The Spacing Effect and the Power of Contribution: Maximizing Learning and Leaving a Lasting Impact


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 13, 2023

4 min read


The Spacing Effect and the Power of Contribution: Maximizing Learning and Leaving a Lasting Impact


In our educational journey, we often focus on memorization and passing tests rather than truly understanding and retaining information. However, research shows that there is a more effective way to learn and maximize retention through the spacing effect. This concept, pioneered by Hermann Ebbinghaus, suggests that learning material in multiple spread-out sessions improves our ability to recall information. But learning goes beyond individual achievement; it also involves contributing to something greater than ourselves. Kindness and giving back not only bring us happiness but also provide a sense of purpose and leave a utilitarian legacy for future generations.

The Spacing Effect: Enhancing Learning and Retention

Rote memorization is not only tedious but also ineffective in the long run. Instead of cramming information into our minds, we should embrace the spacing effect and spread out our learning sessions. This approach allows us to retrieve and reinforce previously learned material, making it easier to remember in the future. Persistence and frequency of repetitions are key factors in improving memory retention. Additionally, the intensity of attention and emotion attached to the learning experience plays a significant role. By creating vivid and engaging learning experiences, we enhance our ability to recall information more effectively.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind

Our subconscious minds play a crucial role in memory retention. Even when we feel like we have forgotten certain information, a portion of it remains stored in our subconscious. This phenomenon becomes evident when we engage in subsequent learning sessions. The second time we learn something, it requires less time and fewer repetitions compared to the initial learning process. Our brains are designed to think and automatically hold onto what is important, rather than relying on conscious efforts to memorize. This highlights the intricate workings of our brain and its ability to connect and retain information.

Contributing to Something: Finding Purpose and Happiness

While learning and improving ourselves are important, true fulfillment often comes from contributing to something beyond ourselves. Kindness and acts of generosity not only make us happier but also provide a sense of purpose and meaning. When we engage in activities that benefit others and our community, we leave a utilitarian legacy for future generations. The feeling of achievement derived from these acts does not require external praise but serves as a source of internal fulfillment. It is like clapping for oneself, recognizing the positive impact we have made.

Connecting the Dots: Common Points and Insights

Both the spacing effect and the power of contribution highlight the importance of engagement and interest in the learning process. When we are genuinely interested in a topic or find meaning in our actions, we are more likely to retain information and experience a sense of fulfillment. The intensity of attention, emotion, and interest influences our ability to recall and connect with the material or activity. By embracing spaced repetition and incorporating acts of kindness, we create a holistic approach to learning and personal growth.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace spaced repetition: Create a system that allows for regular review and reinforcement of learned material. This systematic approach ensures that information remains fresh in your mind and enhances long-term retention.
  • 2. Incorporate acts of kindness: Find opportunities to contribute to your community or help others. Whether it's volunteering, mentoring, or supporting a cause, these acts not only bring happiness but also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  • 3. Track your progress: Keep a record of your learning journey and the impact you make through your contributions. This sense of progression and improvement boosts motivation and reinforces the value of continuous learning and giving back.


Learning goes beyond memorization; it involves understanding, retaining, and applying knowledge. The spacing effect teaches us the importance of spaced repetition and engagement in the learning process. Simultaneously, acts of kindness and contribution bring happiness, meaning, and a sense of purpose to our lives. By incorporating these principles into our educational and personal journeys, we can maximize learning, leave a lasting impact, and find fulfillment in both our individual achievements and collective contributions.

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