In his role as publisher of SUCCESS magazine, which contained business and self-improvement advice from high-achievers, Darren Hardy interviewed a wide range of “fascinating, interesting people”. This post centres around his advice for success, including the power of the compound effect, and explores aspects like consistency, hard work, setting goals, making improvements, tracking progress, and the positive impact of advisors and mentors.
Read more to watch a video of a presentation Darren gave about the lesson he learnt from his most personally meaningful interview for SUCCESS magazine, as well as discover key ideas from “The Compound Effect”*, a book about the impact of everyday decisions that Darren published at the start of the decade.
So, this post shares some techniques for learning a new language, from a TED talk by a woman who speaks 8 languages and counting… Lydia Machova likes to learn a new language every two years, and loves the feeling of reaching a level where she can “use the language freely and fluently to express anything.” Her infectious enthusiasm for language is apparent throughout her talk, and she describes herself as a language mentor: “I help people learn languages by themselves”.
The talk shares the secrets of polyglots, people who speak a number of languages, and is about 11 minutes long.
We are no geniuses and we have no shortcut to learning languages. We simply found ways how to enjoy the process, how to turn language learning from a boring school subject into a pleasant activity which you don't mind doing every day.”
Lydia shares four principles for learning new languages:
1) Find enjoyment in the process of learning languages – see some ideas for making learning fun later in this post
2) Use effective methods to retain words in your long-term memory by revising them repeatedly – her talk shares some examples of methods commonly used such as spaced repetition and the Goldlist method
3) Create a system for your learning such that it becomes part of your everyday life e.g. set aside specific time to revise vocabulary or listen to a podcast
4) Appreciate the motivation small successes bring and be patient with yourself: Lydia warns that “it's not possible to learn a language within two months, but it's definitely possible to make a visible improvement in two months, if you learn in small chunks every day in a way that you enjoy.”
One of Protagion’s mentors speaks incredibly highly of the impact of Whitney Johnson on his professional career, which tempted us to do further research on her ideas and approach. We were delighted to learn that she has applied the techniques of disruptive innovation to careers.
Disruptive innovation is the concept championed by Clayton Christensen. I vividly recall reading his seminal work on this while on holiday a number of years ago: "The Innovator’s Dilemma"*, and would heartily recommend it to those interested in strategy and innovation. A disruptive innovation is defined as a low-end or new market innovation that ultimately overturns an industry, with Netflix a commonly-cited modern example.
It is an interesting thought experiment to consider the workplace as an ecosystem of incumbents (established employees) and innovators/disruptors (new joiners). Whitney herself says: “The theory of disruption that we apply to products actually also applies to people”, and she is a firm believer that pivots in our own career paths “dramatically improve [our] chances of finding financial, social, and emotional success”
Core is the concept of the learning curve, a graphical representation similar to the curve of diffusion or adoption. It starts from no knowledge, recognising that growth is slow to start, before everything falls into place and your enjoyment significantly increases. Later, growth slows and begins to plateau. A similar model can be applied to other situations, including salary growth over a professional career.
Read more to see what forces lead to this curve shape, learn about other related models of expertise, consider how you can use this model as a manager, get Whitney’s tips for disrupting yourself, and see whose personal stories of career changes she profiled in a Harvard Business Review article.