I’ve done Duo Lingo for over 1000 days in a row. It’s good for “older” people to challenge your mind, plus I get to speak and understand other than English. I get to poke the European’s in the eye a bit who claim that American’s only speak English (my wife’s family). Let’s not forget that we are a country of immigrants.
I also have a hard time not wanting to win everything I enter. I consider it a failure not to give it your 100%.
I’ve worked my way up to the diamond league and every week you compete against 29 other people. I’ve won 3 times, including last week.
I have a real hard time not competing. As Vince Lombardi once said, “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
My screen name is Italian for my real name. I studied Italian, German, Latin, French, Spanish and Klingon last week.
This example is a bit much in introspection, but the point is that examining yourself and your life gives you a window to learn who you are and why you do what you do.
Most people don’t take the time to look at past events to see why you act now like you do. Occasionally, one remembers something familiar, but that is when you have the time to think or daydream, like when it happens to you when you remember a familiar song. This is just knowledge that you have.
WHY WE DON’T STOP TO THINK ABOUT ME
I’m not talking about the online and public me (and I mean you here). Everyone takes care of that and primps or struts accordingly, especially on social media.
Life is more chaotic than social media and can hit you in the face. You are on instinct then unless you have prepared for whatever. Some are just instinctual about it. Others could be on the discovery of a lifetime if they learned why they act that way.
I know you can’t be ready for everything, but everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses. Some refuse to admit them though. Those that can will master their greatest opponent, yourself.
That’s where self-awareness comes in. I look at patterns so if the same type of event or response to something happens, I put the information together and can deal with the problem better. Not your run of the mill stuff, but how am I messing up relationships or how did a situation go from great to hell with one misstep on my part.
Instead of asking have I faced this before, what lesson did I learn, I want to know why is this happening again to me because of something I did, said or forgot to do? How was I successful in dealing with it or avoiding it? What lesson was learned past don’t burn your hand on the stove. It’s never the obvious answer.
Most can do this type of recall with a single occurrence of a prior or recent event that happened, but I go back to my youth and multiple iterations of a pattern that becomes obvious. The things that happen to me now when it goes bad probably happened to me in my earliest formidable years, but I forgot the lesson. I’m at a point in my life that I’m remembering that stuff now and it has affected how I look at life now.
I discovered my personality was the same although I, like everyone else can be an actor and can put on a different front. Usually it was a job interview or a first date, something we all go through.
Now, it’s take it or leave it with what you get from me. I don’t pretend and I also stop short of telling (most) people off and walk away. No one can fire me and I fired Twitter and Fake book.
My private thoughts go somewhere else. When I look back at my younger self now, I see the same person, only one who is trying to figure out why it is happening. Now, when the SHTF, I’m ready as I’ve read where I mis-stepped before and usually think it through before I get into trouble.
As long as I’m being self-aware, I can usually remember to shut the F**k up in time to not make the same mistake twice. I also learned to build, fix and mend things around the house, but that is easy compared to people.
One day, maybe I’ll look back and remember something that will help me in the future.
I want to look back fondly that I at least improved or grew in how I acted or re-acted. Occasionally I do. Mostly, I’m still learning not to be a screw up.
Look back when something is familiar and think of times as a kid when this lesson was first taught. Either that or look back on forgotten memorable times to enjoy.
Being a person of a certain age, I need to exercise my brain, body and even spirit. You stay in balance that way.
I’ve been using Duolingo to learn Italian for a couple of years. I would have picked French but the wife speaks every language in Europe it seems except Italian. Those are the two best sounding languages so it’s been the one I chose first when exercising my mind.
See my travails below how I turned it into a competition to beat others and dominate.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve meandered my way from rookie to the Diamond league, where most people who stick with it will stay with it and work hard, just because of human desire I suppose. The reward for that is that everyone studies hard and you need to do more to stay in the league.
HOW IT WORKS
Of course you learn, but you can use it on your computer or mobile device. Each is different. On the phone, you have 5 hearts (tries) before you fail a lesson. On the computer you can keep going, but get a continuously lower score.
There is a 15 minute double points score available as a bonus for finishing each round of lessons. If you do a practice on a finished lesson you can get max points with no hearts loss. Sure, this is sounding like a video game but everything is a competition to me. I’m a man and it was born in me. I can’t help it and I don’t apologize. I accepted it and use it to fuel my desire to learn.
There is more, but that gives you an outline of how to game it, but this blog is about how I got wrapped up in something else instead of blogging. Oh, and how I slayed the competition.
As I stated, by the time you get to the diamond league, you are pretty well committed. Some are learning because they are in a new country. Some took languages in school. Others are near borders and naturally speak the language. Most have a reason to be in that league.
I’d taken German in high school so I added that language a few months back. It is good to learn Spanish because of the makeup of the country so I then added that. Just because I couldn’t stand not being able to do it, I picked up French. I’d already started Danish because of some in-laws so add that to the mix.
There is a pay version of the app and you can get points a lot easier and never run out of hearts (like having unlimited outs in baseball). It’s an unfair advantage to the free players but they paid so good for them. They can get points at twice the rate of us plebs, but it’s where I am at now. It makes winning that much sweeter.
There is always some inspired player who wants to win the league for the week and to do so you have to commit to really working. Sometimes it is a horse race.
HOW MY WEEK DEVELOPED
I always like to start out the week with a big score by doing the 20 point doubles. You can cruise the rest of the week and score enough to not get bumped down to a lower league. I then watch who is going to go for it during the week. Sometimes it’s early and sometimes people wait and put on the full court press at the end.
I noticed a trend a while back (read about me, I see patterns and trends in everything) that even though someone might want to compete, you can suck the will to win out of most if you put it out of their reach. They’ll fight for first loser (2nd place).
I did my usual big total on Monday and was in the top 3, but that isn’t unusual as I turn it to cruise mode once someone takes off. By Tuesday, I noticed the makeup of the group were people who weren’t aggressive and just did the same number of points a day.
THE PERFECT STORM
Once I put it together, I knew this was my week to give it a shot. I threw up 1000 points on Tuesday to see who the real players were going to be. Nothing happened. I tried it again on Wednesday. There was no response. I knew right then that if I killed it a couple of more days, it would be over. I didn’t see anyone willing to make it a race so I made it a run away.
THE ATTACK OF THE KLINGON’S
Early in the week, one of my relatives told me that Klingon was a language. I’m a huge Trekkie/trekker so I said why not. Points are free and easy at the beginning of every language to keep you going because it is a beta language. That means no penalty for missing. It’s like you paid for the pro version of the game. Free points just lit up in my eyes, plus I can say stuff in Klingon, only not yet.
By now, I was committed. As they say in Klingon, today is a good day to die (I haven’t learned it in Klingon yet and won’t put it through a translator, but watch any Klingon episode of Star Trek). I went for it and quickly stayed the week at double the score.
WHAT HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY.
For one thing, I didn’t blog much. I did learn a lot of Spanish, German, Italian and especially French. I learned a little Danish and some Klingon. I understood a lot of what happens in grammar, sentence structure and everyday conversation. I can ask for the bathroom in some languages and order a complete meal or talk about the house in others.
It was a good week. I’ll win because I never play for second. I told myself along the way it was for learning, but when the stars lined up, my inner self took over and I went hard at it. I killed any desire for the rest of the group to compete and I won’t get an opportunity to win but a few times in life. There are too many good people. I struck early and often and learned a ton along the way.
One day I’ll be fluent or can survive, at least in Europe.
Here’s a shout out to my German teacher in High School, Jane Phillips. She taught me well and was pretty hot so I liked her class.
If you look in my quote blogs, there is a lot about winning. I have a hard time sticking with anything very long before I drop it or figure out a way to the top or my desired destination.
It’s weird sometimes when you expect to win and you do, just like it is supposed to happen
If you want to know the road ahead, ask someone who has been there.
Throughout my life, I’ve always asked people for what advice helped them the most, either good or bad. Sometimes, knowing what to avoid is just as, if not more helpful. I stumbled on this by accident when I realized that I didn’t know everything there was to know as an adolescent, even though I thought I did.
Not knowing the outcome is good if you don’t want to spoil a surprise. Knowing the right path in life to take is never a bad thing.
One thing I’ve learned is that most wise people have also learned that a lot of people don’t listen, so their knowledge remains with them because they are tired of offering to help, only to see it rebuffed or not taken. The same mistakes that experience already taught someone is then a lesson never learned or passed on.
It’s up to you. Ask what is the meaning of life, what helped the most, what is your biggest mistake, I have 2 paths in life to take but don’t know which to choose.
“Nothing can be so amusingly arrogant as a young person who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is their own.” – Sidney J. Harris
I don’t mind them going through this as a right of passage because I know I knew everything at one point. The only thing that is tough to take is someone who can look something up on a phone and thinks they know everything. That is not learning.
Learning involves a lot of failing and mistakes to hone a craft. We all learn best by learning what not to do before mastering any skill.
I make them put their phones away to prove their point and it takes all the bullets out of their guns.
“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.” – Albert Einstein
Even I have a hard time comprehending everything that is going on. We haven’t been told the truth about everything that is going on (or the full truth) from the election, to the virus to the vaccine for the virus to what China knew…..and so forth.
I like to lean on those who are more learned than me or have more experience. They can usually provide guidance to figure out what is going on or at least how to survive.
For Nietzsche, psychological growth is one of the most important things there is. Experiences do not have to be pleasurable to be good for us. Often it is suffering which gives meaning to our lives. By gaining experiences, good or bad, we grow as people, so long as we survive them, of course.
This quote is usually said as a quip, rather than to understand it’s true meaning. Navy Seals fully understand this and what it takes to not give up even when you want to and it is the easy path to take.
File this under the school of hard knocks, of which I have a Ph.D.
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. – Nido Quebein
You can’t change the past, regardless of how it treated you. You have to learn from it and move on. You also have to realize that it happened to make you the person you are. You will never be someone else so stop trying to be like them. Being yourself and accepting who you are is a gift. Many refuse that gift.
Social media is who people want you to think they are and want you to be. It’s becoming mind poisoning for many. Enjoy and be happy for others, but don’t let it define you.
This comes to today’s saying. Whatever happened happened. It’s time to take what you’ve learned and make the most of what’s ahead of you. You don’t know how long you may have to get done what you need to get done. Try to enjoy it along the way. You never know what lesson today brings to help you the rest of your life.
Failure is but a paragraph in the book of each human life. It is the pages that follow that ultimately define you.
I’m not sure who said this, but it is true. If someone knows, please put it in the comments and I’ll give the proper attribution.
You can get back on to the saddle of life and and ride after you fail, or you can give up. Treading water is as bad as giving up.
I’ve learned more by failing than succeeding. I learned not to make the same mistake again and how to avoid similar potential mistakes. Some never learn and repeat what doesn’t work. Such is life for humans.
“It is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.” — M. Scott Peck
We all have problems. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. One must face them and solve them. Every problem solved increases your arsenal of weapons to take on the next problem. Those who won’t face the issues or deal with them not only don’t grow, they go backwards in life. Oh, and you will have problems to solve until the day you die, deal with it.
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.” — Thomas Paine
When I studied Martial Arts, my Sensei told me that the ones who quit are the ones that it comes easy too. The ones who have to struggle or try harder persevere longer and achieve more.
Training for anything is necessary. Enjoying the journey is how to best enjoy the process of overcoming. That is the key to the above saying because life, happiness, freedom and other things we cherish are a journey, not an event.
Note: intelligent people generally read a lot. There are many ways to read a book. Authors read for story arc’s, character profile and emotional connection.
Many people learn from textbooks, but for general reading, here is a good list I found on how high IQ people read:
1) Find a personal angle: You need to relate to what you’re reading
2) Get a bird’s eye view: Get the basic outline of the book by skimming through the table of contents (and the rest of the book); try finding a central theme
3) Drum up curiosity: Draft a few “curiosity questions” based on the theme; consider these questions as you read the book
4) Create your own structure: Identify key points in the book and leave space for you to take in-depth notes
5) Record key insights: Take in-depth notes based on the elements you mentioned in Step 4; think about what the “Takeaway Message” is.
6) Review your notes: Now that you have a summary you have created in your own words, it’s now time to review; try to remember the details related to the messages you recorded 10 minutes, 2 days, 1 week after finishing the book.
For my fellow High IQ readers, see how you would do on this test. It’s not are you as smart as a 5th grader. No, it’s much tougher. No wonder that our public school system is turning out under educated students. It appears that not only did our ancestors have to walk to school in the snow, they had to actually learn more than google on a smart phone.
Perhaps if they could pass this test, they wouldn’t have as much time to spend on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Most people think the are smarter than they are but usually are wrong. This has nothing to do with whether they have a high IQ or have trained extensively in an area (discussed throughout). These are indicators of whether you possess intelligence, but does not discuss whether you use it.
You can go anywhere on the Internet and find any research you want, but here are 5 indicators that show that you have potential for intelligence.
Intelligent people are able to accept their own failures and re-purpose them into lessons for future success. In fact, a study on decision-making skills reports that critical feedback from a mistake results in better performance the second time around. So while errors and setbacks can be frustrating, highly intelligent people are able to perceive them as growth opportunities.
It could of course be argued that humans are not that intelligent to begin with as we’ve continued to make the same mistakes throughout history.
I would argue that you learn more from a mistake than success. In giving one of my prodigy advice for life, I told him I didn’t remember every success because I expected it. I remembered every failure as it hurt and I vowed never to do it again. Some however never learn. They reveal narcissistic behavior which prevents them from admitting they were wrong.
You’re an Avid Reader
If someone doesn’t cite their sources but insists upon an opinion regardless of evidence, they’re likely exaggerating expertise. A simple way to check is by asking them what they do for fun. Beyond being a good way to gain knowledge about history or experiences that are different from your own, research shows that reading increases memory function, communication skills, and focus.
I am intrigued to talk with people with good vocabularies. To a person, they are readers of books, not social media.
One of the most intelligent fellows I’ve met was an avid reader, but couldn’t put life together due to lack of common sense. That is another subject altogether. He was obviously intelligent, but he couldn’t make good life decisions.
When someone can articulately and convincingly argue every angle of an argument, they’re genuinely smart. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, reveals the issues with assumptions; if someone is thoughtful and well-informed, they’re probably not faking their intelligence to get ahead. So while they’re really passionate and well-versed on a topic from their own perspective, if they haven’t evaluated all sides of an issue, they don’t understand it (or how to respond to it effectively).
This to me is one of the biggest indicators. The less intelligent can become so fixated on being right that they fail to observe the whole issue. You can intrinsically know what is correct by understanding which part of the subject being discussed is not correct or what part is flawed. The logic presents itself when you view it in its entirety.
I exempt lawyers here. Some of them may actually be intelligent, but they are trained to argue any side of an issue. Training is not an indicator that you are intelligent other than that you can learn.
You think before you speak
Truly intelligent people have a brain that is quicker than their mouth.
If you take your time to answer people’s questions and think them through to provide a genuine answer that you’ve thought about, you’re one step ahead.
It is also related with being overly concerned with what others think of you and the idea that you must be right. Many times, it is best to hear everything that is to be said before you respond. This point helps clarify celebrity behavior. They more often than not speak before they think or hear what is being said and then not thinking out the entirety of a subject. Combined with living in a bubble, the few that are intelligent are overshadowed by the celebtards who have to be heard. They expose themselves by opening their mouths, most often without their brain in gear.
You don’t care what others think
Seriously intelligent people don’t consider other people when making decisions.
They don’t think about how others will feel as a result of their own actions and do things regardless of other people’s judgement.
The net of it is look at yourself or your behavior. If you have these traits, you are likely more intelligent.
There are lists that say more intelligent people are messy and swear more, but I’d rather look for good qualities in people.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or french fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose,2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.
That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
The following were answers provided by 6th graders during a history test. Watch the spelling! Some of the best humor is in the misspelling.
Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.
Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.
The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.
Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.
In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java.
Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: “Tee hee, Brutus.”
Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw.
Queen Elizabeth was the “Virgin Queen.” As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted “hurrah.”
It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking.
Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.
The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couple. Romeo’s last wish was to be laid by Juliet.
Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.
Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.” Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.
Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.
Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.
Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.
The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered the radio. Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.
The quickest way to learn anything is by Positive Transference of Learning. Transfer of learningIt means transferring the skills you have learned in one field to something else.
Some obvious examples.
If you learn one instrument you can learn another easier than the first.
If you have learnt a new language it is easier to learn another quicker than the first.
But there are other aspects of it.
If you have learned to play the piano, you will be able to learn touch typing easier. This is because learning touch typing requires a rhythm and hand-and-eye motor skills.
If you have learnt to draw well you will generally be more observant.
You can use Venn diagrams to see what skills have in common.
Let’s imagine you want to learn three different subjects of:
Also assume you were a beginner in each, and had only an hour a day to learn.
Typing and piano both require hand practice (the overlapping skill)
Touch Typing requires typing out words. You can choose to type out french words from french songs. So words are the common element.
Piano requires learning songs. You can choose to learn french songs..
You can now use your practice hour in the following way.
Practice your typing for twenty minutes. This will get your hands warmed up, and increase your french vocabulary.
Then practise the piano for twenty minutes. Try singing the french words to the songs you are learning.
Now practice your french by learning new french songs.
This is only an indication of how skills can be transferred. We do it all the time in lesser ways, but it can be worked out systematically.
In my own case I once worked as a sailor.
I transferred that skill to helping run a diving boat. I was able to get free diving lessons for doing this.
Once I had learned to dive, I took up underwater photography. I now used my diving skills to get photos.
Once I got photos I sent them to magazines, so used my photo skills to get into journalism.
Once I got into journalism I wrote travel articles about diving.
I then expanded my journalistic skills to other subjects.
In most cases I simply learned enough to do the job required, so I was never particularly good at any of them, but good enough to achieve my purpose.
From an outside view I appeared to be a quick learner with many skills, whereas I was a normal learner with adequate skills applied in a systematic way.
Positive Attitude/Wishful Thinking: I simply make myself think that the subject matter is actually easier than it is (“other people can learn, so can I” attitude) and imagine myself actually know the topic well or the answers. I know it sounds silly, but the reason to do so is to help you get rid of any anxieties or stress you may have about learning the subject.
3 I’s approach: Introduce, Isolate (concept), Integrate (into current project or life).
Integration or applying what you learn is really key to making what you learn stick. What you learn has to be valuable or you’ll forget it.
Mind-mapping: I try to mind-map everything I read/study. It’s a great way to take note and also see how the different concepts connect to each other. It makes easier to retrieve/remember the information later.
Diagram/Pictures: Drawing things out on a whiteboard makes me see what I learn in different ways. Check out the Dan Roam books (back of a napkin and blah, blah, blah) on how to do it.
Deep understanding through 5 why’s: That main concept or issue you have a difficulty in understanding – ask why 5x, and try to get the answer. If you go 5 levels deep, you’re more than like to really understand the subject matter.
Learning has two components…- The ability to create the correct neural pathway (Short-term memory)
– And the ability to fire the same neural pathway with the right associated pathway (Recall)
Repetition leads to synaptic conditioning – the brain is plastic, and it allows the neural pathway to fire at a faster pace than before. That’s why repetition over a long period of time creates an instantaneous recall – that’s why you can recite your ABCs and 123s.
Try reciting your ABCs in the opposite way, and you’ll have a bigger difficulty than doing it forward.
What’s important is that you must realize that memories aren’t intangible – they are, as a matter of fact, physically touchable. They are simply patterns of neurons in different ways – just like how you would join the dots on a dot puzzle in a specific manner.
There’s another way:
Psychologists call it conditioning and some call it anchoring – but associating a very powerful previous neural pattern to your new memory is almost always going to give a very powerful trigger.
For example, you see it demonstrated in “memory techniques”…
You know your 1, 2 and 3s. But let’s say you peg them to RHYME with a certain word…
1 = bun
2 = shoe
3 = tree
4 = door
5 = hive
6 = sticks
7 = heaven
8 = gate
9 = line
10 = hen
Once you’ve gone through it a few times, it should be nearly impossible for you to forget the rhymes. Since each word is linked to your already powerful neural construct of numbers, each of these words get triggered once you think of each number and the methodology of rhyming.
And this is called “priming”. One thought leads to another – almost certainly.
Think about it…
When you think of a “bun”, you don’t simply think of the word. The image of a bun inevitably floats out. The smell maybe. The associated memories with it floats up.
But it doesn’t end there. The image might lead to something else. The smell might lead to something else. It’s an endless chain.
It’s a train of thoughts.
That’s how the Journey method works too. This method works on journeys you go on everyday, like a walk back to your home from your workplace or school. Obviously, you will be able to know what’s on your journey back home as well as your ABCs. And linking your memories is a method the Greeks used in the past.
Same with the Room method.
If you notice, “memory techniques” are almost all based on connections. Because that’s how the brain works.
I’m not just talking about memory here. It’s your whole approach to the brain. We’re leaping from thousands of thoughts per second to thousands of thoughts per next second. We’re only conscious of a few.
When you learn something, you immediately try to relate it to a past, strongly connected neural pathway (past memory).
Think about it. The first time you saw a four-legged animal, as a toddler, you might learn that it is a dog. But when you see a cat with four legs, you might understand that there are differences, but you might still call it a dog. When someone else corrects you, you build a new memory on that past memory that allows you to differentiate a cat and a dog.
We learn from contrast and connections. Imagine your brain to be extremely non-linear. It’s extremely random, and the only way to consciously organize it is to create non-entropic “tree branches”.
A similar technique known as the “Mind-map” is based off this. You can Google it.
Now that the background information is out-of-the-way, let’s talk about learning new stuff.
New stuff = Creating contrast from old memories
That’s it. And to do that, you need to ensure that the old memory that you’re “piggy-backing” off is strongly connected.
For example, for a pro tennis player, practice has allowed him/her to do a strong volley stroke on a tennis ball as proficiently as he can spell out his ABCs. That’s the meaning of a strong connection. (Again: The more you repeat it, the more conditioned the synapses.)
To learn something, you need to understand that the people who created these ideas also have had “past memories”. The timeline looks something like this…
Basic Info… -> Background Info… -> “Your new information”
It’s kind of what I’ve done above. I’ve lined out the background information so you can somewhat better understand my post here.
What you do… is you go way back to that person’s basics. Then you go to the background information. Then you go to your new information and soak it up like a sponge.
It’s kind of like a dartboard. You start from the outside (the easier foundation thoughts)… and slowly move in and zone in (your new concept).
It’s kind of an upside-down approach to the “WHY? WHY? WHY?” approach that a lot of people are advocating. It works, and it’s still going from the basic info -> new information.
To go a step even higher, you start to apply it on a lateral perspective.
You go sideways.
For example, there are tons of theories that can be applied to thousands of other seemingly unrelated scenarios.
Think of examples of the concept happening.
For example, the chaos theory says that the smallest things can create a huge difference in the results.
Classic example: Butterfly flaps its wings, creates a tornado in another part of the world.
You research: Tiny molecule contacts body cell, triggers over hundreds and thousands of chain reactions.
Or: 1 gene mutation creates a huge radical change in a body, leading to early death.
And if you actually go deeper, you’ll see that it correlates to other fields like economics… physics… chemistry… mathematics… sociology… anthropology…. literature…..
The gist was “Connections using old connections”. But I hope the exemplification helped.
No trick or gimmick will transform you into a ‘fast learner.’ When I started at university, I was struck by how quickly top students were able to understand and apply new concepts. Now, I understand that fast learning is an illusion – these students had encountered similar concepts in the past, and were modifying and combining old ideas to figure out new ones. They were always looking to learn new things, draw new connections, and develop their intuitions.One answer cites Scott Young, a blogger who ‘completed’ four years of MIT coursework in one year, as an example of a fast learner. But did the blogger really learn? On closer inspection, you’ll find that he wasn’t even able to tell that several of his solutions were incorrect! (see his solution to 6.042 problem 4a – his example graphs are not even isomorphic).
My advice is to not worry about time, learn something, and learn it well. Build your intuition – ask questions like, “Does this make sense?” “How does this fit in with everything I already know?” Make this a habit, and one day I guarantee someone will take you as a fast learner.
Mark Harrison, Running technology at FundingKnight (British Peer to Business – P2B – lending)
1: Put it into practice – do some worked examples. mind map the application of it to something you’re currently doing, You can’t learn golf from a book, you need to swing a club at a ball. You can’t learn Ruby on Rails from a book – you need to put together a site.2: Find someone who knows how, and has a reputation for being good at explaining things. Ask them to explain something. Buy them lunch if needed. If you don’t understand something, ask them to repeat it. If you don’t understand it then, ask them to explain it a different way. If they can’t, or they won’t, or you still don’t understand, find someone else to explain it.
3: Find someone else who is keen to learn about the same subject, and arrange to get together with them regularly (online or in meatspace), to run through how things are going.
4: Each month, go and buy a magazine in a category you’ve never bought before. I don’t care what – Interior Design, Fishing, Cooking, Sports Cars, anything really. Read it – you may pick up a ‘pattern’ that resonates with something else, elsewhere, and much of learning is about patterns. (Even if you don’t, you’ll learn something, so the day won’t be a waste.)
5: If you are in a meeting situation (class, business, club, whatever), don’t be afraid to put up your hand and say ‘Sorry, can you just explain why…’ a bit more. Stupid people will think you are stupid. Intelligent people will admire you. This helps discover who the people to start networking with are.
6: Accept that mastery takes time and practice…. and isn’t a constant upwards curve. Learn to love the plateaus.
7: If you are having trouble getting something, write it out, longhand (not on a computer) on a pad of paper, just before you are going to bed. (Ideally, wait until you are in bed, do it, then close your eyes and go to sleep). You don’t actually need the conscious mind to be involved to internalize a lot of things.
Robert Frost, Professional instructional systems designer and author of a training course and manual on the learning process
The key to quicker learning is to understand how learning happens and then taking advantage of that process.If we study how neurons work in our brains, we can reach two conclusions:
Learning occurs because of repetition
Learners must connect new knowledge to previous knowledge in order to learn
The first one is pretty straightforward. Repeatedly think about something and the neurons related to that something will grow dendrites and make associations with other neurons, making it easier for us to remember and recall that something, when needed. We all know how to learn or memorize by repetition.
The second is the more complicated one. Our brains store information by context and association based on existing mental models (AKA schema). If we want to learn new information successfully we need to either find an existing mental model that will associate with the new information or we need to build a new mental model in which the new information will fit.
The quick learner determines the analogous existing mental model or realizes when they don’t have an existing acceptable mental model and they back-off and build a new mental model before trying to absorb the concept that is new. Building new mental models can be done by outlining or mind-mapping. Start with the central new concept and branch off to the key features of that concept. Keep branching off until you reach a point where you have existing knowledge that can connect to the new knowledge.
Here is a crude example. Let’s assume we wanted to learn how to play chess:
By making the association between the shape of the Bishop piece and a picture of a bishop’s hat we will have a neural association that will make it easy for us to recognize which piece is the Bishop.
Using images wherever practical is a benefit, because our brains are better at remembering images than words.
Our public school system has been decaying for decades. My parent’s education was actually better than mine for fundamentals. I only benefited from more current knowledge and information…..and considerable hard work. When it’s easy to cruise through school as it is now fundamentally flawed (and the US ranks very low compared to the world in math and vocabulary scores), the facts are indicating that the kids learn less. It has come out that 80% of high school kids in NYC can’t read.
Some have taken a step to leave this indoctrination and are Home Schooling their kids. If you’ve followed the spelling bee championships, home schooled kids regularly win. It’s a parent’s duty to do the best for their kids, whatever it takes.
“What about home schooling? You know, it’s not just for scary religious people any more.” That’s a line from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and it should strike fear into the hearts, not of vampires, but of public-school administrators everywhere.
The fact is, Americans across the country — but especially in large, urban school systems — are voting with their feet and abandoning traditional public schools, to the point that teachers are facing layoffs. Some are going to charter schools, which are still public but are run more flexibly. Some are leaving for private schools. But many others are going another step beyond traditional education, and switching to online school or even pure home schooling.
And, as Buffy so accurately noted, it’s not just “scary religious people.” In fact, rather than scary, those religious people are looking more like trendsetters. A recent piece in The Atlantic told of purely secular parents’ decision to take their kids out of New York public schools and home school instead:
I found this from Anuj Agarwal, Founder Feedspot.com. but I wish I’d known about it earlier in life as I could have been more productive.
I’d like to explore what you feel is the biggest waste of time in your life. It could be standing in line, it could be pumping gas, it could be sitting on hold, or watching TV. Or, it could be reading a book (instead of listening to it while you work out and/or do the dishes), doing your taxes, or filling out paperwork for a rebate. Anything’s open.
What I’m after are essentially business ideas that anyone can go out and pursue as a startup if they wanted to.
Dwelling on the past
Not learning from past mistakes
Trying to change things outside of your control
The Internet/Social Media
Thinking too much about the future
Working hard and nothing is coming out of it.
The fear of missing out. – If you feel anxious because you constantly feel like you’re missing out on something happening somewhere else, you’re not alone. We all feel this way sometimes. But let me assure you,you could run around trying to do everything, and travel around the world, and always stay connected, and work and party all night long without sleep, but you could never do it all. You will always be missing something. So let it go, and realize you have everything right now. The best in life isn’t somewhere else; it’s right where you are, at this moment. Celebrate the perhaps not altogether insignificant fact that you are alive right now. This moment, and who you are, is absolutely perfect. Take a deep breath, smile, and notice how lovely it is.
Avoiding pain and defeat. – Not to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be OK – you just need to learn a lesson or two first. Don’t run from the realities of the present moment. The pain and defeat contained within is necessary to your long-term growth. Remember, there is a difference between encountering defeats and being defeated. Nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to know, so you can move on to the next step.
Holding on to what’s no longer there. – Some of us spend the vast majority of our lives recounting past memories, and letting them steer the course of the present. Don’t waste your time trying to live in another time and place. Let the past, go. You must accept the end of something in order to begin to build something new. So close some old doors today. Not because of pride, inability or egotism, but simply because you’ve entered each one of them in the past and realize that they lead to nowhere.
Retelling a self-defeating story. – If we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not. So the question is: Does your story empower you? Don’t place your mistakes on your mind, their weight may crush your current potential. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view the horizon. Remember, all things are difficult before they are easy. What matters the most is what you start doing now.
Attempting to fit in by becoming someone else. – The hardest battle you’re ever going to fight is the battle to be you, just the way you are in this moment. We cannot find ourselves if we are always searching for, or morphing into, someone else. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. Be your own kind of beautiful right now, in the way only you know how.
The picture in your head of how it’s supposed to be. – What often screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be. Although every good thing has an end, in life every ending is just a new beginning. Life goes on – not always the way we had envisioned it would be, but always the way it’s supposed to be. Remember, we usually can’t choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it.
Berating yourself for not being perfect. – Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you. Do your best and surrender the rest. Tell yourself, “I am doing the best I can with what I have in this moment. And that is all I can expect of anyone, including me.” Love yourself and be proud of everything that you do, even your mistakes. Because even mistakes mean you’re trying.
Waiting, and then waiting some more. – Stop waiting for tomorrow; you will never get today back. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past. It doesn’t matter how low or unworthy you feel right now. The simple fact that you’re alive makes you worthy. Life is too short for excuses. Stop settling. Stop procrastinating. Start today by taking one courageous step forward. If you are not sure exactly which way to go, it is always wise to follow your heart.
We’ve found, in our work with executives at dozens of organizations, that it’s possible to build any given skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone, and then rest. Aristotle Will Durant*, commenting on Aristotle, pointed out that the philosopher had it exactly right 2000 years ago: “We are what we repeatedly do.” By relying on highly specific practices, we’ve seen our clients dramatically improve skills ranging from empathy, to focus, to creativity, to summoning positive emotions, to deeply relaxing.
Like everyone who studies performance, I’m indebted to the extraordinary Anders Ericsson, arguably the world’s leading researcher into high performance. For more than two decades, Ericsson has been making the case that it’s not inherited talent which determines how good we become at something, but rather how hard we’re willing to work — something he calls “deliberate practice.” Numerous researchers now agree that 10,000 hours of such practice is the minimum necessary to achieve expertise in any complex domain.
That notion is wonderfully empowering. It suggests we have remarkable capacity to influence our own outcomes. But that’s also daunting. One of Ericsson’s central findings is that practice is not only the most important ingredient in achieving excellence, but also the most difficult and the least intrinsically enjoyable.
If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, as well as frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures. That’s true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something you’ve earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.
Here, then, are the six keys to achieving excellence we’ve found are most effective for our clients:
Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to build rituals — specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.
And now a note from me, work harder than the next guy but do it smarter. The above will help guide you but I’ve found that if you can figure out your passion, the resolve to do the rest falls easier into place. Concentrate and focus on what you and your competition are doing, that way you know what the playing field is. Learn the un-written rules of the game as well as any politics that will serve you better than your competition.