The globalized competition in which we find ourselves constantly exposes us to the need to improve our skills at the risk of being left behind or even totally out of date until we are no longer able to make a contribution through our work. This fear, though exaggerated, is nonetheless very real. Rich countries no longer have a serious comparative advantage in professional skills as most learning can be done online. How can we stay in the race if we no longer have a moat* to protect us from the onslaught of the competition. While it is important to always know how to differentiate oneself in one way or another by employing a particular strategy, having the ability to learn quickly is certainly a key skill in this new battlefield of international competition. Essentially what differentiates two people in a professional competition is the quality of their brain. How do you acquire this ability? Let’s take a look at these criteria that will allow you to significantly increase your learning abilities:
Read about your favourite areas and seemingly unrelated areas
Reading is a way for you to acquire and model new ideas. These ideas act as seeds that germinate in your brain. They will allow you to wire your brain differently.
Learn to speak a foreign language fluently
Learning a foreign language develops your brain. Speaking, writing, reading or listening in a foreign language is a brain exercise that actually develops your brain. The more your brain is trained to think, the more it can learn. The brain is not a muscle, but it works like one. Languages are a great way to exercise your brain on a daily basis.
Making sport an ally for cognitive development
There are areas of your brain that can only be developed by moving your body. If you neglect physical activities that induce a sense of balance or coordination (dance, martial arts, etc.), you are missing out on cognitive development. Your brain does not develop only through conscious stimulation on a certain subject. A large part of the stimulation takes place unconsciously. Coordinated sports, for example, make this possible.
Living regularly for several months in a foreign country
Living abroad forces you to adapt to a different environment that is not suitable for you (because you are culturally different). Just as left-handed people are on average slightly smarter than right-handed people because they have to adapt to a mode that is not for them, living abroad will stimulate your mind and allow your brain to develop by thinking outside the box. Having to process new information makes you potentially more likely to discover ideas that will improve your life. Also, travelling is a great serendipity factor that you can use to your advantage.
Finding a way to speed up your learning
Many people talk about the benefits of speed reading. It obviously helps you learn faster. But there are tricks that we can all use. In reality, only a portion of the population is ready to really apply these recommendations, because most people read for pleasure and speed reading can spoil this desire. Basically, you have to think of speed reading like cycling. You may want to go for a ride and enjoy the scenery, but you can also use a bike to get from point A to point B, in which case the speed of travel (/ reading) makes sense. Let’s look at 3 tips you can use to speed up your reading: – Use your finger when reading: when you are reading, you can deliberately put your finger or the tip of a pen to force the reading speed. By doing this, you will force your eyes to follow a rhythm higher than its usual reading speed. – Read in the centre: when you decide to use your peripheral vision, you reduce the need to move your eyes which technically saves time. If you focus your eyes on the centre of the document you are reading, it will take you less time to get from one line to the next. – Imposing time constraints: by limiting your reading time, you will create a pressure that can create a certain intensity in your reading. This will necessarily make you read faster. In addition to reading, you can of course listen to books or book summaries in rapid succession. The point is that the more you encounter new concepts and ideas in your daily life, the more you develop your brain by giving it food for thought that it can use to make other ideas.
Teach what you learn
Teaching helps you retain what you have learned. It consolidates your knowledge. You will gain a position of authority. It also allows you to put into practice the knowledge you will recognise every day * moat: this is a marketing term that refers to an advantage that one company has over another that makes it difficult to compete with (network effect, patent ownership, technological advantage etc.). While this term is normally applied to companies, it can also be used on an individual basis for the purposes of the article.
* moat: this is a marketing term that refers to an advantage that one company has over another that makes it difficult to compete with (network effect, patent holding, technological advantage etc.). While this term is normally applied to companies, it can also be used on an individual basis for the purposes of the article.