Have you ever wondered how to start discovering something new in your life, but didn’t know where to start? First, you should decide what is the new thing that you want to explore. Second, you should know what to do to make the best out of it. Some of the insights below can serve as useful guidelines for everyone interested in enhancing their learning experience.
Find the childlike curiosity in yourself
Find something that’s interesting for you. When something fascinates you, you learn faster. You’ll be craving for more. Like a baby who has a thirst for knowledge of the world.
Start with the basics
When you want to discover new things, naturally you should first focus on foundations. Search for some courses for beginners. After taking a couple of these, you should have enough knowledge to get you started.
Remember not to limit yourself to just reading or watching materials, you should try it out and practice on your own. Passive learning isn’t the fastest way for you to grow.
Learn the things you need at this moment
When you are searching for answers to a current question, you have an opportunity to use the newly found solutions instantly. In result, you will have a full learning experience that will stay with you for a longer period of time, than it would from only reading something or doing it without really understanding the principles. You don’t have to read books from cover to cover. Read the part that is relevant to your problem.
Embrace the unknown
Know your unknowns and weaknesses. If you don’t know something, don’t hide it and bury it in the sand. Do quite the opposite: admit that this is new to you, and that honesty will push you to start looking for the answer.
Find someone who can guide you
The best way to learn is to learn from others. Learn from those who are better than you and admire them for what they do, but don’t just listen thoughtlessly and do what they say.
The teachers are there with practical knowledge to share. How cool is that? You can ask direct questions and dispute on a daily basis. Real life contact is above all the best learning experience, because it creates emotional involvement.
Pass through the copycat phase
At first you’ll copy somebody else’s ideas. In the long run, you should be able to create something on your own. Maybe something so unique that others will copy you or simply use your input to build something else.
Go one more step beyond
When you are finished with a course, you can’t stop there. You should go to another course, and another, and another. Till you reach the phase when you can easily do something on your own. Add something, subtract something else and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to play around with it.
Find the balance between hard and easy tasks
If you take on too many hard tasks, you quickly end up frustrated, irritated and hopeless. On the other hand, doing only easy tasks may cause boredom, and that’s not a preferred feeling in the learning process either. When you’re getting bored, your productivity drops, and when you don’t catch up, your motivation drops. You should level the learning curve and proceed one step at a time. Remember that the great people who seem to know it all, spent hundreds of hours to be where they are. And you can do that also, but that takes time. Don’t worry, you’ll get there eventually.
Appreciate your AHA moments
Everyone had it! The moment of epiphany. When you realize that the thing that you didn’t understand or couldn’t do, suddenly is clear and you can do everything.
Teach others what you’ve learned
You’ll better understand a subject, when you explain it to someone else. Directly or online in blog posts. You’ll get comments on your work and you can learn from such feedback too.
Take one step back and two steps forward
Try something different. Look at a problem from another point of view, get some perspective. If you didn’t quite understand something, ask and repeat. Maybe you should rewind to the basics to understand the more advanced topics. Find what’s best for the specific situation. Maybe the topic is too hard for now. Start with a task that’s a little bit easier, that makes sense to you now. Come back to the matter later, when you’ll feel you’re ready.
Is this enough for me?
Ask yourself this question to establish where you are, and if this is the level you aimed for or if you could go even higher. If you want to be able to cook something in your own kitchen, you need to know some basic stuff and have a recipe, but if you want to be a chef someday, you’ll need a hell lot more to achieve this level of proficiency.
You can stop at any level you want. Don’t waste your time on learning things you won’t use in the near future. Your mind will lose interest in things you don’t use on a daily basis and they will fade from your memory. The talent you possess is yours to own. Only you can tell if you want to evolve your ability or just leave it at the current level.
Mastering something takes time, but it’s all about practice. When you’re determined, you can do anything. What’s your experience with learning new things? Do you remember your AHA moments?
Let me know if you’d like a case study that would give a better understanding on techniques mentioned in this article.