While this anecdote is from my own experience, I have firmly believe that most of us been in this situation before. One day, you decide to learn something new. Perhaps you want to learn how to code, so you pick the hottest language of the moment. It’s a language that “pays the most”, works like magic, and everyone is looking for people that know it.

Or at least every forum and video selling you a course said so…

You went to the documentation, completed all the modules in code academy or freecodecamp and the like. Maybe even joined a Bootcamp, and by the end of it, you were left with an unsavory taste in your mouth thinking, “Do I really know how to code?”.

I spent three months on learning to code from scratch. And the first thing I realized was that I did not know how to learn something in an effective way, or possibly at all.

Thinking back on my academic experience, my way of learning things was forcing myself through an empirical method (Practice X math problems until you get it, read through this chapter X times until you cannot forget it…). This ended up being tiresome and more annoying than I have words to describe.

This method was crushing my willingness to learn anything new and made me question,_ “How the hell should I learn to code then?”_

After seeing the third ad for a course promising I was going to master data science in one month and be working with Google in three months, I decided to ask a more general question, “How do I learn new things?”

That magic question taught me that there are a whole bunch of smart people working on that question, with no bridge to sell, and willing to share their findings with the world.

So, I jumped right into it and here I brought you the core ideas, so you can start implementing them in your studies. Here are 3 ideas that should help you learn more efficiently.

1. The brain avoids discomfort, so you have to bribe it to make it work

Reading through a topic you don’t understand for several hours is hard. Most people actively avoid reading for long periods of time, but why is that?

To your brain, going through that is not much different than forcing you to endure torture. Most of the time your brain can’t be bothered to do stuff it doesn’t like, so you have to negotiate.

Give your brain something it likes as a reward for giving you those lovely minutes of focus, whatever triggers that sweet sweet endorphin.

One common way is the simple Pomodoro technique:

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes (or as long as you can focus)
  2. Once the timer is over, indulge yourself with 5 minutes of relaxation. Go on Facebook, eat some candy, play a few games of Tetris, whatever works for you.

The important part is that you give your brain a break which takes us to my second point.

#deep learning

Learn How to Learn, Before Learning How to Code
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