The art of LEARNING
Learning could be stressful and there is no way out of it. Pushing through the pain you endure when learning anything new determines growth and progress.
And as much as you’d like to think of learning as a linear process, it is very much the opposite, which could be frustrating and anxiety-inducing.
A little context…
This blog post was a piece I had written for another blog that I run (FourZeroThree). I tried to give readers a broad overview as to how they could go about the process of learning, a much needed skill in itself. While it does not specifically cater to dentistry, the methods explained can be applied to any field of choice. This is a brief version of the same post. You could read the full version of it in my personal blog FourZeroThree.
Here's a “video version” of the article. If you are the visual type, I recommend watching the video. I bet you’ll enjoy it :)
It’s okay to be overwhelmed
Being overwhelmed is the first obstacle when learning something from scratch.
This usually stems from the fact that we immediately start to look at where we would be if we successfully learned what we set out for, which is a long way to go. It's never a good idea to think of the outcomes just yet.
It's natural to draw unrealistic comparisons with experts in the field we are trying to progress in and feel like an imposter.
And worst of all, we are just a google search away from an ocean of information, which could cause much anxiety and overwhelm.
In this state, the first thing you would feel like doing is procrastinating your learning. There is too much to take in. Where do I start? You ask. You would like to put off your learning for tomorrow. That’s easier, isn’t it? Or are you better off giving up on this journey? That’s a tempting thought. After all, why should you go through this phase of unnecessary suffering?
No, you don't want to give up now, it's way too early.
Try to get a feel for what you are learning
Keep your pursuit purposefully unstructured in this phase. It’s okay if you are reading the fundamentals one day and reading something technical another day that goes over your head. No problem. Don’t stress over something you don’t understand. The best thing you could do is to keep going. Don’t be pressured to squeeze an outcome from this exercise.
Know where you are headed
Give your learning routine some structure, something like a curriculum. Splitting what you have to learn into sizable chunks helps you digest the subject better and you know where you are headed.
Relearn to reinforce what you learn
Remembering what you learned is important and hence relearning what you already learned would help connect or strengthen neural connections in your brain. Feel free to move on to the next step if you have to. Come back when you feel like it and relearn something you didn’t understand before.
The key to learning anything effectively is deliberate practice. Learning passively could help accrue knowledge while practicing diligently helps accrue skill. In essence practice helps you apply knowledge you accumulate in a meaningful way.
Happy Learning Peeps!