Should You Learn Things You Don't Plan on Using? - Deepstash

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Should You Learn Things You Don't Plan on Using?

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/12/26/learn-useless-things-2/

scotthyoung.com

Should You Learn Things You Don't Plan on Using?
There's two, broad approaches to self-education. The first is a learn-as-needed approach. You have a problem that needs solving, so you go and learn the things that will solve your problem. The second is a learn-everything-you-can approach. Pick things which seem interesting and learn as much as you can.

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There are 2 broad approaches to self-education đź“–

  • Learn-as-needed approach. You have a problem that needs solving, so you go and learn the things that will solve your problem. 
  • Learn-everything-you-can approach. Pick things which seem interesting and learn as much as you can. Don’t worry about whether you will find somewhere to use it later.

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<p>Skills and knowledge transf...

Skills and knowledge transfer far less than we would expect them to. So “broad-based” education is mostly a myth. What we learn is usually specific and often stuck to the contexts where it was learned.

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Many times it’s not obvious th...
Many times it’s not obvious that knowledge can solve a problem until after you’ve acquired it. Unlike physical tools, mental ones are effectively invisible until after you’ve already learned them. 

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Directness in learning

Directness in learning

If you have a concrete objective (speaking a language, passing an exam), how you practice should match the intended use.

An extension of this idea is that learning broadly ...

Direct learning works for a particular goal

We tend to think of skills reasonably broadly, but our skills are very specific.

Direct learning minimizes the chance that we will focus on learning information unrelated to our actual goal.

Many goals in learning require transfer

The magical "intuition" for hard subjects we notice in people like Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman is owed to their extensive knowledge base they could draw from.

The broader and more varied the situations you need to perform in, the broader your knowledge base should be to help you think better.

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2 kinds of prior knowledge

... you need two kinds of prior knowledge:

  • Knowledge about the subject at hand (math, history, or programming).
  • Knowledge about how learning actually works.

Force yourself to recall

When learning is difficult, you're doing your best learning, in the same way that lifting a weight at the limit of your capacity makes you stronger. 

When you keep trying to remember a piece of information, you interrupt the forgetting process and help cement the memory of that information into your brain. 

Interleaving

It's a strategy of mixing up the type of problems you solve when you're testing yourself.

That way, the testing conditions are more similar to real life, where you first have to figure out what kind of problem you have on your hands and then solve it. 

Speed and transfer

Consider at what speed you should try to do things in order to improve performance.
We can often learn something quickly, but without attaining a master level (like getting good at esti...

Failing to Reach an Ideal

There are two problems you can encounter when you're trying to learn something.

  1. You have a clear understanding of what you'd like to do and how you're going to do it, but you're unable to implement the approach you've chosen. Slow things down so you can pay more attention to every aspect of the problem.
  2. Speed learning is effective when you're not sure what the ideal should be and need more information to work it out. A good example of speed leading to move closer to quality is in entrepreneurial fields. Many fail because they picked the wrong problem to solve and wasted too much time trying to solve it.

Going faster vs doing it right

The balance between going faster and doing it right depends on what you're trying to achieve.

  • Faster feedback means more information to find out your key challenges and possible solutions.
  • Slower helps you focus on a strategy you've chosen, allowing you to execute it correctly.