Needless to say, I’m not the smartest one around – I got a 5% on my first French test in high school. However, I noticed that a lot of my academically gifted friends aren’t successful career-wise, while some of my friends who have an average IQ are highly successful. Why is that?
Because in order to succeed in the real world, you need to know how to be self-taught, which translates into knowing how to process new information correctly.
I’ve found that people who can’t correctly process new information are generally great at passively being taught, but can never be self-taught. They’re great at memorizing a book from A to Z, but can’t apply the knowledge in real life. Below, I drew a diagram to explain how I believe one should process new knowledge.
Step 1 – Sort Out The Information
You need to sort out new information into 2 categories: the first being knowledge that you already know and fully understand. When you meet this kind of knowledge, you can stop reading on because you already know it! But for new knowledge that you’ve never seen before, or knowledge that you don’t fully understand, insert it into the “Process” barrel.
Step 2 – Process The Information
- Link this knowledge that what you already know. Is this an extension to what you already know, or is it a bridge so that you can understand more complicated knowledge that will be presented later on?
- What applications does this information have? Where is it used for?
- Under what conditions will this knowledge apply? What must happen for those conditions to be available? What will happen if a situation doesn’t contain those conditions?
- Summarize the new information based on keywords
Step 3 – Insert Your Summary Into Your System/Model
For example, I have an investment model that I follow. I insert new knowledge and compare it to my existing model. What’s in the new information that my model lacks? What conflicts are there between my model and the new information? What similarities and agreements are there between my model and the new information?
- Only by fully filtering new knowledge can you make that knowledge your own.
- Only through making that knowledge your own can you utilize it correctly and to its fullest potential.