Category Archives: Personal Development

Life Long Learning gives you these three boons

life long learning from thinking skillsIn 2015, committed to life long learning,  Doreetha Daniels earned a degree in social sciences from College of the Canyons, in Santa Clarita, California.

Doreetha was 99!

She said she wanted to get her degree simply to better herself. It took her six years –  a testament to her will, determination, and commitment to learning, according to John Coleman writing in his new book, Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders.

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Recently, Tamborini, Kim, and Sakamoto found that, controlling for other factors, men and women can expect to earn $655,000 and $445,000 more, respectively, during their careers with a bachelor’s degree than with a high school degree. and Graduate degrees yield more.


Reading can dramatically reduce your stress levels.  Coleman cites a  recent report in Neurology that learning activities can help delay Alzheimer symptoms, preserving people’s quality of life. Other research indicates that learning to play a new instrument can offset cognitive decline, and learning difficult new skills in older age is associated with improved memory.

I have been taking Hindi lessons. And am delighted to report it seems to open all sorts of brain pathways-so I can remember names better and just feel generally sharper. Guitar lessons are next!

And it is not surprising there is compelling research to support the idea that the better educated make better lifestyle choices and live longer.  David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney’s research suggests that a year of formal education could add more than half a year to your life span.

Perhaps Doreetha Daniels, at 99, knew something we may have missed.


I admire those who are dedicated to learning and growth. I am certain you do too.

Have you ever sat in a quiet place and finished a great novel in one sitting? (By the way, I can teach you how)

Coleman asks if you remember the fulfillment you felt when you last settled into a difficult task — whether a math problem or a foreign language course — and found yourself making breakthrough progress? (I can help you here too!)

Have you ever worked with a team of friends or colleagues to master difficult material or create something new?

These experiences can be electrifying, and that is the kind of feedback from graduates of my Thinking Skills over the years.

There are many reasons to continue learning. I hope this article has given you some added inspiration.

As Coleman writes: “We live in an age of abundant opportunity for learning and development. Capturing that opportunity — maintaining our curiosity and intellectual humility — can be one of life’s most rewarding pursuits.

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Mindmapping Mastery at Home or Work


Thinking Skills Mind Mapping Starter Kit
You’ll receive this new Mind Mapping Starter Kit
  • Learn new material quickly and effectively using mindmapping and power learning strategies
  • Solve problems more creatively
  • See the “big picture” – make better decisions
  • Improve your critical thinking
  • Remember names
  • Concentrate while in meetings, presentations or during study
  • Keep meetings focussed – for example during a strat planning session
  • Make better presentations – better prepared and better delivered
  • Improve idea generation, for example during a brainstorm
  • Read faster
  • Handle masses of information – in presentations, meetings or study.

“Excellent approach which has provided me with so much confidence in moving forward especially in my studies for masters.”    J.B., Perth



  • Those who need to gather huge amounts of information, both verbal and written (e.g. training course material, legislation, product and system specifications, software manuals, etc).,
  • Consultants, Managers and personnel undergoing training,
  • those who are on registered learnerships,
  • those who need better short term memory to remember key things and key people,
  • officers whose jobs require a degree of problem solving, creativity, information memorisation and recall, or where they act as change agents. This includes
  • staff of technology areas and other project environments,
  • project staff and change agents in line administration areas,
  • those identified for “fast track”,
  • members of graduate programmes,
  • systems analysts, business analysts, programmers, software specialists, systems programmers, analyst programmers, application programmers, project leaders, network consultants, support specialists,
  • junior, middle and senior managers, section managers, and
  • anyone doing any kind of thinking, brainstorming, or attending meetings or presentations.

It is not aimed directly at staff whose jobs are more routine, exercising the role of control and management of existing processes and procedures, unless their jobs specifically require:

  • processing large amounts of written material and
  • solving problems of a strategic or tactical nature,
  • or where radical change requires that their job roles, attitudes to work priorities and thinking styles need to change substantially to cope with change.

Thinking Skills helps learners to see the big picture. It has a wonderful impact on morale. Therefore any groups whose individual learners need “opening up” would benefit.

“This will assist in implementing the right structures and disciplines to significantly grow my personal effectiveness both professionally and personally. Thank you Richard, I have already identified some of my team that I will be recommending this to. And I learnt to juggle!”    T.H.,  Australia

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4 reasons to come to the Thinking Skills Workshop


The Thinking Skills Workshop runs over 3 days. But why take the time to master speed

Thinking Skills Johannesburg

reading and mindmapping?

Many written comments we have received over the years describe thinking skills as the best workshop I have ever attended. They wrote this alongside comments saying they appreciated the alternative format comment, the creativity, Richard‘s manner and entertainment, and the fact that the workshop was oriented to both a work and personal development point of view. It was engaging, challenging and they enjoyed the study technique and juggling.

Why then, would you NOT send colleagues who have a need to process massive amounts of information and deal with impossible workloads?

  1. Many attend thinking skills because it has a powerful personal development focus. I get e-mails 15 years later from people with graduate degrees telling me how their life was changed by mind mapping and study technique. Or how their career blossomed after they got the confidence to take control of their lives and change jobs. So don’t send your key people because they may outgrow your organisation.
  2. Or you could read Tony Buzan’s Mind Map Book or Use Both Sides of your Brain to save your attending the workshop. However, lots of people who attended have already read these and similar books, and they found that the practical hands-on experience of gutting a 400 page textbook in an hour irreplaceable. One delegate was moved to tears by the experience.
  3. I researched the stress levels of people attending a Thinking Skills workshop. Six months later they showed stress level scores reduced from around 80 to around 60 on a standardised stress questionnaire. (Interesting, but statistically ns.) Using the same questionnaire and Transcendental Meditation as the intervention they dropped from 64 to 30 after 5 1/2 months. This was a HIGHLY (P <0.0005) statistically significant result. So if your people are coming on the workshop to reduce stress levels, know there is a better way: TM.
  4. You can use WolframAlpha to to do the studying for you. This amazing search computation engine revolutionises the way we learn new stuff. Example, try entering “weather Johannesburg versus Cape Town”. It will return in about eight seconds with: “assuming Johannesburg in South Africa” (yes, there is another Johannesburg—in California with population 172 versus 3.888 million in Joburg according to WolframAlpha) … and it’ll  show you graphs of temperature, cloud cover etc for the past four days, and even the next three days forecast. Now try “movies with the word dog”. It gives you 32 titles in about 5 seconds. The possibilities are fascinating and endless.

So it’s up to you. Use these books and tools to guide you. Search for ways to read and learn faster or get it all in a practical, enjoyable three-day break from the mind-numbing routine of the office.

Next workshop details:

VENUE: Houghton

DATES:  tba

PRICE: See Pricing

Keep Learning!


PS I’m really not kidding about the 400 pages per hour stuff. Its not a miracle (at best) or scam (at worst). Its really all about strategy – and a smattering of speed reading skills. And Mind Mapping is really important.