I was sitting in a pool today having a nice conversation over a few beers with this gentleman from France today. He is a senior teacher and teaches calculus and statistics. His experience is vast and what he shared with me blew my mind away, which was the concept of accelerated learning through application.
You see, we are all aware about how Mindmaps can help us greatly in terms of memory work. But what about tools to help us understand concepts and theories? A Mindmap doesn’t contribute much to that, although it paints an excellent picture of the subject. Surprisingly, what this French teacher found out through research and studies is that after we successful understand and grasp the concepts in our field of study, we do not have to do much memory work!
The key to understanding is to have a strong chain of thought, which is the ability to think in terms of “cause and effect”. For example, when A happens, B emerges, which leads to C changing into D, and so on. What I found out from this French teacher is that by using application onto real life examples, we can understand why certain concepts and theories were formulated, thus accelerating our learning! And I realized that I’ve been just that subconsciously!
I love drinking Koi (It’s a type of tea) and the queues used to be massive! While queuing, I would ask myself questions like, “What’s holding up the queue? Let’s check out how they run their business.” So when I finally got nearer to the counter, I observed the shop. They had so many staff! About 8 of them squeezed into a small area which was about 6m by 3m max? Can you imagine how over utilized their equipment to make the tea were? How is this related to economics? Are they experience diminishing returns where hiring an additional worker would actually reduce productivity? Maybe it’s time to expand their business by making capital a variable input (Think long run)?
And then competitors like Gong Cha, Artease, Eskimo started to pop out all over the place. I started thinking to myself. How much monopolistic power does Koi have? What kind of profit are they earning? What are the barriers to entry? How long would it take for all the bubble tea shops to move towards a competitive nature?
Besides Koi, I love socializing and meeting up with my friends to have nice long chats at Starbucks. We would buy 1 Mocha Frap Ice Blend each and we could sit down, talking for at least 3 hours! And then it came to my mind that the marginal revenue Starbucks gains from us could be much higher! By sitting down in their cafe for 3 hours, more business could be generated from me! Then I started thinking about consumer theory, how could Starbucks make me buy more coffee? How would they shift and rotate my budget constraint such that I can move onto a higher indifference curve and buy more Starbucks (X) as well? Then customer loyalty programs came to my mind but that’s not the main point.
By proactively reflecting what you study and applying them to real life scenarios, you will understand at a much faster rate! Textbooks and lecture notes give you their own examples but the most impactful lessons come from your own experiences!
Do this simple experiment the next time you’re out shopping. Pick a favorite shop and ask yourself this short question: Using Economic Concepts, how can this business further expand its operations and wealth?
I hope you have fun because I sure did!
Why not cut down studying time by studying effectively so that we can have more time to play hard!?