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How to learn something new


This is a quick write-up on how I learn something new, such as a new field, discipline, hobby, or skill. [[Knowledge Work]] is contextually fickle: it works only when you have defined the constraints, and in this constraint we aim to do something with our bodies what we have injected into our minds.

Everything else is insight that has not been applied yet - we can be walking Wikipedias but we can never be artisans of every craft until we've invested energy, time and (intentional) effort into the field in question.

I've compiled some of the methods I used to get to a reasonable amount of prowess for any of these:

Increase surface area of understanding

  • Increasing our surface area of understanding helps with increasing the % chance of us learning something new

Build space for your knowledge base

Before anything, have the space, time, and curiousity in your brain so that new information can stick.

It's one thing to read and consume something for fun, and it's another to learn it. Learning is an aspect/synonym of the physical embodiment of a piece of knowledge, and that requires space.

(On memory and physical mediums)...That has much greater chance of it being embodied, it being embraced into your mind because, there is some emotional connection in there, right? Physical mediums are greater vehicles of emotional connection or I think this is the recent word that I learned was neuro-plasticity right. – RoamFM Episode with Cato Minor, 14:10

Craft your questions

Remember: Learning something new is a state of discomfort. It's questioning what we know, and realizing what we don't know: a constant loop of our knowledge broken down and reconstructing it to a better version of our pasts.

It's a form of change, and people have different responses to this eg. Scientists who have absolute beliefs in specific theories, find it hard to address counter-theories even if they have overwhelming evidence.

If you craft a list of questions dedicated to a certain field, that is a [[Table of Contents (TOC)]] outlining the extent of your curiosity.

Go straight to the source

A good shortcut to learning somethign new is finding the right individual to learn it from. This is how we can gain an advantage through curation.

As an example, [[Beau Haan]] would go straight to [[Sönke Ahrens]] to learn about Zettelkasten directly to the source:

It's a lot easier to do it this way because you get the best of curated sources from a trusted individual. They've done the work, they've spent the energy, and they have already put the effort in to vet for best practices, tips and tricks.

We're not talking about the foundation of the building, but rather the composition of the material we're going to build the building with.

Write your imaginary book

Another good tip: write an imaginary book about it!

When you add in the energy eneded to publish something, whether it is an imaginary book, publication or something else, the narrative starts to form naturally.

As we are voracious readers, we have embodied what a good book can be. The important step is that it improves on our tacit knowledge and level of embodiment in this field.