- My two favourite things to do are: Learning and Creating. In and out. Take and give.
They also both naturally complement each other i.e. the more you create, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you CAN create.
- Lifelong and Continual Learning. Learning is the spice of life. Learning is how your brain grows.
Learning can be one of the greatest providers of happiness. Learning keeps dopamine levels high and gives incredible satisfaction that can last a lifetime. Therefore, in my opinion Learning is the best drug.
Transfer Learning i.e. it is easy to see how learning and practising ping pong might help your tennis skills
but I'd push the concept as far as saying that practising ping pong will help your essay writing skills. Now I understand this is a push but I think learning anything has deep, indirect, hidden and countless connections
with everything else you learn/process subconsciously and consciously but this might be hard to accept so I will throw the concept of Meta-Learning into the picture.
Meta-Learning i.e. Learning how to learn. Once you learn how to learn well, you can learn anything. How do we get better at learning itself?
By practicing learning constantly while simultaneously analysing and finding better ways to improve your own personal learning.
Therefore, learning anything can help your ability to learn other unrelated things. This is Transfer Learning again and I think it makes my "ping pong -> essay writing" point at least somewhat true in this sense.
Also, you learn things faster as you become more wise and knowledgeable because everything is intricately linked and related in many ways and you constantly see similar concepts reappear.
It is sad that the state of education today often discourages learning more than it encourages it. #feelthelearn
- Creating... To summarise my main passion in life: I like to build BIG things, the bigger, the greater, the better. So much to say about this but I'll leave it at: very little can give more meaning and fullfilment than the act of creating something new directly from your own imagination.
Learning is great and all, but only your creations will live on after you die i.e. they are your offering to the world and they carry on your legacy.
- I like to make everything as simple as possible by using logic, breaking it into sub-parts, reorganising, focusing and using a first-principles approach.
This helps me understand things to the very inner core and throughout my life this has helped me and
proven to be very effective to everything from music to programming to reading to writing to understanding very complicated ideas etc.
I strongly believe the devil is in the details and only after understanding
enough of the details are you able to form the best cohesive "big-picture" view of anything. There is tremendous value in seeing the "big-picture" and even starting your learning from that point
(high level to low level). But I dislike the trend to avoid details because "I'm a big picture orientated kinda guy".
I think it would benefit the parties involved the most if the big picture/high level view was informed from the low level details i.e.
you build knowledge from the foundations up (the knowledge pyramid,
or this one) or T-shaped skills
(here or I prefer the T with 15 bars because of this tweet), Elon Musk's semantic tree or Breadth-first vs Depth-first learning. I advocate at least attempting to become a "master of all trades".
- Consistency and Focus is key. Great good can be accomplished through focus. It's not only how hard you work, it's also how smart and focused you work. One man's hour can accomplish what takes another man ten.
Also on a related note, the 10,000 hour rule can be very discouraging to many people, but it's quite possible to get subjectively "excellent" at many things within 100 hours (or at least get a "Daaaaamn man, you're really good at that!").
- Two factors to personal success: Belief and Hard Work (which is Smart, Focused and Consistent as well). Self-help books often complicate this by making this list 100 points long. Also, of course belief usually leads to motivation, passion, laser focus, etc.
- Two factors to business success: A good idea and good execution of said idea. Everyone and their grandmother has 20 great ideas, good execution is much harder to find.
- Contrary to what most people think instinctively, you CAN get smarter. The mind is malleable and it is technically correct to say that
learning causes permanent changes to your brain (it get's heavier) and that it is similar in a sense to muscle (it gets stronger through use). Anyone can learn anything, there are just people who think they can or can't. Of course within reason e.g. certain physical or mental illness can impact some types of learning.
And slightly more controversial: talent doesn't exist. Or at least it should be MADE to not exist as it is one of the most harmful words in the dictionary. The reasons I believe this are:
No good can come from the main usage of this word. Bob Ross however, has a different definition for the word which I like:
- People who are told they are talented then don't try as hard because they are called "talented" and they subconsciously believe life gave them a great hand.
- while the "non-talented" people look on sadly in disdain at themselves because they believe life has dealt them an unfortunate hand.
- People often won't even try to learn new skills because they say "Well, I always wanted to learn to paint but I doubt I'd be good because I'm not naturally artistic". What if I told you it takes years of practice to learn and your artistic side can be honed?
- People often give up before really even trying because they aren't "talented". It took me six years of Classical Guitar to finally start enjoying it and possibly eight before I was considered "good".
In most cases but certainly mine, the problem, is, that it can take a lot of proof that hard work can achieve amazing things for people to finally believe they can learn anything, remove their conscious and underlying subconscious doubts and the hurt of their past failed attempts.
- Even people of great ability and many years of experience often doubt themselves e.g. "Am I actually good at this?" or "Maybe I wasn't born to do this? I'm not as good at it as John".
Instead of saying "I'm not as good at it as John, yet... I can get as good as him with practice". This word affects us in hundreds of ways both consciously and subconsciously.
It is no exaggeration to say that belief in this word and what it entails ruins lives and is toxic.
- Also just Believing You Can Get Smarter Makes You Smarter... "As compared to the control group, students who learned about intelligence's malleability had higher academic motivation, better academic behavior, and better grades in mathematics."
- Fixed mindset vs Growth mindset. Believing in growth mindset/self-improvement is just a ton of bricks more exciting and healthier than Fixed mindset.
“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you're willing to practice, you can do.” - Bob Ross
For people that still don't agree, at least this should be true for you:
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.” ― Tim Notke
Nature vs Nurture. The general consensus is that they both obviously are massive factors to intelligence and how well you do in life but what I'm trying to argue here - by saying outrageous things like "Talent doesn't exist" - is that:
the more you believe in nurture over nature... the better off you you are. Your life ends up better regardless of which one (out of both) affects us more. Work with what you have.
Of course "talent" exists in some form but
I believe it will serve you better, in almost every way, to completely wipe the concept of it from your brain. That sounds like I'm being contradictory but regardless, it's the attitude of acting out this philosophy
that is monumentally useful and rewarding.
And in some sense, it is quite obvious that; what you do during your life affects your life more than what you were born with. Especially since humans are the most adaptable species known to exist and we have around 80 years to do with as we please.
For many years of my life I played online games (MMORPGs) excessively (all day everyday). Why did I quit gaming? Because Life is the best game...
Cringe? Tell me why it isn't? A game where the possibilities, risks and rewards are the highest. A Role Playing Game - with me as the main character... and this exemplifies my way of thinking and I also believe this is an infinitely more productive and better use of my time than video games.
In other words, I apply the same ferocious attitude, deep focus and motivation that I once applied to games, but to the real world. That is, gamification is useful. Because you can improve in every single way, you can get Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger and... Smarter.
- All this talk of Intelligence naturally brings me to the field of Artificial Intelligence.
All this talk of Learning naturally brings me to the field of Machine Learning.
In both cases, each of the fields attempt to artificially recreate the system or process of the former.
I find this fascinating because it opens up thousands of questions and research directions related to diverse fields such as Neuroscience, Computer Science/Engineering, Psychology, Statistics/Data Science/Data Engineering/Predictive Analytics, almost every other form of Mathematics, Philosophy, etc.
And AI/ML can be and will be applied to pretty much any field e.g. Finance, Agriculture, Business, Healthcare, Education, General Science (Physics, Chemistry, Botany, etc), Engineering (Mechanical, Civil, Biomedical, etc).
... And therefore this gives me a lifetime of stuff to learn. This makes me happy and is exactly what I want.
Most people working in the computer world are well familiar with the concept of having to constantly learn new things - because they need to learn fast to keep up with the quickening pace of technological progress.
- Another example of extreme and effective simplification:
All there is in programming and essentially the only thing that computers do/have, on an abstract level, is just a list of two elements:
1. computation and 2. data.
I'm obsessed and in love with both of them. An interesting corollary is that computation is usually done on/with data (in its million forms: RAM, registers, hard-disk space, files, databases, datasets, etc).
I just find them both to be such fascinating concepts that underlie so much of the world we currently inhabit and rule our lives around us (servers, sensors, normal cars, soon self-driving cars, networking, the internet, our phones, AI, games, electric microwaves, etc).
And all this digital technology is essentially only doing two things: computation and data... The ultimate simplification. I need to master both.
- You have to do the difficult things in life to make life not difficult. The more difficult things you do, things of even greater difficulty become easier and within reach of your abilities.
And things of similar difficulty obviously also become easier. But most of all, things of low difficulty become a "walk in the park"/"do it in your sleep" easy.
- Yeah, I might be extremely interested in self-improvement, self-actualisation,
individuation, etc, but really I'm just interested in almost everything.
- Yeah, I obviously like lists as well. Bullet points, numbered lists. Mmmmm. Lists help me segment reality and offload memory and computation onto the strata of the list itself. Unhealthy obsession maybe? Nah.
- Summarising programming: if (anything): doAnything()