What Fast-Learning Leaders do Differently

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was famously self-deprecating when referring to his own intelligence. He insisted that he was not a genius, but that he merely sat with questions longer and relied more on his imagination than knowledge. When Einstein’s brain was dissected at the time of his death, it was discovered that his brain showed almost no signs of the changes traditionally associated with aging. It had more glial cells relative to neurons than an average brain and had an extra gyrus in the parietal lobe. Given these physical differences and his extraordinary legacy of discovery and world changing theory, Einstein was probably being a bit modest about his intellectual prowess. However, his musings on learning are more relevant for people today than ever before.

In a modern professional and social climate that can change dramatically in just a few hours, leaders and employees must be able to learn quickly in order to stay ahead of constant new challenges. After looking at the data from MRG’s recent study on Learning Agility, I was reminded of Einstein’s idea that clinging to stale information can hold back the acquisition of new learning. Two of the top behaviors that best predict “fast learning” are strategically analyzing the impact of decisions before acting and approaching problems with a willingness to take innovative risks. Please click here for more highlights from the study.

If you are ever in Philadelphia, I recommend taking a trip to the Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians. Among a diverse collection of scientific oddities, there is a display of glass slides containing thin slices of Einstein’s brain. If he was alive today and faced with the multifaceted problems of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think Einstein would think deeply before prematurely acting and use his expansive imagination to come up with pioneering solutions. Fortunately, we can do the same.


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Also, if there’s anything we at MRG can do to help support you or advise you as you transition to more online coaching, training, and facilitation, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all working through this together (even if we’re apart!).


About the author

Nancy is a Research Assistant at MRG. She is currently earning her Master's in Clinical Psychology at Murray State University. She is fascinated by the healing power of laughter and hopes to one day research the effects of improvisational comedy exercises on mood and interpersonal relationships. When she's not studying or conducting research, Nancy plays geeky board games you've probably never heard of, because you are too cool.

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