There are people who just “get” mathematics, and then there’s people like me. And maybe you.
I always struggled with maths. As a kid, I vividly remember my parents losing their tempers on more than one occasion while spending long evenings helping me learn my multiplications tables. For whatever reason, that sort of information just never made a connection inside of me. Maths and I just don’t get along. I’m pretty sure that Sir Clive Sinclair invented the world’s first pocket calculator for people like me.
However, maths was the only school subject that I couldn’t get my head around: I pretty much aced most other subjects. I have a very visual memory – my party trick used to be to memorize a shuffled pack of playing cards in under 3 minutes – so I’m not what I would call a particularly slow learner. Or maybe, like many people, I’m a slow-learner in subjects that don’t interest me.
Slow learners need more time to get to the same level of expertise as fast learners, that much is obvious. But is slow – or fast – learning a good indicator of a person’s intelligence? I’m not so sure.
Apart from party tricks with playing cards, being a fast learner isn’t very easy to demonstrate to someone. You can demonstrate how well you play the piano by playing the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3 – widely regarded as one of the world’s most difficult pieces of music to play. Or you could show how good your project management skills are by managing many or complex projects. Skills such as these work on the basis that “if you’ve done it before, then you can do it again.”
But that’s not a demonstration of fast learning. Maybe it took you twenty years to learn that piano piece. Or maybe you were fired from three companies before you learned how to be such a great manager.
Furthermore, just because it only took you a month to learn how to code in php doesn’t mean that in 4 weeks you can appoint and co-ordinate a management team to work on that special project.