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How I Managed to Out-Learn the Competition

How I Managed to Out-Learn the Competition

How I managed to out-learn the competition

    In my family, people read a lot. While my mother reads fiction (mostly thrillers), my father reads business books (lots of them).

    Growing up, I was always fascinated by the effort and energy that my father put into underlining anything in books, reports or magazines that could be relevant to his work. It’s hard to imagine how much work that is but, to give a rough estimate, their basement is nothing but bookshelves, boxes and filing cabinets filled with knowledge.

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    While fascinated by the process, I was also very skeptical. Not only was it taking the fun out of reading, it was also taking him a good hour everytime he wanted to show you something…

    As my father kept underlining (and still does), I joined the workforce, had ups and downs for years until I decided to quit and start my own thing.

    Now, with starting your own business comes the opportunity to create your own rules and experiments. So, to address this problem, here’s what I did:

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    1. I realized that de-centralized nuggets of knowledge weren’t searchable or worth maintaining.
    2. I created a simple Word document (probably works with another text processor ;).
    3. I systematically took note of every new thing that I learned.
    4. I reviewed the list every month. Combining, improving and adding elements as I went through it.

    Simple no? Here’s what it did:

    • It created a repository of knowledge that freed me to learn, knowing that I’m building on something solid.
    • It created a list of objective insights that I could revisit, learning new things at every read.
    • It allowed me to monitor my evolution and find out when I’m learning and when I’m not (gotta keep learning!).
    • It allowed me to keep track of who taught me what at what time.

    Learning by Sharing

    I started this experiment 3 years ago. Over these 3 years, the list grew quite a bit with now close to 500 insights on topics as varied as business financing and relationships. It’s not only a who’s who list of famous insights; it also contains original thoughts and things everyday people have taught me.

    Sitting on so much information led me to start blogging again. Through blogging, I’ve come to realize that, not only can we learn through peoples’ interpretations of our writing but, the process of thinking through these simple insights generated many many new ideas.

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    Out-Learning the Competition

    It’s very easy to buy all the bestselling business books and read everything novel that comes up on Twitter or your favorite blogs but, your competitors probably do the same and… this will only lead to information overload.

    The real goal with knowledge – and where you can out-learn your competitors – is to internalize learnings and let things you learn change you. After all, you can know the name of all the tools in the shed but, if you’ve never learned to use any of them, your knowledge isn’t worth very much.

    By actively seeking opportunities to learn, absorb and reinterpret knowledge, you build the thinking that will allow you to out-learn and, eventually, out-teach your competitors.

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    Make sure you have the best learning process in your market. Reading is only half the battle.

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    Last Updated on June 20, 2019

    Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

    Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

    There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

    More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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    Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

    You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

    During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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    Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

    Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

    The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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    This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

    Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

    The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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    This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

    This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

    Conclusion

    While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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    Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

    Reference

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