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The Ultimate Skill: Learning How to Learn

Procrastination and how to combat it

Procrastination usually happens when you reach a difficult point and find it uncomfortable to keep going.

The Pomodoro technique is effective in combatting this. This is where you work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes.

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The Ultimate Skill: Learning How to Learn

The Ultimate Skill: Learning How to Learn

https://hackernoon.com/the-ultimate-skill-learning-how-to-learn-9e2fabdc7f1e

hackernoon.com

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Key Ideas

What learning is

 There are two kinds of thinking, focused and diffused.

Focused thinking involves working on a singular task. 

Diffused thinking happens when you’re not focused on anything.

Learning happens at the crossover of these two kinds of thinking.

Procrastination and how to combat it

Procrastination usually happens when you reach a difficult point and find it uncomfortable to keep going.

The Pomodoro technique is effective in combatting this. This is where you work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes.

Sleep your way to better learning

Sleep is perhaps the best way to engage unconscious diffused thinking.

Being in focused mode is to brain cells what lifting weights is to muscles. You’re breaking them down.

Sleep provides an opportunity for them to repaired and for new connections to be formed.

Spaced repetition, a little every day

Spaced repetition involves practising something in small timeframes and as you get better at it, increasing the amount of time between each timeframe.

Chunking

A chunk is formed by first grasping an understanding of a major concept and then figuring out where to use it.

Ask: What are the important concepts to learn? Then, where should you apply them?

Deliberate practice

Spend time and effort trying to create chunks. Instead of learning every intricate detail, seek out what the major concepts are. Figure out how to apply them by testing yourself. Work through example problems.

Don’t be held back by old thoughts

The danger of becoming an expert in something is losing the ability to think like an amateur. You get so good at the way that’s always worked, you become blind to the new.

Have an open mind and don’t be afraid of asking the stupid questions.

Recall

Bring the information you’ve just learned back to your mind without looking back at it.

Rereading the same thing over and over again can give you an illusion of understanding it. But recalling it and reproducing the information in your own words is a way to figure out which parts you know and which parts you don’t.

The Habit Zombie

To make a good habit, 
  • create a cue
  • make a routine around it
  • give yourself a reward if you follow through and 
  • you’ll start forming a belief about you being the type of person who has the good habit.

Product comes after process

Focus on the process.

Thinking about the outcome of your learning is the quickest way to get discouraged about it. Because there is no end. Learning is a lifelong journey.

Free up your working memory

Create a to do list the night before, including the time of day you’ll call it quits.

Putting things down means they’re out of your head and you can devote all of your brainpower to focused thinking rather than worrying about what it was you had to do later.

Unlocking your potential

Learning doesn’t happen in a straight line. Learning looks more like a broken staircase than a straight line.

Learning tough skills doesn’t happen over the course of days or weeks or months. Years is the right timeframe for most things.

Everyone has to start somewhere

The first year you learn something new you might not be very good. The second year you might be worse because you realise how much you don’t know.

There’s no need to envy those who seem to know what they’re doing. Every genius starts somewhere.

Even Charles Darwin was a college dropout.

Learning is the ultimate meta-skill

... as it can be applied to any other skill. So if you want to improve your ability to do anything, learning how to learn is something you should dedicate time to.

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Habit Ladder

This is a system that is automated by you. It is called a habit ladder because, from the time you wake up to finishing your first work task of the day, you're climbing up one rung at a t...

How Habits Work

A habit - a mini-system that once you create, becomes automatic to your body, with minimal interference from the brain.

The Habit Loop is a breakdown of a habit put it into three sections:

  • Cue: A certain trigger that awakens the habit
  • Routine: The action you perform without thinking.
  • Reward: The change you experience making you want to do more of the same.

Making a Habit Ladder

Keep a trigger cue ready and stack up the routine in such a way that your tasks become a habitual routine without any friction, each trigger cue and routine stacked over the next one.

Example: Put on running shoes instead of slippers in the morning and that's your cue to go out for a walk, then when you are back and feeling sweaty, that's your cue to take a bath.

Habit matching

When planning on building new habits, one easy way to integrate them into your everyday routine is by actually adding them to an already existing habit. 

Therefore, choose one habit y...

A step at a time

Once you have made up your mind about taking on a new habit, you might as well start getting used to it. Just remember that we have, as humans, the tendency to work better without pressure and when taking one step at a time. 

Therefore, start by creating small habits and get used to them and you will see how easy it is to build long-lasting routines that will make your life easier.

Practice makes perfect

When having taken the decision to introduce in your routine a new habit, it is very important to remember that practice makes perfect. Consequently, wait no more and start doing even if just a bit every day. You will eventually succeed in adding a new habit while feeling proud of yourself for being consistent.

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Just start, break the initial barrier

Every task has a certain Activation Energy (AE), where you initiate certain steps in order to start a task.

Reducing the Activation Energy of new habits you want to form will make it i...

Practice chunking

A memory chunk is a solid connection in your mind that relates various bits and pieces of information. 

Focus on the concept you want to form a chunk of. Write down the basic ideas of what the concept is all about. Build up from these fundamentals to finally create a chunk.

Learn, Practice, Recall — Repeat

Just forming chunks is not sufficient. You have to maintain them. The more you look after the chunks, the longer they last.

While reviewing material, recall it instead of just reading it passively. Try and recall in a different setting than where you studied it.

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