If I were able to go back in time and give only 1 object to my younger self, it would be a single sheet of A4 paper with the following advice:
“There are only 6 skills you need to succeed and if you learn then now, I promise you will excel in any career you choose and be able to achieve any realistic goal:
Our memories make up the narrative that is “us”. They’re also the foundation for any skill, knowledge or learning you’ll ever encounter. Using visual markers, mind palaces and other proven memory techniques spend time trying to develop a strong and reliable memory – it will improve your life more than you can currently imagine. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference never forgetting a name or a birthday can make.
After developing a strong foundation (memory) and can accurately retain lots of information, you should explore how we actually learn. Understanding the learning process will allow you to create a tailored approach, drastically increasing your speed at learning and deepen your understanding of a subject. When creating customised learning plans for yourself, take into account META Learning principles and leverage the effectiveness of interleaving and spaced repetition.
Once you can remember most things you read and understand most things you try to learn, it’s time to increase how quickly you can take in information by learning to speed read. Focus on methods that include eliminating sub-vocalisation, widening your peripheral vision, minimising saccades and using visual markers. You want to aim for a speed of 800wpm; at this rate, if you read for an hour in the morning and an hour before bed, you can complete a new book every day. This will be incredibly valuable at university, where you’ll be able to complete the required reading for most modules in a few days and even the recommended texts in just over a week. Imagine how much you’ll learn when you’re consuming 300+ books a year.
The 4th skill takes time and practice to perfect but is incredibly valuable. By honing your observation skills and being aware of events and details around you you’ll pick up so much information that goes unnoticed to most others. Observation is a particularly important skill when it comes to people and observing and understanding body language and behaviour is the best way to understand how someone is feeling and even what they might be thinking (after a LOT of practice and trial and error). I don’t think I need to explain how useful a skill THAT is.
To pull all this together, you need a solid understanding of logic, particularly reasoning and should learn how to perform in-depth analysis using all your observation and exploration skills. Finally, a solid grasp of strategic thinking will enable you to get a long-term view of your environment and formulate plans to achieve your ends.
With all these skills, you’ll be able to observe and notice details which others will miss, about people, events and situations. Your superior memory will help you retain these details long-term and you’ll be able to recall them when they’re most useful. These details will give an edge when analysing and evaluating a situation ultimately giving you a much better picture of what is happening around you.
Combined with your strategic mind, you’ll be able to come up with well-thought-out plans which take your observations and knowledge into consideration to produce winning strategies in business and life.
In addition to all this, I recommend that you sleep for either 6 hours or 7.5 hours – go to bed either 6 hours 15 minutes before you intend to wake up or 7 hours 45 minutes. This will ensure you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle and will awaken feeling refreshed.
Upon waking practice meditation and mindfulness. It can help to calm and focus you and is good for overall mental health. Eat within 30 minutes of waking and consume at least 30g of protein with your breakfast.
Feed your body nutritious foods, this will make you feel better, but will also improve your health, physique and cognitive abilities. Regular exercise will also boost your energy levels, increase your fitness and feelings of well-being.”