Self-Education Habits That Enable You to Teach Yourself Anything
“Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
You don’t have to attend college to get a great education these days. There are so many educational materials readily available, often for free, that formal education is unnecessary in many circumstances. You can’t teach yourself to be a licensed teacher or physician, but there are a lot of things you can learn on your own.
You don’t have to attend school to learn about Egypt, speak French, train your dog, play the piano, or how to weld. With the right habits, you can learn just about anything you like.
Effective learning requires a set of effective habits:
1. Follow your motivation. It’s much easier to study or practice something that truly interests you. There are plenty of things you don’t know that you’d like to know more about. What are those things? Make a list. Life is short, so spend your time wisely.
2. Read. Whatever it is that interests you, odds are that someone has written a book about it. In fact, there are probably hundreds of books on your topic of interest. Make it a habit to read, at least a little, each day. Seek out the most important books related to your area of study and work your way through them.
3. Practice. If you’re interested in learning a skill, you’ll have to practice regularly if you want to master it. Break up your practice into several sessions a day if possible. The more frequently you practice, the more skilled you will ultimately become.
4. Study daily. There’s reading, and there’s studying. Reading is a passive activity. Studying takes things to a higher level. When you study, you have the intention of educating yourself. You have the intention of understanding, not just adding facts to your knowledge base.
● Reading a math book isn’t the same as studying for a math test.
5. Use a variety of sources. Within reason, the more sources you use, the greater the level of your mastery. Use multiple books, courses, mentors, and other materials. Gather all of the opinions and ideas. There’s more than one way to do something. Find the best way for you.
6. Verify. The internet has allowed everyone to present themselves as an expert. It’s easy for anyone to write a Kindle book and look like they know what they’re talking about. Avoid making the assumption that everything you see, hear, and read is accurate. Check the information for accuracy.
7. Reach out to others. You don’t have to educate yourself in a vacuum. There are experts floating around out there that would love to help you. All you have to do is find them and ask.
8. Plan your time. Have a plan. Your time will be more productive if you have a plan versus being disorganized. Make a plan. Work your plan.
9. Set goals. Have goals to focus your intention and add a bit of urgency to your study. You might decide to understand a particular concept by the end of the month, master 100 words of Russian vocabulary, or be able to hold a handstand for 10 seconds.
10. Take a look at a college syllabus. If you’re interested in a university-type subject, take a look at the syllabus for a course that interests you. You can see the materials that are used and get a feel for the pacing. It can be a good general guide.
What do you want to learn? What interests you? You can learn more about nearly anything without having to take an expensive or inconvenient class. Take full advantage of the age we live in and teach yourself. All it takes are the right materials and effective habits.