Learning How To Learn, Sleeping Without Sleeping & Hacking Your Brain To Become A Learning Machine with Dr. Barbara Oakley

April 27, 2017
In this episode we discuss learning how to learn, meta learning, how Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison practiced the art of “sleeping without sleeping” to hack their neural systems, the concept of Chunking - what the neuroscience says about it and how you can use it to become a learning machine, why “following your passion” is not the right thing to focus, and much more with our guest Barbara Oakley.
 
Barbara Oakley is an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan. She has been described as the “female Indiana Jones” and her research adventures have taken her from Russian fishing boats to Antarctica. She has authored several books on topics ranging from genetics to neuroscience and has a recent book called Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Human Potential. 
 
We discuss:
 
-How Barbara’s journey has taken her from the Army to Russian Trawlers in the Bering Sea, to an outpost in Antarctica
-How Barbara went from a math-phobe to a professor of engineering (and what she learned along the way)
-Are you afraid of math? Why math can seem to be intimidating (and it doesn’t have to be)
-Why the emphasis on memorization as the sole basis of learning has sabotaged our efforts to learn
-How the concept of deliberate practice and why it's so important to learning
-How you can augment deliberate practice to become an even more effective learner 
-Meta learning and how you can "learn how to learn"
-The concept of chunking - what the neuroscience says about it and how you can use it to become a learning machine
-What learning an instrument can teach us about learning physics and math
-How the brain learns - and the difference between “focused mode” and “diffused mode”
-The “task positive network” and the “default mode network” within your brain
-Why you can’t be in both the “focused mode” and the “diffused mode” at the same time
-How Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison practiced the art of “sleeping without sleeping” to hack their neural systems and harness the benefits of both the “focused mode” and the “diffused mode"
-How do we strike a balance between “focused attention” and “diffused attention”?
-How you can harness learning limitations like ADHD or slow memory to your advantage
-How the difference between a race car and a hiker illustrate the difference between divergent thinking styles and strategies
-The curse of genius, why geniuses often jump to conclusi s, and have a hard time changing their minds when they are wrong
-Illusions of competence and how they can short circuit our learning attempts
-Is test anxiety real? Why do we feel anxious before a test?
-Often limiting beliefs and excuses crop up when we haven’t done the work truly trying to learn something
-How to test yourself and improve your knowledge and understanding of any topic
-How you can think about math equations as a form of poetry to more deeply understand them
-Why you should focus on distilling knowledge into the core elements and principles
-Why you procrastinate (and the neuroscience behind what happens when you do)
-The pomodoro technique and how it can help you conquer procrastination
-Why “following your passion” is not the right thing to focus on
-How testosterone impacts how women and men learn differently and why women often mistakenly don’t pursue analytical paths
-Passions can lead you to dead ends in your career, you should focus on broadening your skillset
-Why its important to be strategic about your learning
-How you can “learn too much”
 
If you want to master the art of learning - listen to this episode! 
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