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If You Want To Be Much More Successful, Learn These 4 Skills (People Would Be Impressed!)

If You Want To Be Much More Successful, Learn These 4 Skills (People Would Be Impressed!)

Sometimes, our lives seem to be so routine and we find that our actions are so repetitive that we forget to put thoughts into our actions. We just do the same things over and over and do it the same way that we have been doing it for a long time. We also often procrastinate, putting off simple things that are in front of us to do for later. We also tend to let technology do everything for us, lessening human efforts. Technology is a good thing, but forgetting to use your human, natural ways of doing things is not good.

You should not rely on technology to make you a more efficient person. Below are 4 tips on how to use your natural skills to turn you into a more efficient and successful person.

1. Use the CAR and STAR approach.

When you are in a job interview, do not answer like you are answering a text message. That means, do not give short and abbreviated answers. Instead, use the CAR approach or the STAR approach in answering the questions.

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CAR stands for Context, Action, Result. An example is:

Question: How do you handle stress at work?
Context: Working as an accountant, there are times when you look at numbers on the computer screen too much and it starts to make your brain tired.
Action: So, I pause for a few minutes, stretch, get up and walk to the break room to get water or a drink.
Result: Getting up, stretching and walking physically help distress. And drinking water or coffee gives me new energy to get back to work and work on numbers again.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Interviewers use this to predict future behavior. An example is:

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Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a situation when you had handled an irate customer.
Task: What task did you have to achieve?
Action: What did you do and why?
Result: What was the outcome of your actions?

2. Consume and create.

Have you ever held a book only to find yourself looking at the summary because you did not want to read the whole book? Turning consumption into creation means that with every piece of information that you consume, you should create something out of it. For example, in reading an article that you see on Facebook, you should read it with focus and concentration rather than hurrying to get to the end of it. You should let yourself absorb the information, and that way you are are actually creating information. You consume by reading, and create by absorbing.

3. Take notes by hand.

Let’s face it, nowadays we use the keyboard more than we use pen and paper. And that necessarily is not a good thing. When we take notes using a laptop, computer or your tablet, we do type in more information because we type much faster than we can write. When we take down notes through writing, we tend to write less because we write slower than we can type and we tend to catch up with what we are listening to. Yes, we write down less with pen and paper, but with this we are more selective with what information we write and this makes us process more information. The extra-processing of information improves our learning and retention. So in short, writing is better than typing in learning.

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4. Use examples, but understand the root of it.

To help yourself learn, do use examples. But what will help you learn better is understanding the logic and mechanism behind the example.

Example:
1 + 2 = 3

Understanding the logic of the example:
a + b = c

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If you understand the logic, the next time that you are presented with the same problem but with different figures, you would know what to do. You would know that 2(a)+3(b)=5(c) because you would know that to get c, you would ned to add a and b.

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Sarah Bonander

Writer, Human Resources Professional

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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