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How to Learn Hard Things

by | Feb 26, 2021

A few weeks ago I was discussing with a friend who shared a brilliant idea with me. He was confused and not confident enough to make it work. Our conversation was fascinating for me because, for the past couple of years, I had fought strongly inside me to build the mental power to bet on myself and learn the seemingly hard stuff. Anyways! 

After self-learning a wide range of skills; including graphic and web design, programming, business and complex clinical research methods,  I’m more than convinced that self-learning is the only way to attain self-actualisation. Everything you need to be anything in today’s world is available on the internet. In the words of Naval Ravikant, one of my favourite present-day thinkers:  “Free education is abundant, all over the internet. It’s the desire to learn that’s scarce”. With that said! 

How therefore can one develop oneself to yearn for knowledge and to build hard skills. Here are a few things I have learned:

  1. You must come to terms with yourself that learning is hard. That is why the reward for knowing hard things is usually correspondingly huge. You should normalise the fact that if you are encountering a new skill or body of knowledge for the first time, it is obvious that it will be strange and tough. Of course, you have poor prior knowledge about it. You must acknowledge that there is a very tall wall that you must bring down to proceed. 
  2. Once you have internalized that difficulty is inevitable, you should try to get an overview of the topic or subject. I usually do this by watching short YouTube videos that explain the outcomes or how it all works in just a few minutes. At this point don’t try to understand the details, just connect the dots and visualize the steps. 
  3. Once I’m able to understand the little parts and steps, I focus on building the fundamentals (roots) upon which the rest of the knowledge will stand. Never skip the fundamentals. 
  4. Once you grasp the underlying principles,  move fast to learning the 20% of skills/knowledge that you need to start getting 80% of results (Pareto Principle). From this point, it’s practice, practice and practice. Go back to notes and tutorials each time you are stuck. 

You want to be nice to yourself. Quit the urge to want to know everything in one short learning sprint. Learn, practice and take long breaks in which you focus on other things. In learning neuroscience this is called inter-leaving, which is very good for chunking the knowledge into your brain. Focus on the process and not the results and in short time you will be overwhelmed with your results. 

This is already longer than I anticipated, let me stop here. 

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17 Comments

  1. LOMUDE

    I must say I’ve picked quite a lot from this article.

    Beri woh

    Reply
    • ebas1

      Thanks!

    • Ndzeshang

      Great👌 .

      Currently am learning about bioinformatics.

  2. Asheri Safeh

    Great article sir, this will aid me build the hard skills I need.

    Gracias hermano.

    Reply
    • Sunjo

      I can’t agree less

  3. Beda Courage

    This is very strategic. Thanks a lot I’m gonna apply 😁

    Reply
  4. Phairskeen

    This is one of the best articles i have ever read! I took a few months last year to learn a new skill i am now monetizing! Still so much to learn in the field but like you said, practice, practice, practice and resist the urge to want to learn everything at once! Dope a** article my friend!!

    Reply
    • Ebasone Vanes

      Happy to know that this is useful for you Kelly

  5. Virginia birlaf

    alot i have learnt from this words sir, i was afriad to move because of my past experience but reading over and over this writeups i am ready to move and break bounds , thanks alot sir

    Reply
  6. Bwele

    Looking forward to be part of such a wonderful idea. I need the ability

    Reply
  7. Mbimenyuy Marius Kongnso

    You are a tank of inspiration Doc. Looking forward to having a one on one conversation with you.

    Reply
    • Ebasone Vanes

      Was nice chatting with you the last time

  8. Ines Kwawa

    Great strategy! 👌

    Reply
  9. Ebot Nicole

    Thanks for teaching me this song mentor.
    Cus this has literally become a national anthem for me since I knw you.

    Reply
    • Ebasone Vanes

      Happy to know you find it quite helpful.

  10. Atem

    Remarkable

    Reply
  11. Matchim Lucrece

    Great one

    Reply

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