Did you ever see the movie Meteor Man? You’ve never heard of it? I don’t blame you, honestly it wasn’t one of the more popular superhero movies (it was entertaining, though). In this movie, the main character, Robert Townsend comes into contact with a meteor and develops super powers (surprise, surprise). He spends a great part of the movie trying to learn how his powers work and eventually he ends up saving the day.
I mention this movie, because Meteor Man had a cool power that allowed him to touch any book, and have instant recall of any of the book’s contents. It wasn’t just limited to memory, though, he could also instantly be able to apply anything that the book was teaching. For instance, when getting into a scuffle with some bad guys, he touched the “Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method” book and he was instantly able to fight like Bruce Lee. The only drawback with this power was that it only lasted for 30 seconds per touch, and then it’s like the information influx never happened.
Man oh man, if only I had the power to instantly learn things. There would be so many things I would learn. Ahh, the fun…ahh, the mischief I would probably get into. It would be pretty cool. I would spend a good portion of my time in bookstores and libraries just to test it out.
Let’s say you had the same “instantly learn anything in 30-seconds” power but there was a twist. What if you could retain what you read, but could only have this power for one weekend, and one weekend only. What would you do?
For me, I’d make sure I got plenty of sleep the night before, because it’d be a long 48 hours. Where would I go? If I were in America, I would dash to the nearest Barnes & Noble Bookstore. I would begin by laying waste to the business section. I would touch every business pundit’s book I could get my hands on. I would have my laptop open and within arm’s length. The Internet would be accessing my online stock brokerage account. I would touch Benjamin Graham’s “the Intelligent Investor” (he’s the guy who taught famed investor, Warren Buffett) and instantly be able to apply investing concepts. I would then login to my brokerage account, and start applying the lessons that very minute.
I would go to the self-help section and spend a bit of time touching books on time management and positive thinking. I would go to the martial arts section and touch EVERYTHING! I could probably leave the bookstore being an honest to goodness ninja.
I would read and re-read every classic piece of literature that I found interesting: All of Shakespeare’s works, A Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, Great Expectation, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Oliver Twist…THE SKY’D BE THE LIMIT!!
I’d round things out by going to the language section. I’d pick up every language in the store: French, Japanese, Spanish, German, Chinese. I’d go through all of them. Though I think the going through all of the language books in a bookstore, would give you great fundamentals, to truly learn all aspects of the language, you’d have to go to a bookstore in your country of interest. I’d would try to get back to Japan to learn all of the expressions and language that native speakers use in their books and in their daily lives.
**Now that I think about it though, I guess going to a graduate school library for a particular subject would give you more specialized information.
Let’s look at the language side of things. Let’s say you were able to instantly pick up and retain Japanese. Because you can apply any skill from the books you read, it means that learning the 1900+ kanji to become would happen in seconds, not years. You would be able to write just as well, or better than the natives around you. What would you do with your fluency? I would do three things:
First, I would use my fluency to have more meaningful communication with people. I always feel just a little bit limited by my vocabulary, and how much of the language I know. It makes my conversations more “surface-level” than I’d like them to be. I would like to go to my elementary school and just be able to sit, listen, and understand EVERYTHING around me: what the teachers are saying, what the kids are saying, announcements, bulletin boards, meetings, etc..
Second. I’d eventually use my skills to significantly ramp up the number of TV and modeling gigs I could do. Yes, this may sound a bit selfish, but it’s true. It would be a lot of fun!!
Third, I’d help people even more. Let’s just say The Japan Guy would be ramped up like you wouldn’t believe. The stuff on the site would be leaps and bounds more useful than even I could imagine.
I have two questions for you:
1. If you had Meteor Man’s powers but could retain all that you learned, what would you learn?
2. If you became fluent in Japanese today, what would you do tomorrow?
See you next time,