Watch where you step first

Through my learning process, I usually become really interested in a particular topic. I start searching everywhere about it and put it to practice (if possible). Thanks to that, I’m learning a lot by myself. Sounds good, doesn’t it? In practice, it is. In theory, this approach still has several flaws and it has definitely room for some improvements.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to focus on a particular field of study and doing other meaningless thing is always an easy way out. But why is that? Why is it so difficult to start studying something new or try picking old topics up where I left them? Why is scrolling through Facebook or opening a game on Steam so much easier? Ironically, thinking about it just a little gives the most likely answer. It doesn’t require thinking about what I’m doing.

If you lack any knowledge about any given topic, it’s extremely hard to have a steady learning process through the first steps. Everyone is prone to get ahead of oneself while researching, given that some sources are not as beginner-friendly as one would wish. This misfortune gives us a lot of hard work when we decide to learn something new, thus requiring more brain power than simply opening any social network on a new tab.

Now we have a perfectly described problem: How can we start to study a new topic and maintain our interest while it still is an alien concept to us? It’s not easy to come up with a right answer to this question since our conclusion may be entirely different from another’s. But fortunately, we don’t necessarily must have this answer straight away. We can always observe what works for others and apply it in our lives. Here, I present what has been working for me.

  1. Try to gather as many resources as possible. Look for¬†anything related to the topic you want to study: books, videos, articles, papers etc. It enables you to see things from a different perspective. You’ll always find that some authors are easier to grasp.
  2. Make sure your first steps through different resources go hand in hand. It’s easy to mess up when we have already moved forward using a resource and start from the beginning using another one. You may come across different information and explanations that may take you time to assimilate, thus delaying your learning process.
  3. Post-its are very helpful, use them. Many fields of study have jargons that are hard to remember at first. Post-its are very useful not to forget the meaning of these words or even mathematical formulas and algorithms.

It’s not rocket science, these are very simple and yet powerful tools that help me when I decide to delve into new topics. Yet, they don’t solve all of the flaws mentioned earlier and there are still problems with my current methods. I intend to break them down and think about improving what’s already working and removing bad practices.

But this is a task for another day.

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