Learn Like a Boss: Mastering New Stuff with Scott Young’s System | by Hamza Sameen | Jul, 2024

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Achieve Mastery Faster with These Key Techniques

Ever feel like there’s just WAY too much to learn out there? Like a whole mountain of knowledge waiting to be explored, but you’re stuck with a tiny shovel? If you’re nodding your head like a bobblehead doll, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re gonna crack open Scott Young’s super-cool learning system and see how you can use it to become a learning machine yourself.

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1.Pre-learning: Mapping Your Way to Mastery

Imagine you’re planning a super epic road trip across the country. You wouldn’t just hop in the car and point it vaguely west, right? You’d map out your route, pack all the essentials (snacks are key!), and maybe even think about what to do if you get a flat tire. Mastering a new skill is kind of like that road trip. Young says pre-learning is your roadmap to knowledge. This is where you do some digging, figure out what you actually need to learn, and sketch out a plan for how you’re gonna tackle it all. Think of it like brainstorming the most important words to learn in a new language or figuring out the basic math stuff before you dive into fancy calculus problems.

But here’s the thing: pre-learning can be a double-edged sword. It’s easy to get stuck daydreaming about being a total rockstar in your new field instead of actually getting down to business. To avoid this procrastination trap, set a firm deadline for your pre-learning phase. Young suggests spending no more than 10% of your total learning time on this research. That way, you’ll be prepped and ready to go without getting sucked into the pre-learning vortex.If you’re struggling with procrastination, I’ve written a detailed article on how to eliminate it using various techniques. Check out the story below

2.Focus: Laser Up Your Learning Power

The way you approach learning makes a HUGE difference. Young says focus is the secret weapon of successful learners. Think about it: studying with a million distractions flying around is like trying to see the stars in broad daylight. It takes way longer, and let’s be honest, it’s not nearly as fun. So, how do you laser up your focus? Here are three key moves:

Photo by Ismail Salad Osman Hajji dirir on Unsplash
  1. Silence the Sirens: Put your phone on silent, find a quiet place to study, and say no to multitasking.
  2. Tame the Thought Monsters: Feeling stressed or anxious? Deal with those before you hit the books. Mindfulness exercises can also be a big help here.
  3. Train Your Focus Muscle: Just like any other skill, focus takes practice. Meditation or focused reading can help you build those focus muscles. Remember, the more you train your brain to concentrate, the easier it becomes.

This laser focus is even more important if you’re juggling a job, family, or the latest season of your favorite show (we all have our weaknesses!). By maximizing your limited study time with focused learning, you’ll be surprised at how much faster you can learn that new thing.

3.Directedness: Putting Your Learning to Work

Our brains are kind of funny. We don’t always do the best job of transferring knowledge from one situation to another. Just because you aced statistics in school doesn’t mean you can instinctively figure out probability problems in real life (although that would be pretty cool, right?). This is where directedness comes in. Young says a big chunk of your study time should be spent practicing the skill in the exact way you’ll be using it later.

Got a history exam coming up? Don’t just memorize facts from flashcards. Focus on writing practice exams under timed conditions. This directed practice makes sure your learning is directly connected to the real situation you’ll face. Remember, the context in which you’ll be using your newfound knowledge should guide how you study. By practicing in that context, you’ll not only understand the material better, but you’ll also feel way more confident using it.

4.Drilling: Plugging the Knowledge Gaps

Imagine you’re building a sweet treehouse. If there’s a weak spot in the foundation, the whole thing could come crashing down. Learning something new is kind of similar. Weaknesses in specific areas can hold you back from reaching your full learning potential. This is where drilling comes in.

As you practice your new skill, keep an eye out for areas where you’re struggling. Maybe it’s a specific set of words you just can’t seem to remember in your new language, or a basic coding concept that’s leaving you scratching your head. Once you’ve identified these weak spots, dedicate some extra practice time to really nail them down. This targeted drilling strengthens the building blocks of your knowledge, making sure your understanding is solid and well-rounded.

The key to drilling is that it’s a cycle. You start with general practice, identify your weak spots, and then drill down into those areas until you get them right. Then you go back to general practice and repeat the process. This way, you’re constantly improving and reinforcing your knowledge.

By following Scott Young’s system of pre-learning, focusing, directedness, and drilling, you can transform yourself into a learning machine. Happy learning!

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