How to Approach Learning

It’s Been Awhile

Hasn’t it?

I was in a place where I couldn’t get much writing done.

I got out of the groove, out of taking one too many con ed courses.

It’s times like this where you have to look somewhere for inspiration.

For me, I looked toward Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I was watching “The Terminator” the other day with my aunt; an incredibly good movie, as all Arnold movie are.


Picture the iconic scene where the T-800 is looking for Sarah Connor in the police station, but the officer refuses to let him in. It is then when he drops that iconic line:

“I’ll be back” ~ Arnold (said in my impression of Arnold)

He then proceeds to drive his car into the front office; destroying the entryway.

I hope my blogging re-entry looks the same way, only this time I am destroying that entryway into your mind; metaphorically speaking.


Namely because that is what I had to do to my learning approach



The NBA doesn’t afford you much free time to take continuing education classes. Hell there isn’t much free time at all. You have to be much more selective about what information you consume.

Reflecting upon my early career learning approach, there was only one conclusion I could make:


I could’ve done better. 


I spent so much time going to so many courses my first few years out of PT school, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It has introduced me to so many great people, and exposed me to so many interesting topics. Hell, it inspired me to write.

But as I was looking at my CV and seeing all the classes I took, I realized how many things I had forgotten.


I had forgotten because I didn’t use what I had learned.

I didn’t use what I had learned because I didn’t have the clientele to do so

As Eric Oetter says, I was learning just in case, not just in time.



I now structure my learning based on the following question:


What problem do I need to solve?


Take a sleep problem our team had this past year.

I was in the D league, and our travel schedule was absolutely brutal.

Brutal as in four 6am flights in five days brutal.

Brutal as in I was losing my memory brutal.

Brutal as in how in the hell can the fellas play basketball like this brutal?


Given our abysmal record, the answer was not well. It is challenging to do anything exceptional when your schedule forces you to consistently sleep fewer than 7 hours a night.

So here was my problem:


“How do I maximize sleep in this setting?”


I then proceeded to buy every sleep book I could find, read relevant research, watched videos, and bought sleep continuing education.

Almost all of my cognitive resources were devoted to sleep.


By collecting data and applying what I had learned, I was able to convince my coach push practice times to later, alter our travel schedule when possible, provide sleep strategies for those times when we had to be sleep deprived, and educate the fellas on sleep hygiene.

By the end of the season, we had significantly reduced the number of nights with less than 6 hours of sleep. Coincidentally, we broke a major losing streak and began to win games.

Consuming similar information led to better absorption and dot connecting, and applying it made it stick. Made it relevant.

Made it useful.

Just in time.


What if your situation doesn’t provide many application opportunities? Consider a student who has to learn material for his or her pursuits.

These individuals must contrive application scenarios that involve creating something. That’s exactly why your instructors have you make projects and do those lousy reports in school. These methods are merely ways of having you apply what you are learning so it better sticks.

There are many ways to create. You can write, Instagram, VLOG, beat poetry, preach neurophysiology in the street, whatever! It doesn’t matter, just create!


Creating material is mental imagery to prepare you for the day you can apply.


Structuring your learning around problem solving streamlines and enhances your learning process, sorts out relevant continuing education pursuits, encourages avoiding esoteric reads that are pseudo-learning at best, saves you money, and most importantly, helps your clientele.

I hope that by asking this question helps fine tune your learning approach as impactfully as it has for me.

Just in time.



  1. “I was watching “The Terminator” the other day with my aunt…”

    In my opinion, the best line ever on this blog…and that is saying a lot.

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