If you’ve ever wanted to re-invent yourself (at any age) learn a new skill, start a new career, or simply expand your mind, then today’s Mindshift show with Dr. Barbara Oakley, teacher of the world’s most popular online class “Learning How to Learn” is for you!!!

Today we’ll be talking about Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential, or how to shift your mind to a new perspective, or direction, to truly reinvent yourself in life.

We’ll talk about her re-inventions, from studying Russian, joining the army, working a radio in the South Pole, and going to back to school, after flunking math through high school, to become an engineer!

And we’ll talk about how you can learn how to learn and make a mindshift to do or become anything you want in life!!!



This video is coming soon! (Typically within the next few days)


A little bit more about my background. She has been married for thirty-three years to Philip Oakley. They met when they were both working together at the South Pole Station in Antarctica. They have two daughters as well as two adopted sons who are originally from Kosovo. Barbara started studying engineering much later than many engineering students, because my original intention had been to become a linguist. She enlisted in the U.S. Army right after high school and spent a year studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. The Army eventually sent me to the University of Washington, where she received my first degree–a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature. Eventually, she served four years in Germany as a Signal Officer, and rose to become a Captain. After my commitment ended, she decided to leave the Army and study engineering so that she could better understand the communications equipment she had been working with.

Five years later she received a second degree: a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In the meantime, she worked several fishing seasons as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers up in the Bering Sea.  Barbara wrote a book about that experience–Hair of the Dog: Tales from a Russian Trawler.  As one of my captains used to enjoy reminding me: “You know too much, it’s time to kill you.”  (It rhymes in Russian.)

Barbara also spent a season as the radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, where she met her husband, Philip.  (They were married as soon as they got ‘off the ice,’ in New Zealand.)  With the electrical engineering degree in hand she settled down and spent three years working as a instrumentation and controls engineer at a laser research and development firm near Seattle. She and her husband moved to the Detroit area in 1989.  She worked for Ford briefly, and then began doing consulting and attending Oakland University part time while our children were small.  She received a M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering in 1998.  She was hired after her graduation to continue on as a professor  at Oakland University.

Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior.  She’s published in outlets as varied as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  Barbara’s research has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal.


Barbara Oakley, PhD Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Key Topics:

  • How’d she end up on her career path from the army to Russia to the South Pole and on to engineering—after having flunked high school math!
  • What is a massive online class and what does it have to do with Mindshifting?
  • What’s it mean to Mindshift?
  • What’s the pomodoro technique and how does it help you learn or focus?
  • What are different types of meditation for learning?
  • What is self-monitoring and how can we use it to mindshift?
  • What’s the importance of small mental chunks?
  • How did she retrain her brain from Mathphobe to professor of engineering?
  • How do we completely retrain the brain?
  • What’s the importance of leisure activities for the brain?
  • What’s the importance of applying metpahors to concepts we’ve just learned?
  • What’s the importance of second-skilling?
  • What are a few key mindshifts that enhance learning?
  • What is a mind-map and why’s it so valuable?
  • What’s it mean to switch back and forth between focused mode and diffuse mode?
  • What can we learn from the Father of Brain Plasticity Dr. Michael Merzenich?
  • What’s the importance of doing something novel?
  • What’s the importance of getting outside of our comfort zone?
  • Can the brain shift at any age?
  • What do we need to know about massive online classes?
  • What one homework assignment should we begin today to shift our minds and chase our dreams?
  • How do we help kids learn how to learn?
  • To find out more go to:

Related Podcasts:

INSPIRE #144: Discover Your Hidden Intuition! Learn How to Tap In & Get Guidance & Answers Fast! (Penney Peirce, The Intuitive Way)

INSPIRE #581: DISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE & THE MEANING OF LIFE THROUGH QUANTUM PHYSICS! + Guided Meditation (Dr. Amit Goswami, “The Everything Answer Book”)


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