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A Step-by-Step Process to Teach Yourself Anything (in a Fraction of the Time)

Source | Scott H. Young

Have you ever wanted to learn something, but weren’t sure where to start? Maybe you want to learn a language, programming or business. Maybe you want the confidence to tackle supposedly “hard” subjects like math, finance or physics. Today I’m going to show you how.

I’m going to describe the process I’ve used to condense a lot of learning into a short period of time. This is the same process I used to learn MIT’s 4-year computer science curriculum in twelve months, teach myself languages, business and intellectual subjects like physics and psychology.

This article is going to be a bit longer (~3500 words), so you may want to bookmark it for later.

I’m going to focus on the strategy for learning, meaning how you choose to break down a nebulous goal like “learn to speak French” or “understand personal finance” into something concrete and actionable. As much as possible, I’ll try to provide links to specific low-level tactics I use, such as the Feynman technique, visual mnemonics or active recall as well.

This strategy is just one possibility. If you’ve found success with another, by all means, go ahead! I only want to share the method I’ve been honing for years across a variety of different subjects.

The Steps in 2-Minutes

If you’re short on reading time, I’ll summarize the steps for you:

  1. Take your learning goal, and craft it into a compelling, obsession-worthy mission.
  2. Find material to learn from, structure it into a flexible curriculum.
  3. Define feedback mechanisms to constantly direct your future learning efforts and ensure high-intensity, active recall.
  4. Test and enforce a schedule that is sustainable over the entire lifetime of the project.
  5. Develop a long-term retention strategy (formal or informal).

There’s a few points that may be different from what you’re used to:

The first is that the learning goal is oriented around a obsessive mission. Many people trying to learn something adopt a haphazard, casual approach. In general, I’ve found this wastes a lot more time and produces lesser results.

Read On…

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