Meta-skills: learning at the highest level
Learn how to learn, in order to get better and faster at anything you want to achieve in life.
Integrating knowledge in our fast developing society can sometimes be difficult, due to the overwhelming volume of information available. Attention is thus considered our most valuable resource as it decides where we put our personal energy. For this attention and energy to be used most efficiently, anyone can choose to build a set of specific meta-skills. Some of them allow to reach a higher performance, while others simply to live a more meaningful and connected life.
Meta-skills are entirely self-taught permanent skills that enable other more performant skills to be acquired. Besides, they can be applied to a wide set of problem solving. Developing meta-skills indeed requires an individual to put in more energy and focus than into regular routine tasks. Considering, however, that meta-skills are gateways to pretty much everything else worth learning, you may find them infinitely useful.
Here are ten very interesting meta-skills to develop:
- Mindfulness – all paths lead to now. This means to be fully emerged into the present moment, in open attentiveness and objective observation. A mindful state gives the privilege of clarity and of placing focused attention. The main way for reaching this is through the easy practice of meditation on a daily basis.
- Self-awareness – the basic human capacity for introspection and recognition of oneself. It means to consciously know who you are, with your unique character and individual features, strengths and weaknesses, ideals and purposes. It is also related to meta-cognition, where one has the capacity to become aware of their thought processes and even access the subconscious part of the mind. This is the area where we are all supposed to search for and refine our personal inner talents – we all have at least one.
- Creative imagination – “Imagination is everything, it is the preview of life’s coming attractions”, considered by Einstein also to be “more important than knowledge”. In this article on Psychology Today you can read about his views on creative thinking, music, and scientific imagination – or check out more of his famous quotes here.
- Auto-didacticism – an existential skill to develop because it paves the way to new frontiers, on individual perspectives but also collectively. It is the curiosity for the unknown that makes our minds contribute to evolution.
- Adaptability – this means how quickly, easily and happily one copes with changes and challenging circumstances. One feels more comfortable with such situations by becoming more flexible with a continuously shifting environment. Adaptability is also regarded as a sign of intelligence for all species on the planet.
- Perspective taking – the ability to see the world through multiple lenses and to leave aside personal biases. It allows the formation of new approaches according to broader understandings. Besides, it contributes to the foundation of empathy, a precious “commodity” these days.
- Building habits – the philosopher Will Durant once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not an act but a habit.” In other words, learning how to build and maintain healthy, sustainable disciplines throughout our lives is truly essential for success. They give stability and continuity in reaching long-term plans.
- Improvising – this skill is useful in many stressed circumstances, because it allows a better communication of a content when there was insufficient preparation for delivery.
- Ambidexterity – the ability to use both hands with almost equal ease. If you are able to use your arms, training both sides can really pay off, especially in areas like sports, arts and music. It also supports better collaboration between brain hemispheres and benefits aspects in many daily activities.
- Time management – this skill is a must-have in our contemporary world, where agendas seem to overlap our time frames. In order to excel in this, prioritizing interests and tasks is necessary. It is equally important to take time off our daily routines, so we could truly be!
For those really interested in this topic, there are other meta-skills which are more professionally oriented and highly searched for by top recruiting companies.
You find that these meta-skills take a long time or are difficult to achieve? There are also others which you can acquire faster and easier just by applying simple tricks. One example is a high reading speed, which allows acquiring more knowledge in shorter time. In this video, expert in brain development Jim Kwik shares his methodology. Here are three main tools that might speed up your reading speed immediately:
- Use a mobile cursor, like a pen or the index finger. This simple tool is very efficient and it works right away.
- Don't vocalize what you are reading, not even in your mind. By doing so, the reading fastens to the speed of thinking, which is much faster than the one of talking.
- Adjust the reading position, upright and with the material for reading at the level of the eyes. This helps maintaining the body engaged in the activity for longer and in a more focused manner, less tiring for the body.
In my opinion, there is one meta-skill that should have the best of our attention. It is actually not something to grow into throughout our life span but more to keep the memory of it fresh. What I mean is to keep our inner child’s innocence of seeing everything through fresh and kind eyes. This brings in the joy of being alive here and now!
What do you think about meta-skills? Which is your favorite one to develop?