Focused Learning

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Except one is planning to compete every year on a knowledge show like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, it is often better to direct your learning in a very focused way towards specific fields.

I like the way Bruce Lee puts it: "The successful warrior is the average man with laser focus."

You benefit a lot more from narrowing your core interest to something specific and focusing on that in your learning. 

We all have different styles of learning. To many people, my learning style is confusing and probably looks unfocused. If I want to learn a thing, I spend the first few weeks reading up on the benefits of learning it, its alternatives and searching for a big picture use of it before finally focusing on learning it. It is the only way to gather enough motivation to see myself through learning it. I like to know what I am giving up by learning it and what ways my learning it is of lofty use.

And even then, I try everything in my learning journey. I don't have a consistent way of learning things. In learning Excel and Business Data Analysis, I didn't take any class nor benefitted from any book. I just dived in and managed to swim before drowning. And for French, I have tried everything I could think of: classes, immersion, books, online lessons, software, audio books, ebooks and one-on-one tutoring. For web app programming, I found online lessons, ebooks and one-on-one tutoring adequate.

Those things may look unconnected and like unfocused learning. They aren't. Learning French will open up new opportunities for business in the neighbouring countries and on those big (UN, WHO sponsored projects) that require English and French. Web App programming is translating my current solutions offerings into modern day on-the-cloud offerings and my gateway to building products I can sell. More importantly, it is the inevitable future in the business field I am in. Then the Excel and Business Data Analysis is what is earning my current livelihood. In the big picture I have, they are very well and synergistically connected.

For some other people I know, they have a very consistent structured way of going about their learning and it works for them. I have a friend who can't do self-study, he must take a tutor-led class. Everyone knows what works best for him/her.

The only thing I want to emphasis is that you'll gain a lot more from being extremely competent in very specific fields than having above average skill in lots of unconnected fields. And this is more significant if you hope to earning a good income from your skills.

1 comment:

  1. I personally love the pomodoro technique for focus during learning. Thanks for the piece.


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