Learning how to Learn

Jay Shah
Jay Shah
Sep 2 · 4 min read

There’s a reason why I say that there’s no other time period that I would prefer to live in. The things that you and I have access to and often take for granted were practically inaccessible to almost all humans that came before us.

I think the single best investment that you can make in life is in yourself, and perhaps the most useful skill that you can acquire in this day and age is learning how to learn.

To identify, what I think are the two main challenges of learning something on the internet.

One: There’s a lot of BS out there.

The truth is the bar of entry to posting content online is extremely low in most cases. That’s both one of the best things about the Internet and also one of the worst. All that basically means is that you have to learn how to sift through the dirt to find the gold. And there’s a lot of dirt, and a lot of gold. Anyone can tell you how to edit a photo nowadays, which is cool, but most people have no idea what they’re talking about.

And two: Lack of discipline.

It’s easier to be told what to do and play a passive role in life. I’m convinced that a majority of people live like this. The good news is that discipline is like a muscle which means there’s something you can do about it.
Also, you only need a little bit to make a massive impact on your life. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should have an objective.

If you’re intense about this like I am, then you probably want to strive to distinguish yourself from others. That makes you valuable. Having a goal is crucial because it’ll keep you from getting lost in the sea of information that’s out there.

Are you trying to become a Product Engineer?
Do you want to research and innovate something new in the information age?

Write it down. This goal might change and that’s okay, but it’s good to have a North Star.

The 4 stages of competence

When you start learning something new, you don’t know what you don’t know. You’re clueless about how clueless you are.
This is called unconscious incompetence.

Okay, so when you’re learning something new online, the first stage that you go through is what I called the absorption period. You need to cast a wide net and get a better understanding of the field that you’re getting yourself into.

Books, podcasts, videos, articles. Get different perspectives, something about what you’re interested in attracted you to study it in the first place, but it is during this stage that you’re going to discover if this has the potential to become a real passion of yours or not. You can’t know until you’ve tried.

Next, if you’re like: “Okay, I want to go with deep with this”
That’s an exciting feeling and now you’re in stage two.I call this going straight to the top.
Basically, it’s essential to distinguish quality info from useless or low-quality info, this is super important because it’s just not possible to consume everything that’s out there and the low-quality stuff, which is most stuff, is just not worth your time.

Now there are many ways to go about this, but my personal favorite is to find people that are at the top, the experts, and become a disciple. This is not black and white. But again the more time that you can commit towards studying from people that really know what they’re talking about, the better.

How do you find these people?
It’s not an exact science, but things I generally look for are clear signs of mastery in their craft. This is usually evident in people with a lot of experience and/or successful careers.

Does their work speak to you?
That’s also really important. Being mindful that people with really big followings aren’t necessarily good at what they do, they might just be really good entertainers or marketers. The more specific you can go the better

Next, it literally doesn’t matter what you do.
You just have to apply what you are absorbing so that it can become a part of your long-term memory, a legitimate skill.
Absorbing info online is so powerful but it’s also not the full equation, and you’ll lose most of it if you don’t use it.

This is a wonderful way to build up a portfolio at the same time, by the way. There are a few things more fulfilling in life than accomplishing something new with a new skill.

To recap: Stage 1, absorb.
Cast a wide net and learn as much as you can about the field that you’re getting into.

Stage 2, go straight to the top.
This is a very effective method of distinguishing high quality from low-quality information.

In Stage 3, apply what you’re learning.

More about me: Jay Shah

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