The economy of the future will be powered by individuals who can think and adapt. It will be bigger than having workers step in to new jobs – there will be entire new industries that we aren’t yet imagining. We need an agile workforce built of lifelong learners to work in those new fields.

But how do we become lifelong learners?

A growing body of research is making it clear that learners are made, not born. Through the deliberate use of practice and dedicated strategies to improve our ability to learn, we can all develop expertise faster and more effectively. In short, we can all get better at getting better.

Here’s one example of a study that shows how learning strategies can be more important than raw smarts when it comes to gaining expertise. Marcel Veenman has found that people who closely track their thinking will outscore others who have sky-high IQ levels when it comes to learning something new. His research suggests that in terms of developing mastery, focusing on how we understand is some 15 percentage points more important than innate intelligence.

Get three practical tips on how to become a better learner at Harvard Business Review

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