I am smart but a slow learner, I have seen people who learn things quickly have a different approach to new things and a different attitude but I can't clearly tell these things apart. Can you?
Answered by Will Stern
I've been in the web development industry for 16 years and have had to learn countless new technologies. I've also been a guitar, graphic design & video editing teacher for the better part of 2 decades. As a result, I've learned some very efficient ways to help people learn new things quickly:
Drown your way to swimming.
Don't start at the bottom, start at the top. Find the very best person in the field and follow what they say. If you don't understand their words because they're over your head. Listen to them more - Google their terminologies - until you do understand the world they live in. Compare your work to the best on earth, not to your peers.
Put yourself in a place that's way over your head. Apply for a job that you probably won't get ... The failed interview will provide invaluable information as to what people value on the playing field you want to be on.
"Play with the big boys" any chance you get. Get addicted to the feeling of being the worst on the team. If you become the best, find a new place to work where you aren't anymore.
Refuse to learn without doing.
Don't read a blog on how to code without hand-coding/copying every example.
If you listen to a lecture, take unnecessarily complex notes—this will lock in information.
Edit: Research shows that taking more selective notes causes you to process the information and retain it better: Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find
Start a blog. Disseminate the valuable information you're learning to others.
The simple act of teaching will cause you to process the knowledge to a level of simplicity that greatly increases your understanding. Plus, any human interaction surrounding the knowledge - comments, arguments, corrections, will cause it to lock-in deeper into your memory.
Practice shorter, but more frequently rather than longer, but less frequently.
A guitar student who practices 10 minutes every day will do far better than one who plays 2 hours once a week. The latter will simply keep re-learning much of the same thing each week, forgetting it by the next week. Your brain remembers the first and last things the most, so make sure to recap each "learning session" with the most important things you want to remember.