Welcome to the College Prep Confidential Podcast
Sept. 9, 2019

CPC Episode #19 - Secret of the 3 Sisters

Want to power up your brain? Then check out the learning habits of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Oprah with nuggets like: Dilbert Creator's guide to multiplying your talents The learning habit of great minds like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Davinci Rewire...

Want to power up your brain? Then check out the learning habits of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Oprah with nuggets like:

  • Dilbert Creator's guide to multiplying your talents
  • The learning habit of great minds like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Davinci
  • Rewire your brain to be smarter with this one trick
  • The 3 traits of the top 5% of exam takers

Thank you for tuning in, for Episode 19, of the College Prep Confidential podcast. We’re talking about multiplying brain power, in an episode entitled, Secret of the 3 Sisters.

When the European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600's, they noticed a fascinating gardening technique...

The Iroquois Indians planted a trio of crops together to get a unique result...

“The Iroquois planting technique consisted of planting corn, bean, and squash crops close to each other. The corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, the beans give nitrogen to the soil, and the squash spreads on the ground to keep the weeds from growing resulting in cool moist soil. These companion crops were known as the “Three Sisters”

  • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and climb up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together.
  • The large squash leaves protect the threesome by creating mulch which shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
  • The prickly squash leaves deter away raccoons, which don’t like to step on them

The Three Sisters provide fertile soil and a healthy diet.

On their own, the three crops seem ordinary. When they're planted together, the magic happens...

This little trick is called Companion Planting.

It works the same in life. Have you ever heard of the term "talent stack?" Coined by Dilbert creator Scott Adams, the talent stack is a combination of skills that work well together. When it comes to value, You gain value in two ways:

  1. Get really good at one thing
  2. Build a combination of talents which you're good to very good at

Smash together ideas

When you have complementary skills outside of your main talent, it creates a multiplier effect like the 3 Sisters. And, it creates a unique set of talents which makes you stand out.

Essentially, the talents work together stronger than they ever would on their own. I covered this in a prior episode. The 1 + 1 = 3 effect.

We see this example over and over in society...

If you look at the greatest minds in the world, most of them are polymaths, or people of a wide range of knowledge and skills. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Davinci, Oprah Winfrey.

Elon Musk combined physics, engineering, programming, design, manufacturing, and business to create several multibillion-dollar companies in completely different fields.

Bill Gates combined science, technology, reading to make Microsoft dominant

Davinci built skills in invention, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, paleontology and cartography.

Oprah combined public speaking, rapport building with an audience, and a knack for entrepreneurship to build a billion dollar empire.

And it all starts with getting pretty good at a variety of skills. You can still pick one you're incredible at. the goal of the polymath approach is to get fluent in a variety of skills which complement each other.

Here's an example...

I worked a day job as a programmer. I specialized in automation of tasks. I also had a math major. When taken alone, all I had was a day job and some math tutoring students on the side. After doing some thinking, the lightbulb went off, and I found this was a unique combination.

When I combined programming, math tutoring, automation, the three talents combined to form MathCelebrity. And from the MathCelebrity website, I'm able to reach 3.5 million students and parents as of 2018 from 230 different countries. And I can tutor them all. 

Now understand, my grades were average in college. I barely passed programming in college. What helped me turn the corner was the persistent compounding of knowledge.

What about the ultra-successful? You see, a common misconception with the ultra-successful is inborn intelligence and greatness. Many people think they popped out of the womb with a 200 IQ already on the road to greatness. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most of the greats we know failed multiple times. Some of them, like Walt Disney and Milton Hershey and Henry Ford went bankrupt. Some of them multiple times.

It’s the continuous compounding of knowledge and studying other disciplines which brought them to their elevated status.

Here's another example of multiple disciplines which make no sense together, but they produced incredible results. This blew my mind...

Years ago, I heard about championship boxers taking ballet class. I couldn't believe it. How do guys who engage in ruthless fights suddenly decide to take ballet?

Well, when I dug deeper, I saw the power of the polymath. 

You see, dancers have the best footwork and balance out of any athletes on the planet. And boxers benefit from balance and footwork. It helps their defense, and offense. And if a boxer gets quicker and lighter on their feet, it helps them avoid heavy hits to the head and body.

And sure enough, as 1-2 boxers took ballet and got better, you saw more and more boxers adopting ballet. Boxing and ballet, what a combo!

Polymath Brain Power

As I've covered in prior episodes, when we learn new skills or get better at skills, we rewire our brain, creating more connections and stronger connections.

Professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School Alvaro-Pascual Leone weighed in on the power of being a polymath:

"When a person switches to pursue a field different from the previous one, his neurons form new pathways between previously isolated regions."

The beautiful thing is, the brain is not a fixed mass. The brain doesn't just shape behavior. But Behavior reshapes the brain!

It constantly reshapes and rebuilds connections and combinations.

In the book The Medici Effect, they talk about how the brain builds new neural pathways. And when the new pathways go to previously unreached areas of the brain, a new connection is formed. This allows for the smashing together of ideas, new combinations, and new groundbreaking ideas. 

If you interview polymaths, one thing you'll notice is they're all curious. Curious about related subjects, curious about improving, curious about why things work the way they do.

When studying other subjects, polymaths bring it all into context. They diversify, then unify. The great minds avoid separation. Rather, they think of all things as linked, or part of one piece. Steve Jobs said it best...

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things."

Another term for unifying your knowledge base is Whole Brain Thinking.

DaVinci confirms what we've covered in this episode...

Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.

And remember, anybody can become a polymath. It requires research and making connections. As you research more subjects, you build your talent stack.

So what’s the takeaway…

Study multiple disciplines. At the very least, read an article or 1 book about a new subject. Spend 15 minutes talking with an expert about a subject you wish to learn. Expertise will speed up your learning. When you’ve gathered enough information, then stop. Then let the information marinate. And see if you can build connections between what you know well, and the new subject you’ve learned.

With each new subject you get good at, your talent stack grows.

By the way, did you know there's a unique talent stack among top exam performers? 

For instance, exam prep has a version of the Three Sisters. I call it the Trifecta. The Trifecta consists of speed, chunking, and kaizen.

When you chunk concepts, you learn more. Chunking helps you constantly improve, which is known as Kaizen. Kaizen consists of small, consistent improvements. And as you learn more and make constant improvements, you get faster. They all work together in tandem, just like the Three Sisters crops.

And just like the Three Sisters crops producing a healthy diet, the Trifecta produces a healthy set of testing skills.

Continuous improvement helps you learn faster. Faster learning means more time on the exams. When you have more time on the exams, you eliminate stress. And less stress gives you a clear head to excel at exams.

The elite exam takers figured this out. So what I did is, I’ve taken the Trifecta, and built it into an easy to use college prep platform. You build all 3 skills at once.

To plant the perfect mental crops, head on over to the link below...

Cpcshow.com. That’s cpcshow.com

You have the secret of the best test takers in the world. It’s in your hands. The question is, what will you do with it.

To build your trifecta talent stack for exams, check out cpcshow.com. That's cpcshow.com.