you to learn, grow, and progress towards your goals - however many people squander it.

The one habit that is an absolute MUST to be successful – is the habit of constant compounded learning.

Whether it be grabbing coffee with experts in your field, reading great books, learning from podcasts and blogs, or just plain old learning by ‘doing’ (taking action) – learning is the pathway towards all forms of growth and improvement

Without it – you simply cannot grow.

Ever consider how someone who starts a sport at a young age usually seems to become better at it than their peers as they grow older? It is because of the compound learning effect.

The earlier you start learning, the better you will become – so long as you are consistent.

In areas of your life that are important to you - you should be immersing yourself in learning ASAP.

You want to maximize your potential right?

Well, today I am going to teach you how to leverage learning, the right way, so that you are set-up for compounded growth and are on pace to achieving all of your goals.

The 'Slight Edge' Effect:

the slight edge effect

A mentor of mine once told me that if one is deciding between two opportunities relating to your career:

One opportunity in which you will make more money at, but with limited learning opportunities.


One opportunity in which you will learn much more at, but make less money at.

To always go with the one in which you will learn more at, especially early on in one’s career.

Though that extra $40,000/year may be tempting – the more valuable learning experiences will always reap far higher rewards in the future.

Why is this?

It is because learning compounds faster than money.

The skills, wisdom, and experiences you cultivate and build today, will make you far more valuable and worth more, tomorrow.

This is the concept behind the famous saying “the more you learn, the more you earn”.

Your income will always be a reflection of the value you provide to society. In turn, the more you learn – the more valuable you become, and the more you will make.

So how do you become more valuable? By dedicating yourself to this type of intellectual growth.

Even if it’s just by improving yourself by 1% each day – over time, this learning compounds and will put you leaps and bounds ahead of others who didn’t dedicate that time to learning.

Pick Your Focus:

focus on learning

Now, when I say learning – it is with the assumption that it is tied to a purposeful, meaningful goal or focus area. Something that is important to you.

You can ‘learn’ all day long watching random YouTube videos, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be progressing and growing towards your goals.

You need to centre your focus, and have your learning ‘align’ with it.

So begin by picking a goal, objective, or focus area that is important to you, and something that you desire to ultimately become a master of.

Think of your area now, and write it down.

Four High ROI Sources For Learning:

So now that you’ve centred your focus area.

Here are my four favourite sources for learning – each of which will be the tools and strategies you have at your disposal to unlock further growth in your focus area.

The highest ROI sources for learning include:

- Learning by doing (hands-on experience) – ALWAYS / a necessity

- Learning by mentors (coffee chats) –high ROI

- Learning by books (self-education) – Great Supplement / Convenient

- Learning by podcasts/videos (self-education) – Great Supplement / Convenient

1. Learning By Doing - First Hand Experience (find what is working)

Learning by ‘doing’ is probably the most enriched source of learning you can find. You can’t learn to ride a bicycle at a seminar or by reading a book, sometimes you just need to do it.

I want you to optimize this though so that you get the most out of it.

The key to accelerating your learning by ‘doing’, is to ensure you are in a high-feedback environment.

What do I mean by this?

I mean that it shouldn’t take you very long to figure out what is working and what isn’t working; you should be getting feedback consistently.

Whether it be measuring if you are achieving the outcomes you desire, or having colleagues and mentors in the environment provide feedback to you – you want to gather as much feedback as you can, as frequently as you can; as you are taking action.

The result – you will be learning faster than ever by ‘doing’.

This will be very useful later on to you, as you will begin to narrow in on the high ROI tasks and double-down on doing them.

Putting in the reps is a hard requirement of getting good at anything.

Learning by ‘doing’ is often the natural by-product of simply doing what you love.

When you are in the field, taking action, and working at something – you will learn a tremendous amount through these feedback loops.

But without maximizing your feedback loops – you will actually slow your learning, and make mistakes that could have otherwise been avoided.

Key – ensure you are in a high feedback environment/context as you are taking action.

2. Learning From Mentors:

Having great mentors is like having binoculars – they allow you to see things far ahead, they help you avoid potholes/mistakes they’ve made, and ensure you focus on what really matters.

A mentor can be anyone who is achieving, or has achieved, the results you desire to achieve in a particular area.

Key #1 – Only listen to mentors who are achieving the results you desire to achieve.

This is key. A lot of people out there like to give advice, but half the time they don’t know what they are talking about nor are they practising what they preach.

Unless they are achieving the results you desire, or are making clear progressions towards what it is that you want – they probably won’t be a very useful mentor to you.

Gaining a valuable mentor requires the right circumstances. You won’t necessarily have people walking down the street offering to be your mentor, nor should you be walking down the street asking people to be your mentor – it is something that should arise naturally from (1) your own willingness to improve at something, and (2) the environment you’re in.

A great way of finding a mentor is through joining an organization/group of some sort in which mentors of your particular field spend their time.

For example – if boxing is your passion, join a boxing gym to find a mentor.

If technology and business is your passion, join a tech company with an internship.

Once you have joined this organization – work towards building a relationship with your mentor and showing your willingness to follow in their footsteps.

People are a lot more willing to help you than you would think – you just need to show initiative, have empathy and have a willingness provide value in exchange for 15 minutes of their time.

The more valuable a mentor is, the more valuable their time will be – so be respectful always!

Key #2 – Always prepare a few key questions to ask your mentor prior to meeting with them. The goal is to maximize your learning in the limited time you have with them, so be prepared.

If they do agree to meet with you – be sure to prepare key questions you want to ask them that will give you the answers you are seeking.

Be sure that you aren’t asking simple questions in which you could have found the answer yourself or via google – ask great questions that can reveal breakthroughs to you, and you will get great answers.

Having mentors and seeking out valuable answers has honestly had such a tremendous impact on me, my career, and my success to date – I attribute it all to how I prepared to maximize my time with them via preparing calculated questions.

3. Learning From Books:

Books keep your brain sharp.

For the past year I’ve dedicated myself to reading at least 10 pages per night on books relating to my craft and areas I want to improve at – this keeps me sharp and keeps me progressing forward in knowledge.

Reading has a ton of benefits in and of itself – making you a better speaker, giving you an enriched vocabulary, reducing stress, and much more.

But for the sake of your craft and your journey to excellence – I want you to be reading self-improvement or educative books relating to your craft specifically.

But where do you start? How do you know what books to read? Which are any good?

Begin by doing this – write down “I want to become a [desired characteristic that is important to you or your craft]”

For example:

  • I want to become a great networker.

  • I want to become a great investor.

  • I want to become a great leader.

Your book list will now derive from this – for example; networking books, investing books, and leadership books will be your focus areas.

Then go ahead and google the top books in those respective areas and pick out the ones that are most relevant to you currently.

Before I buy any book, I always check out an interview of the author speaking on the book – this allows me to determine if I buy in to what the author plans to teach in the book or not.

If I buy in to the author and the ideas – I buy.

If I don’t buy in to the author and their ideas – I don’t buy.

Without buy-in, the knowledge in the book will go over your head – so be sure you are bought in to the book, before you buy it!

When your books arrive, read consistently (e.g. 10 pages per day on days that you can) – this will keep you sharp, learning and progressing forward.

I recommend reading at night-time before bed. Instead of scrolling your phone till you go to sleep, pick-up that book and read till you fall asleep each night.

4. Learning From Podcasts:

With time and attention becoming an increasingly important asset of ours, I see podcasts as one of the most underrated tools to learning; it is one you definitely should implement for time’s sake.

Podcasts are phenomenal for when you are on the go, or have your hands tied up doing something.

Instead of listening to music on your hour commute to work, get in an hour of a valuable podcast and watch how much your knowledge will compound over time. A tremendous amount.

There are thousands and thousands of podcasts out there – but again, with the same philosophy we used for selecting books, I want you to select your podcasts around your craft.

In addition to learning, podcasts are also a fantastic way to prepare your mindset prior to working on your craft.

Just the other day, I was listening to Mike Tyson’s words of wisdom on training and the keys it takes to become a champion in boxing, prior to heading to a training session at the boxing gym.

It got my mind right and made me one of the most focused individuals in that day’s training class.

Choose your podcasts wisely, use them at the right time, and you will cultivate a mindset that enables you to perform so much better, on top of learning.

Simply download the podcasts app on your phone, and search for highly rated podcast shows in your respective area of interest, download the podcast and listen away.

Learn Every Single Day, and Become an Expert At Your Craft:

learn everyday become an expert

Moral of the story – learn every single day and become an expert at your craft.

In doing so, you will be putting yourself in the best possible position to execute to the highest of your abilities when your duties are called upon.

Here are four high ROI sources for learning every single day, and the keys you to optimizing each:

Learn by doing

- Ensuring you are in a high feedback environment.

Learn from mentors

- Specifically mentors who are achieving the results you wish to achieve.

- By preparing great questions to ask them to maximize your learning in the limited time you have with them.

Learn by reading

- Specifically books in which you have bought in to what the author has to offer you.

- Read consistently to sharpen your mind.

Learn by podcasts

- By listening to them in place of music (commuting, walking, driving)

- Great tool to get your mindset right as well.

The Bottom Line:

For those of you who seek to be the best at what you do – I trust that you will now embrace learning as an initiative, and implement these four learning sources into your life.

For those of you that do, I can promise that you will grow in valuable wisdom like never before; and your progress, value, and life will begin to reflect this.

Now go get after it!

My Challenge To You:

  • Find a mentor in your field, reach out to them, prepare great questions to ask them before-hand, and take them out to coffee for 15 minutes.

  • Find a book relative to your craft/self-improvement that you will begin reading.

  • Find a podcast you will begin listening to in your respective field on your future commutes.