New learnings

February 7, 2016

It’s been ~6 months since I last wrote. A lot has happened, and have learned many things in this period. Ranging from things about self to logarithms to new stuff from computer science. There have been times where new evidances have made my previous understandings even stronger.

Comfort is evil

The best thing about stepping out of your comfort zone is that it takes you to a level where you have never been before. The truth is, it’s the only way to change ourselves. Stepping out of comfort zone. To get better at something, we need to face this fear of failure, and the things that stop us from doing something. It’s not easy to break our head at some problem, but to get better at problem-solving, we need to solve thousands. To be a better artist, we need to invest fully concentrated thousands of hours. There is no way around it. It’s the pain that we need to go through to get better at something. It can get daunting at times, but it’s the only way ahead.

It’s been more than one and half a year since I moved to Bangalore and I got comfortable. Office in day time, watching movies, TV shows, doing aimless browsing at home in evenings and weekends became a routine in no time. But If you are like me, you’d be looking within, talking to yourself quite a few times throughout the day. With a few minor drawbacks, it has its own advantages. You are constantly evaluating yourself. And so, it doesn’t take too long for a thought like this to come to you – where you stand, where you’d like to be, what you should be doing to get there, are you doing that or are you not. If you don’t do it, where will you be.

Too much is too bad

I want to learn more of maths. I started studying through Khanacademy about a year ago, but soon I thought to myself that if I study more, I’d finish this sooner (enough amount to get to the next step), hense started spending all of my free time including evenings and weekends on it. Within two months I lost all my interest, and stopped studying. Beginnings are hard, it really takes courage to start something. Especially if you are starting again. The solution is - Take small bites, and take it slow. It’s like eating the same dish everyday for days. Obviously you will get sick of it even if it’s your favorite food. Better keep it changing.

Connections (with people) are important

One more thing because of which I think I failed at my Math attempt was because I was doing it alone. It’d make a huge difference if you surround yourself with the people who share your goals. Really. When I was in 12th grade, the whole year I flunked out most of the classes, never got passed in internal exams. I knew I was going to fail 12th. But a month before exam I started hanging out with this studious friend of mine, and just gave a blind attempt at physics, chemistry while hanging out with him. I loved it, I started studying with him, and got passed with flying colors. There will always be times when you feel demotivated, but the people around you will keep you afloat. It has happened with me many times. I spent last two months studying CS alone and had a hard time keeping the interest, and drive alive. It gets really boring if you’re to go over same stuff over and over again. I need to do a bit of reserach on learning (that’s for some other day). Had I surrounded myself with others who were also doing the same, it would have been a lot easier. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to do this, finding the right people for the right time. A consistent self-drive is mandatory. The right people around is important.

Learning by doing

This one, probably, doesn’t apply to everyone. I have had a hard time while I was in my engineering college - which was to learn things and not do something about it. It’s hard. If you don’t believe me, try learning how to design compilers. Learn how to write grammars, parsing algorithms. Thing is, you wouldn’t know if you’ve really understood it unless you try to use what you’ve learned. It keeps this doubt in unconscious mind whether you really understood what you’ve learned or not. By seeing things in action, the results convince our mind, make it believe in things. One more thing – It’s also hard to remember what you have learned unless you use it. It goes with the saying

If you don’t use it, you will lose it.

There’s two different things. One is to understand something, get intuition behind it. The other is to remember how you got there. So by remember, I don’t mean mugging up something. There’s two ways by which you can remember something. One is to keep revisiting something, read it again and again periodically – It is dead boring, believe me! The other is, try to use it. It won’t bore you but not in all cases it’s possible. For instance, you will never write quick sort at work.

There’s many more things about Learning that I need to learn, which is almost at the top of my list now.

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