The current situation — Learning as an autodidact

Jonathan Arbely
3 min readMay 17, 2018


Whenever I see something done in an impressive and efficient way, it immediately sparks my will to learn that particular skill, whenever, wherever.

This will to learn something new, whether it’s image manipulation, making a website load faster or writing that efficient SQL statement in PHP, whether it’s a design skill, programming, hacking or workflow. Whenever I see something done in an impressive and efficient way, it immediately sparks my will to learn that particular skill, whenever, wherever.

One particular image on Instagram captured my attention, impressed me aesthetically and sparked my will to do the same at an equivalent sophistication. To be able to compose color in such a homogenic way and at the same time manipulating an everyday item in Photoshop so professionally, that it’s undistinguishable from the rest of the photographed items, impressed me:

If this guy can do it, so can I! And I did:

In my experience, this mindset is what makes an autodidact stand out. Not only the ability to learn, but also the will. The will is what’s important here. This untamable desire to constantly improve in many disciplines, to learn the tools and acquire knowledge instead of focusing on specific problems. That’s what makes the difference.

In the day and age of easily accessible and most often cost-free knowledge, this desire to learn can be easily met for an extremely broad range of professional and soft-skills. While it is true that sometimes there is misleading, oversimplified or false information out there, the opposite is also the case:

Today, world class teachers share their knowledge in an engaging and friendly way. Paid websites solely dedicated to teaching offer anything from personal tutoring and a helpful community to a playful approach to learning itself and so much more. Offering Cryptocurrency payments in an effort to reach & teach more students, the so called “Unbanked” all around the world, has the potantial to improve the lives of many and brings real educational value into the homes of millions.

It all comes down to the mindset and therefore ambition of everyone who seeks to improve or jumpstart their career, understand how things around us work, or outright switch their professional path in life, to name a few.

Learning is easier today than it was ever before. Even in a world that gets more complex and technology more sophisticated by the hour.

The only thing holding back is mindset and ambition. A lacking of these attributes can render all the available information useless.

On the other hand, always seeking to improve comes at a personal cost, and it can sometimes cost what many people crave in their lives; Happiness.

Obviously, raising the bar on a nearly daily basis means failing, a lot. I found that looking back and analyzing past pieces of work can help anyone see their bigger picture. Refocus on one’s goals and be proud of what was already achieved. This is especially true for Freelancers who aren’t constantly surrounded by people working in the same industry.

To further harness the positive effects of being an autodidact and mitigating the negative ones, I found that surrounding oneself with likeminded, ambitious people can be a tough but important challenge, and like spending that extra 4 hours to color grade your monitor, or spending two hours on a single Instagram post for that matter, it’s all the more rewarding and will lead to gaining new perspectives, insights, inspiration and much more!



Jonathan Arbely

Freelance Developer & Designer at Magellan Code & Design Consulting / Into Offroading, Travel, Books, Blockchain and all about learning new stuff!