I’m one of those individuals who often are uncomfortable and bored in traditional educational settings. I always learned better and had more fun doing it, when reading a book. Except when I got a very enthusiastic teacher, perhaps that’s one reason why I like MOOC’s so much, they tend to be made by teachers who are highly passionate about education. Today I happened to watch some talks about learning and the brain.
In this part of the video, Dr. Lara Boyd mentions that due to the difference in our brain structure, our optimal learning settings differ from each other, there is no one method fits all. The takeaway is, don’t force yourself to learn in a traditional way if you notice that you learn better through different methods, then, by all means, do it!
So we should definitely push ourselves in order to increase the difficulty, this could be for example reading complicated material from time to time, not just accessible novels. The most important factor is practice, through our behavior and practice our brain changes. I also would add meditation, the way it changes the structure and performance of the brain is backed up by hundreds of studies.
Hope that helps :)