Agile learning: how to build a brain like a gymnast

Aytekin Tank
The Startup
Published in
8 min readAug 23, 2018


Originally published on JOTFORM.COM

“Aytekin! This is why you need to write shopping lists… “

My wife is giving me a (good-humored) telling off.

Absorbed in my thoughts, I’ve managed to forget half the ingredients for the meal I’m cooking our friends tonight.

I’ve always erred on the forgetful side.

But according to new research, this isn’t a bad thing: forgetfulness is not only normal, but a crucial part of learning.

Let me explain.

Learning is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

The brain needs to be looked after, fed and trained. Not just once in a blue moon, but regularly — think ‘use it or lose it.’

And having an ‘unstable memory’ helps the brain shed unnecessary content (the way we shed extra pounds before a beach holiday).

It makes the mind more flexible. It increases learning agility.

Learning agility is swift, continuous learning from experience. Agile learners take knowledge from one concept and apply it to another. They experiment and forge connections across different disciplines. And they can ‘unlearn’ information that is no longer useful to them.

We live in an age of extreme information overload; the ability to distinguish value from noise has never been more critical.

Learning smarter, learning faster, learning wider — and forgetting the rest.

Here’s how to build a brain that runs like an Olympic gymnast.

1. Commit to reading (no excuses)

Learning? It doesn’t need to be complicated.

Reading, voraciously, is an excellent place to start.

The world’s most successful people tend to have one thing in common: their thirst for knowledge and their love of books.

Charlie Munger agrees:

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all…



Aytekin Tank
The Startup

Founder and CEO of || Bestselling author of Automate Your Busywork. Find more at (contact: