Superlearning – the key to the perfect job

Recently I read this and this articles and remembered the time I just started discovering superlearning.

After finishing my PhD and successful exit of the company where I started my first job I was a bit lost: what to do next? I was sure my education and working experience will provide me a job in whatever I want whenever I want and I “let go”. So I decided to experience as many things as I can and see where it takes me. I tried several things and made many mistakes.

Fast-forward several years that could fill a lifetime. I had a wife, kids, lots of stories, lost all my savings, and still no clue what to do next. I was not too excited  about getting an executive position (too much stress, I was not cut for this) or becoming a scientist (too little stress, it was really really boring).  Accidentally I found out that my first real job actually was the only job I really liked.

So I decided to give up the few dreams I still did not try out, and went for job interviews. Nobody hired me. I thought I was overqualified, so I underplayed my CV and tried again. Still no luck. To my amazement the area of my research, the area of my first real job was not there any more. It experienced a paradigm shift. Within something like 3-4 years several works were published and several technologies released that made my previous experience slightly irrelevant. I had to relearn the entire skill-set.

Fortunately for me approximately at the same time my wife taught me the basics of superlearning skills. Probably because the teacher was my wife I was not a star pupil, and with 600wpm at 80% understanding I still needed to learn the new skill-set. So I started reading. I decided to read 100 articles per day – scientific articles, technological articles, lifehacking/psychology articles.

First it took me an entire day to complete the reading task. But very soon brain adaptation kicked in, and I started to notice the repeating motives and focus on new things. By clustering the new facts in my mind I could skip 80% of the body for most of the articles, and could read the whole collection at 2 hours, but my retention rate dropped. At this point my education caused me to analyse the data flow and my brain’s ability. I decided to try several tricks I knew from handling communication channels. To my amazement that worked! I could read at 1000 wpm and 80% understanding, moreover I did not have to stop to analyse the material – the analysis came as by-product. Within 3 months I learnt the entire skill-set I was after and 4-5 skill-sets nearby.

This did not prepare me for the next job that I found: my friend was so much impressed by my ability to learn that he offered me a job where I had to learn yet another 4-5 skills-sets [programming flash, android-JNI, iOS objectiveC and game design].  I took the job. Then I took another job where I needed to master more skills. At some point I understood that with my superlearning I can master basically any technical skill I want in very little time. Now I was getting only the jobs where I got real satisfaction from being in the “zone”: mastering a totally new skill and getting superior results every several months.

So this is what I do now. I am a consultant. I take only the jobs which no sane person can handle due to complexity. I do these jobs well. I am busy but happy.

With ever-changing job market and ever-rising technological complexity there is no safe job. Education, work experience, good employers – they all may easily become irrelevant in a paradigm shift. And paradigm shifts happen all the time. The only key to job security and fulfilling career I know is the ability to learn a new skill-set in little time and with high success rate. And this is the premise of the superlearning….

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9 Replies to “Superlearning – the key to the perfect job”

  1. Dr. Lev this post is awesome! I love it. I’m creating those markers and the where do I go from here paragraph after obtaining the PhD and not knowing what to do afterwards gave me an instant visual.

    Beyond that, this confirms exactly what I wrote down as one of my goals for this course – obtaining new and new skillsets rapidly and more effectively than ever before. With this superlearning ability I feel empowered to achieve all that I want in life whereas before it all seemed like a hope and a prayer.

    The first technical skillsets I’m looking into learning is exactly what you’ve taught yourself: Web Development (coding and programming). I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet, but I am definitely going to start there.

    Also the paragraph about you setting your goal for 100 articles a day helped me quantify my goal of reading 1-2 hours per day (which I read in another post) to getting that timeframe by a modest goal of 25 articles (x5 articles in 5 different categories of interested material).

    Eventually I’ll rev it up, but again, thank you! I always seem to learn more from hearing the relating stories of my professors.

  2. Amazing post, it really inspired me.
    From now on I’ll work harder, and I’ll master this skill (superlearning) to be able to master various skills more easily.

    Thank you for this post!

  3. Dr Lev,

    How are you creating mental markers for learning how to code? did you really have no coding background at the time you started iOS dev, etc.? I started learning javascript 4 months ago and have gone through a whole text book, online courses, and am still struggling to architect code. I understand it and all that but generating stuff from nothing is tough. my questions mostly have to do with mental markers; so basically one should associate images and visuals with words? or like for code, create visual markers to understand for loops, for example? help me break this down

    1. Too many questions at once.
      1.
      People who use memory palaces treat loops as circular corridors/arenas etc. Program than becomes like “queen elizabeth is going to visit my palace” story.
      2.
      I program since I was 14 years old, and programming comes to me more naturally than mental markers. I could learn Objective C in 3 days since I had many years of C/C++ [and other less relevant] practice.
      I use icons for loops (looks like roundabout road sign)
      I use synaesthetic understanding boosted by code highlighter to apply “colour” to larger code structures, see e.g. http://www.keytostudy.com/learn-grammar-foreign-languages/
      3.
      Will write dedicated series of posts once I have more time. Really want to…

  4. Not trying to nick pick here but i believe you are referring to knew instead of new in the sentence below:

    I decided to try several tricks I new from handling communication channels.

    Thank you for your hard work in the course it is really helpful but i always find myself in the start stop scenario where i am unable to work on this consistently.

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