Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What You Really Need To Learn To Be Successful In Life - Part V

What are the key skills that, in an hypothetical situation where there were no schools as we know them today, I would deem essential for my son and daughters to learn in their youth?

Photo credit: Child with question marks by Shutterstock

By posing myself this question over and over, and by questioning traditional curriculums and the real, practical usefulness of them in helping a human being survive and realize the dreams and ideas he conceives of, I have arrived at thirty-five key skills that I have listed in this multi-part guide.

In this new and unique learning curriculum there is very little of what schools normally provide.

Made exception for some basic math (though learned and understood with a completely different approach) and for dwelling deeper into truly understanding how to "read" something or knowing more about one's own body and physiology, the thirty-five skills that I have explored in this guide share very little similarities, if any, with those that you can gain in the 13 years of basic traditional school education.

My key selection criteria in considering, evaluating and finally choosing anyone of the skills that I have here listed, has been a rather simple question: does the mastering of this skill significantly affect my probability to live a meaningful, constructive and rewarding life experience independently of the time, part of the world, social class, and group that one could be living in?

And when my answer has been positive I have included that skill.

Here the last five ones that I have selected:

31. How to Search

32. How To Navigate

33. How To Calculate with Numbers

34. How To Rest

35. How To Cure Oneself

Here all the details:

31. How to Search



"To make a thorough examination of; look over carefully in order to find something."

Source: TheFreeDictionary

"To find something by looking or otherwise seeking carefully and thoroughly."

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

"The ability to look for, inspect, look, check and to question in order to find something."

"To be able to know where and how to look for things or information."

Source: Robin Good


If you search online for "the value" or importance of knowing how to search and look for information or real things, you will have a very hard time finding anything useful or that even talks about this topic. Most of the information available online today relates to search engines and specifically to how to utilize them as marketing and advertising channels.

If you search for "how to search" you will not find much relevant information also, outside of tutorials on how to use Google and other major search engines.

In the first ten pages of Google search results I have not been able to find any up-to-date, reliable and informed content explaining in a comprehensive fashion how to search for anything, whether online or off.

The ability to look for, check, vet, filter and uncover rare, hidden or unknown things (whether physical objects or information) is of very high value as it can provide help, contribution if not
critical solutions to many human problems and needs.

It would seem as if historically search skills and abilities have been cultivated only by a restricted elite of investigators, writers, collectors, scientists and philosophers who have taken on personally their quest for finding answers to key questions and mysteries.


To develop good searching skills one must first develop an efficient questioning mind. That is to become very good at searching anything one must become very good at asking very good and relevant questions.

The better one is able to develop critical thinking and questioning skills that allow him to restrict and define what to search for and where, the more effective one becomes at searching and finding things.

Learning to play mind-games that involve thinking of and the use of questions to uncover a secret something can be particularly useful in this direction, as any other game that promotes the use of critical skills and questions.

Investigating a subject in-depth, by gathering as many facts and references as possible, from various sources and with different viewpoints, which need to be evaluated, verified and vetted helps in the development of valuable search skills. In this respect learning how to curate can
prove to be a very useful activity.

For these reasons learning how to do content curation can prove to be a very effective approach to learn just about any subject and to rapidly refine one's own searching skills.

Suggested Reading:


Book: How to Find Out Anything: From Extreme Google Searches to Scouring Government Documents, a Guide to Uncovering Anything About Everyone and Everything by Don MacLeod, 2012

Tools & Resources:

  • NoodleTools - Best search solution for your information needs

32. How To Navigate



"To find the way to get to a place when you are traveling."
Latin navigatus, past participle of navigare, from navis ship + -igare

Source: Merriam-Webster

"To direct (oneself, one's way, etc) carefully or safely."

"To plan, record, and control the course and position of."

Source: TheFreeDictionary

"To plan your course or to steer, guide or move through something."

Source: YourDictionary

"The faculty of knowing where you are in relationship to where you are headed. ...the activity of making your way towards a destination."

Source: FindMehere

"The ability to assess position, identify viable routes and select the most effective one
to reach a specific destination.

Source: Robin Good


"When you draw out a route to take on a map, this is an example of a time when you navigate.

When you steer and guide a ship to its destination, this is an example of a time when you navigate. When you move through a crowd carefully, this is an example of a time when you navigate the crowd."

Source: YourDictionary

Information is everywhere, but having access to it does not mean knowing how to find, evaluate and use that information effectively.

Navigating physical or information spaces is a required activity to move from anyone place to a new one. The difference between moving and navigating, consists in the fact that navigation is a more complex skill than moving, as it requires the ability to first understand where one is positioned, and then to identify and plot the best route and means to reach a new destination.

Moving is simply about the displacement of a person or object from a place to another one, assuming both are in clear view of each other and there are no obstacles or resistance between them.

To navigate is a very valuable skill both for anyone working inside information spaces like the Web as well as for anyone who needs to drive, sail, fly or move transportation vehicles of any kind from one place to another in absence of clear route indications as well as under unpredictable, confusing and emergency conditions.

"Navigating includes constantly determining present position and location while being alert to distance traveled as well as that yet to be traveled.

To navigate refers to following a planned course through an environment while being alert and coping with obstructions."

Source: FindMeHere


To effectively navigate any space or distance it is of the essence to develop the ability to easily assess present position as well as final destination. The better one can assess and define these two elements, the easier it becomes to move between them.

The more fuzzy, out of focus or not clearly defined any of these two references the harder, more time consuming and difficult (uncertain) it becomes to navigate between them.

In this light, the skills, activities and exercises that can help most anyone wanting to become a better navigator are:

  • Creating maps, and knowing how to read them
  • Assessing position objectively; knowing how to use compass, GPS and any other technology capable of assessing your present position in a physical or information space
  • Familiarity with different ways and options available to move from one place to a different one
  • Ability to rapidly evaluate pros and cons of different routes
  • Crap detection - knowing how to identify unreliable or misleading info
  • Pattern recognition - being able to recognize rapidly similar patterns and situations to anticipate, predict or adopt appropriate solutions
  • Opening all your senses to the information around you - this means that you need to develop and refine the skills of being able to sense, note, capture and interpret many different signals that can help you better assess position and navigation options
  • Opening your mind to understanding available information in new ways - the ability to interpret information from multiple viewpoints or perspectives
  • Knowing how to tell the forest from the trees - having the ability to see both the full picture / map / puzzle as well as the individual pieces making it up
  • Getting a bird's eye view of your position - knowing how to see your present position in relationship to other elements, and to the larger picture in which you are not anymore the center of your view
  • Confronting and interacting with the information you have - having the ability to manipulate, compare, analyze, transform, vet and distil the information bits at our disposal
  • Visualizing data and information at your disposal - knowing how to convert numerical and statistical data into maps, images that can augment our ability to see through them

Suggested Reading / Videos:

Video: Instant Expert: How to Navigate Without a Compass, by Paul Hart
Duration: 03':50"

33. How To Calculate with Numbers



"The study of quantity, especially as the result of operations that combine numbers."

Source: Wikipedia

"The science of using numbers to calculate."

Source: Robin Good


Knowing how to use numbers to calculate the probabilities of something as the cost of an investment you have to make, or to establish how much time is left before you arrive at a location, are just a fraction of the hundreds of situations one encounters daily in which having the ability to do basic calculations with numbers can prove to be very useful.

Here a few important human activities that benefit immediately when there is someone around who can calculate with numbers easily:

  • Buying and selling your products and services
  • Travelling and calculating travel and arrival times
  • Administering your personal accounts and expenses
  • Financing your next car
  • Billing the work you have done for a new customer
  • Planning your time
  • Navigating at sea or on a map
  • Estimating the cost of building something
  • Evaluating different alternatives based on numerical criteria
  • Training in a systematic way
  • Buying and selling your products and services
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Coding - Programming
  • Makers - Creators
  • Creative artists (painters, sculptors, filmmakers, editors)


The best and most effective way to learn how to calculate with numbers is to play with numbers.

The more you get accustomed and familiar with ways to calculate how to win, how to score or keep tabs on other players, the better skilled you can get at using numbers effectively.

There are literally hundreds of physical, mental and digital games designed specifically to help people become familiar with numbers and arithmetic, as well as many simple techniques that can simplify a great deal the memorization of relevant patterns and formulas needed to rapidly calculate even without pen and paper.

Traditional social games like many of those based on cards can provide some fun way to practice and use basic calculation techniques easily and in ways that provide an immediate reward.

Another important consideration to be made when trying to learn math outside of a traditional academic environment is the need to understand both the "how" of calculation as well as the "why" it works.

Without full understanding of both "how" and "why" it is much more difficult to retain and store in long-term memory any new learning.

Suggested Reading / Videos:

Video: Teaching Math without Words by Matthew Peterson
Duration: 8':17"

 Robin Good -
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posted by Viviana Brun on Tuesday, June 3 2014, updated on Tuesday, June 3 2014

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