3 min read

💎 Finding your genius – don’t question your intelligence, question how curious you are

How to make Learning Effortless

Curiosity and success are inseparable.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly brilliant people during my first year of college, whether it was the CEO of Marriott, the advisor of peacekeeping operations at the United Nations, or the former deputy economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After carefully observing the way they speak, think, and present themselves, I noticed one trait they all had in common: an undying eagerness to learn more.

I used to wonder why the same person that would struggle to memorize the periodic table could effortlessly recite the entire roster of their favorite NBA teams, the points per game of the top scorers in the league, and articulate the conversation around the MVP debate with ease.

It used to take me uncountable hours to memorize chemical reactions, integral formulas, or physics equations – just to forget them all a few weeks after my final exams.

But how come I always remembered the hundreds of Pokemon moves in my favorite video games, or the 1,300 unique combination attacks in Smash Brothers Ultimate?

At the end of the day, there was some information in my brain that was learned, stored, and retained a lot more effectively– regardless of whether it came from a math textbook or a video game.

This all started to make sense to me.

We learn best about what we care about.

Applying Curiosity

I understand that school can suck. I understand you will have to study for exams you don’t want to be studying for. I understand that you won’t always love every waking moment of what you do.

However, from personal experience, it can be improved with effort. Intellectual Curiosity is a trait I repeatedly trained by seeking gaps between the information I’m learning, making connections to concepts I would never consider were related to one another, and falling in love with expanding my knowledge on a daily basis.

Find something extraordinary within the ordinary aspects of life. Something that is only extraordinary to you.

Aside from developing curiosity, I strongly believe that this trait is something we naturally have as humans. Just think back to the time you were a toddler and recall how many times you blurted out “why” to every piece of information that was instilled in your mind.

My parents would always joke about the list of questions I would bombard them with when I was younger.

“Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I see the wind? Why am I not able to fly?”

When we start going to school, our curiosity is overtaken by textbooks, lectures, and cramming information that can get us the highest possible score on an exam.

I’m not claiming that grades don’t have any value; I’m arguing that they shouldn’t make you lose sight of what matters most.

I’ve seen so many people get demoralized after having one bad school year, one bad teacher, or one bad class. They write themselves off, hold their head down, and are convinced they will never amount to anything meaningful.

I understand from first-hand experience that it stings when you don’t reach your expectations, but these are often the greatest opportunities to learn more about the knowledge you currently lack.

For someone who isn’t curious and doesn’t care about what they learn, maybe they can successfully cram information and ace an exam in the short term. However, when it comes to providing a skillset to the workforce, their abilities will not be as sharp as the person who failed initially but never stopped learning.

Lifelong learners will inevitably beat intelligent minds that lack purpose, passion, and persistence.

If there is anything to take away from this newsletter, it’s to never let your inner child die – embrace it instead.

There are so many people who doubt their capabilities, simply by measuring themselves with the wrong yardstick.

In a world that encourages us to prioritize short-term performance over genuine growth, I’m left with a question I still haven’t been able to answer.

What does it mean to be a student?

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