The Science of Learning: Study Less, Learn More

Charlie Munger is a business magnate, lawyer, investor, philanthropist and Warren Buffett’s right hand man at the Berkshire Hathaway Corporation. As I’m writing this, his net worth is estimated at $1,3 billion (1).

Munger is big on learning; really big: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren (Buffett) reads — at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”

In his 2007 USC Law School Commencement speech he said:
“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines.

They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.…so if civilization can progress only with an advanced method of invention, you can progress only when you learn the method of learning.

Nothing has served me better in my long life than continuous learning. I went through life constantly practicing (because if you don’t practice it, you lose it) the multi-disciplinary approach and I can’t tell you what that’s done for me.

It’s made life more fun, it’s made me more constructive, it’s made me more helpful to others and it’s made me enormously rich. You name it, that attitude really helps (2).” [Read more…]

Negative Visualization: The Key to Lasting Happiness

For the most part, we have this concept of happiness completely wrong. We tell ourselves (and others) that if we work really hard we will be more successful, and when we get more successful, then we’ll be happy.

If we can only find that great job, get that next promotion, lose our excess weight, move into a better house or buy the newest gadget, then happiness will follow.

But modern research has shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

Rigorous research in psychology, neuroscience and management studies has shown that when we are happy our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energized, resilient and productive (1).

If we want to be happy, it’s crucial to understand how we can have true, lasting happiness and how we can avoid falling into the traps of what conventional wisdom tells us. [Read more…]

Consistency: The Forgotten Skill That Makes All The Difference

Let’s say you were given a choice right now.

You could either have 3 million wired to your bank account this very second or you could get a single penny that doubles in value every day for the next 31 days.

Which one would you choose?

Perhaps you’ve heard of this scenario before. In that case you know you should go for the penny because that option will generate greater wealth.

Still, it’s intuitively hard to believe the penny will result in more money in the end. Why?

Because it takes so much longer to see the payoff. [Read more…]

Positive Self-Talk: Being Comfortable With the Uncomfortable

Imagine participating in an experiment in which you’re asked to ride a bicycle until you’re completely exhausted. 

A group of scientists will soon be measuring your heart rate, pedaling power and pace. They instruct you to rate how hard the exercise feels during different points of the exercise and attach electrodes to your forehead and cheeks to monitor your grimaces.

You get on the bike and pedal feverishly at about 80 percent of your predetermined maximum force until you simply can’t take it anymore and stop.

In two weeks, you’ll do the same test again. Only this time you’ll have been doing your regular exercise after being coached in ”self-talk”, the verbal banter many athletes use during workouts and competitions.

Compared to the control group that’ll receive no self-talk coaching, how well do you think you’d do? [Read more…]

How to Stick to Your Goals By Raising the Stakes

It’s 6:00 am and your alarm goes off. As you fumble for your alarm clock you try to make sense of the situation.

”Why is the alarm going off at this freakishly early hour?!” And then you remember; you promised yourself to hit the gym before work.

The next second you’re negotiating with yourself; ”Hmm, I’m actually really tired. I wonder if it’s even healthy to work out when I’m this tired.

I could go to the gym after work. Wait, there’s probably no time for that. But I could go to the gym tomorrow instead, when I’m better prepared.

Now, let’s see how cool the pillow is on the other side.”

… And then this routine repeats itself every morning until you’ve forgotten about your gym membership altogether. [Read more…]