All learning is fundamentally doing.
The conceptual rarely makes sense without some insight into why it does. For this, one needs to play around with the elements that make up a given concept.
I sometimes struggle with the realization that a lot of the knowledge I will acquire; knowledge that I will spend a significant portion of my life-force trying to grasp will be for naught primarily because I may not find myself in the circumstance required to apply them.
We learn through recollection. Recollection requires a problem interesting enough to provoke a desire to tackle it, I’m reminded of George Hotz’s recommendation for those who wanted to learn to code, and it was that they must find a problem worth solving; a problem that would require them to learn to program.
Another benefit of doing is that we learn what not to do. You can only place your king two steps in front of your queen so many times in chess till one realizes how bad of a play it is. This is insight and it is fundamentally what learning is about.
Cal Newport wrote a blog post a while ago about how to excel at learning things that are technical in nature. His biggest piece of advice was that one should gain insight.To do so, one would need to spend a lot of time trying to understand tiny technicalities. This is mostly achieved through practice… and failure.
In an alternate post, he describes how well he performed in his Discrete Math class at MIT, managing to rank first. All this in the midst of many who had a prior engagement with the subject matter. His approach to mastery was an obsession with understanding proofs by recreating various proofs from scratch. In doing so he had to think the same way the proof authors did, and when he didn’t understand, he persevered and sought help until he finally did.
So too must Fighting Game players grind a single command until mastered, and chess players replay the games of past grandmasters. Passively reading or watching any material (especially that which is highly theoretical) makes no difference until one has a place to put new information in their knowledge tree.Start a project, do questions, tackle a problem, or anything else that will force you to engage with a concept.
Mastery and even basic proficiency can only be achieved by doing.
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Thanks, and till next time.