Harnessing the chaos in your mind with the help of a teacher

There is a lot of knowledge in the world. A lot of information. And I’m a curious person. Left to my own devices, I scurry from interest to interest like an excited puppy on a walk, quickly sniffing flowers and trees before moving on to the next new thing. The laws of nature indeed dictate that left unto itself, nature will devolve from an organized state to that of disorganization and chaos — a disentropic state. As nature must obey its supreme law, so must I, and left unchecked, I too will proceed to disperse all knowledge and focus from my already scattered brain into the ether to be disseminated by the wind and acquired by others, who will hopefully show it more care and attention. Like a cloud, I’ve always drifted, from Mathematics and Computers, to Music and Chess, to Trucking and Cooking — always the student, never the master.

The free flow of information — like a mist, omnipresent

What is the purpose of an educational institution for the naturally curious mind that needs no additional motivation? The answer is simple, it is a funnel. It redirects, squeezes, and guides the path of the information it shepherds into a concentrated, directed stream. For someone like me, it’s as if my brain is the big plant in the Little Shop of Horrors screaming “Feed me Seymour!”, and having that person there to throw me arms, legs and other bits at the right pace and quantity is essential to pacing my growth, lest I mutate into a monster.

“What in the world is this guy talking about, ” you may ask.

No, not cannibalism and dog walking ( although those are two endlessly fascinating subjects, each with their own positive and negative aspects that merit discussion). What I am talking about, is learning a new skill — software engineering. More specifically, the very basics — problem solving and learning new software (both using and creating new software on a fundamental, less conceptual level.).

UNIX, VIM, Git, VSCode, Sublime, JS, Ruby, C, C++, Rails, SQL…. swirling around you like a nightmare….

I learned the alphabet at a young age, or so I thought until I had to start picking up all these new software programs. BASH, C, Unix, Vim, JS, SQL; these are all little bits you start to hear. You think you understand generally what they mean, but you’re not entirely sure yet at this stage. This is where my current online school, Launch School, steps in.

They serve as my funnel, putting me in the center of that galaxy over there, and slowly pushing in the bits that are relevant and necessary to what I am learning at the time in order for me to not only progress, but also stay challenged. The chaos is gradually getting pulled in to an organized mass in the center (future black hole?). On the far outside arms of that galaxy, you have full stack application development. On the innermost rings, you have understanding basic logic, variable types, loops and Ruby/JavaScript syntax. In between there will be some networking and server administration learning, some database deployment learning and HTML/CSS. Left to my own, I wouldn’t have found a sane, logically structured path to learn these topics without feeling like an octopus with 23 arms and only 1 brain.

Organized information + motivation and interest = make it rain, baby!

Thus far, I can say I’ve stayed the course, maintained and even increased my interest in learning these topics, and gone beyond the minimum required study to complete the assignments. Whatever path you are on, whatever you are learning, and however you are learning it, the key to achieving true productivity and progression is to reverse that entropy process and turn those drifting clouds of information into a rain of creation. To do that you need to condense them together first, with the help of a teacher.

Student