Learning to learn

March 09 2016

When Elon Musk was asked how he learned to build a rocket, he said “I read a lot of books and talked to a lot of people.” Is it that simple?

Before now, I treated school wrong. Sure, I managed good grades, but education was just a game. If I could get into a good college, I’d win. Outside of that, I indulged in short-term pleasures. It felt great – if I could do bare minimum, I could succeed. But here’s the problem. At the end of the day, I wouldn't be successful because I wouldn't add value to the world. It's dangerous to prioritize status over usefulness.

After some time working, I’m back in graduate school and everything is different. What changed? Is it desperation that “real life” starts in a year? Is it that my goals are clearer and I can put the petal to the metal? Maybe a bit of both.

Besides school’s readings and discussions I listen to podcasts, attend conferences, read articles, and try to talk to people. I just wish I could consume information faster, and that I could stop forgetting information so quickly. If only I had more hours in the day, and more energy to fend away the fatigue that quickly catches up to me each day.

I want to be useful. I wish I read more books when I was younger, and that I talked to more people. I wish I had today’s curiosity, and that it continues to grow.

Often I think of Neo from the Matrix, sitting in a chair downloading knowledge, and I’m envious of the future. For now, I'll have to stick to reading a lot and talking to a lot of people. I think it's that simple.


I’m constantly searching for better ways to learn and for life-changing articles, podcasts, and books. Let me know how you budget your time with information sources or 1-2 of your favorite podcasts/books (and why!)

Stories are powerful ways to communicate, and I'm trying to improve. I struggle with an expressionless voice. I welcome your tips on how you work on your storytelling.


To P, a big squeeze from me and bunnybear

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