Your literacy determines your survival in this ‘super competitive world’ (Part I)
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2018 - 12:00am

Regardless of our age, sex or form of employment (whether self-employed or part of a giant corporation), the entire quality of your life will be determined by your ability to learn, to think, and to make your mind perform. Your future successes will depend almost entirely on your ability to absorb facts, skills, and procedures, and to put them to immediate use. Your income, your station in life, the people who will choose you as a friend, and the satisfaction you get from your spare time activities, will be determined by your keeping up with thousands of men and women competing with you.

The ‘super competitive world’

Dr. Eugene Schwartz, an American pioneer in “dentro learning” (the science of learning how to learn), refers to the “super-competitive world” in which we live. Citing cold hard facts, Schwartz said about one-third of your adult life is spent at work, more than a man spends with his wife and family. He earns, gains status, and makes friends from his job and yet, from the first day that you apply for that job, you are either accepted or rejected on the basis of your ability to absorb facts, and to master skills. For example, if you have a high school diploma, you will earn double what you would earn with only a grade school diploma and if you have a college diploma, you will earn double, triple or four times more than a high school graduate!

And yet, a high school diploma, college degree, or professional degrees are only the start of the overwhelming impact your ability to learn will have on your career. At every rung of the ladder, every time you’re considered for a promotion or a new job, your ability to learn (and to PROVE that learning in formal tests) will make the difference in your career advancement.

Carving a real US career requires several tests in civil service

Let’s look at a few examples: If you work in a union, tests will determine your ability to rise in pay scale every step of the way. From helper… to apprentice… to journeyman… to master… to foreman… to estimator… to superintendent. Every time you aspire to move up the ladder, you must first pass a formal test. If you work in the civil service, you will have to pass formal tests almost once a year to carve out a real career for yourself. The New York City Civil Service alone has over 15,000 tests. The New York State Civil Service has over 25,000 tests. And the United States Civil Service has over 110,000 tests!

If you work for a large corporation, you will not only have to take tests for a better job, you may have to pass yearly tests just to hold your present job. Industry now spends tens of millions of dollars every year on tests. Among the tests that you will be facing are Mental Maturity Tests, Progressive Matrices Tests, Semantic Intelligence Test, Differential Aptitude Tests, Psychomotor Tests, Proficiency Tests, Educational Achievement Tests, Interest Inventory Tests, and literally hundreds more! And this is just the beginning. In the armed service alone, there are over a quarter of a million tests for every advancement, every seniority! And then there are tests required to qualify for licenses for everything, from becoming an insurance agent, to a barber, to a cab driver, to a dental hygienist to an employment agency operator, to a fireman. Over 200 license tests are given in the city of New York alone.

Do not doom yourself to the life of a ‘half-doer’

Is it hard to absorb facts? The answer is NO! Given average ability, men and women who have trouble learning in adult life do so because no one had ever taught them how to study efficiently when they were children. Without proper study techniques, it is perfectly possible for you to understand only HALF what you should get out of a newspaper, magazine, textbook, business letter or report! Without proper retention techniques, it is possible for you to remember only HALF of what you have just read. Without proper techniques for filing and retaining that information you have just learned, it is possible for you to put to work only HALF of the knowledge you have stored in your brain. Through our negligence of the proper study of techniques, we doom ourselves to the life of a HALF-DOER.

You do not have to be brilliant to succeed in life. The only thing separating the average man from a fruitful intellectual life is DIRECTION – the ability to get best possible result out of your own efforts. With direction, any man or woman with average intelligence can learn new facts almost as quickly as he can read them. Every year, men and women who know how to study obtain business and social success far beyond what might be expected from their IQ level. The difference is TECHNIQUE, pure and simple.

The three simple building blocks of success are reading, writing and arithmetic. The old timers knew it. We’ve forgotten it. Television and automation have distracted us. These are foundation stones. Everything else, all advanced subjects, depend on them. For example, if you can’t understand what you read, you can’t read science. If you can’t express you own thoughts, you can’t write good advertising copy. If you can’t solve simple problems in addition or subtraction, you can’t start calculus or acrodynamics.

The one great secret of your success is to be a ‘blooming genius’ in the 3 R’s

Everything you do in your business life, for example, depends upon your ability to read, to write, and to figure. For the rest of your life, you’ll be reading newspapers, memos, articles, and reports. For the rest of your life, you’ll be writing letter applications, recommendations, and progress reports. For the rest of your life, you’ll be figuring grocery bills, installment charges, mortgage payments, profits and losses. Therefore, your fundamental task – the one great secret of your success, is to make absolutely sure you’re a “blooming genius” in reading, writing and mathematics.

Your primary job is two-fold. First, you must teach yourself new scientific techniques of reading, writing, and mathematics. Second, You must put them to use everyday to make absolutely sure you’ve got them right.

In computer language, this daily check-up process is called “feedback.” Engineers know that it’s not what you feed into a computer that counts, it’s what that computer does with that information – what it “feeds back” to you that matters. Some of the information can be lost, forgotten or distorted. You have to ask for it again to make sure.

(Part II – Double Your Power in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic)

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