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Boost Your Motivation to Learn Hard Things | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/07/04/boost-motivation/

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Boost Your Motivation to Learn Hard Things | Scott H Young
There are three common reasons you can't motivate yourself to study. 1. A weak goal can thwart your progress. 2. Resistence, anxiety can keep you...

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Common patterns to the problem of motivation

Common patterns to the problem of motivation

There are three common patterns to the problem of motivation:

  • Drive: You don't have a strong enough desire to learn.
  • Anxiety: You have a strong aversion to learning.
  • Distraction: You have something else that draws your attention.

The difficulties we have in learning are not just related to strategy. Sometimes you know what to do, but don't do it.

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Having a weak drive to learn

Without a drive to learn, it's hard to get going. Weak drives include expectations from family, teachers, or employers. It's the things you have to do, but don't want to do.

You can change this, but you need an inspiring goal to get you started. If your project doesn't excite you, no advice will help.

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Problems of anxiety when learning something

Sometimes you are excited to learn, but you still avoid getting started. You may worry about the fear of failure, feedback, or performing. If you expose yourself to the thing you find unpleasant and nothing bad happens, your fear will lessen.

Reframing is often helpful in overcoming this problem. Begin each studying session with the idea that you will find it hard.

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Problems of distraction when you're learning

Distraction is not always bad. The problem is when distraction becomes compulsive. Create rules that will prevent toxic distraction.

  • Set time limits and caps on all digital distractions.
  • Work on one project at a time, see it through until the end.
  • Never quit on the uphill. Don't stop when you've just got a question wrong.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

When to Study

When to Study

Studying time is more efficient if it is spread out over many sessions throughout the semester, with a little extra right before the exam.

Cover each piece of info five times from when you fi...

What and How to Study

Testing yourself, so you have to retrieve the information from memory, works much better than repeatedly reviewing the information, or creating a concept map (mind map).

After the first time learning the material, spend the subsequent studying to recalling the information, solving a problem or explaining the idea without glancing at the source.

What Kinds of Practice to Do

For a particular exam, use the following:
  • Mock tests and exams that are identical in style and form.
  • Redo problems from assignments, textbook questions or quizzes.
  • Generate your own questions or writing prompts based on the material.

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Practice loops

Practice loops are useful as a concept to think about learning any skill. A practice loop is an activity or group of activities you repeat over and over again while learning somet...

Loops and drills

Many loops aren’t straightforward repetitions. You may never write the same essay twice. The loop isn't writing a particular essay, but the overall process for writing essays.

In the same way, each thing you learn may have more than one loop. Drills are smaller loops to focus on smaller parts of the bigger loop.

Designing Your Practice Loop

Step one involves figuring out what your loops are. These are the activities you repeat over and over when learning something.

Next, analyze the loop for different parts to see whether you can make improvements. It will result in faster learning.

There are Two Strategies for Learning Something

There are Two Strategies for Learning Something
  • Depth-first. This is where we pick one area and drill down.
  • Breadth-first works by first exploring your surroundings. If that doesn't work, pi...

How to Explore a New Topic Efficiently

When learning any new topic efficiently, we need to learn the most useful, basic and broadly applicable ideas first.

After that, we can move onto the obscure, advanced or specialized.

Academic Research: Follow the Citations

The learning space for an academic subject is composed of papers, books, and courses, linked via citations.

  • Start with a course or textbook. It will provide an easy entry-point.
  • For more specific topics, use literature reviews and meta-analyses, as they combine different studies.
  • Follow citation trails, focusing on papers that surface repeatedly.