Learning Without Excitement
It’s not fun to do.
Right now, there’s nothing stopping you from teaching yourself advanced mathematics, a new language, design, the details of theatre, or any other subject. The resources available to you are vast and often, free.
So why don’t we all spend our time learning?
Simple: there’s no point to it.
No, I’m not saying that learning how to code is pointless. Rather, I’m saying that, without any need to code, it’s difficult to muster up the effort required to learn. We just don’t like learning information that we’ll never use, because we feel like we could spend our time learning something we are interested in (and we are right).
If you’ve ever tried to pick up a mathematics textbook and learn on your own, chances are you know that it’s difficult. Unless you’re super interested in the topic, learning the details won’t be engaging. Sooner or later, we will give up.
What’s the solution, then?
I don’t know, but I can tell you that following your interests is a good way to start. The reality is that learning isn’t easy. Even for a subject you enjoy, it’s a challenge. As such, you need to find a reason for learning what you want to do.
Here are a few ideas:
- If you want to write, find a story to tell, an idea to explore, or a journal to fill out. Don’t think of it as “learning how to write”. Think of it as “learning how to tell this story”.
- If you want to code, don’t open a textbook that shows you the basic syntax. Instead, decide on a project that you’re excited about, and learn how to code with this project as a scaffold.
- If you want to draw, don’t mindlessly draw random objects. Yes, that’s a great way to develop the skill of drawing, but it won’t do much to make you motivated. Instead, figure out why you wanted to draw in the first place, and draw the things that make you excited. Maybe this means starting a webcomic, or perhaps making incredibly detailed drawings. Whatever it is, do what you’re excited about first.
My point here isn’t to make you think that the fundamentals and formal training are useless. Rather, it’s simply to make the observation that learning without excitement is difficult. If you try to learn something without the excitement, you will likely quit.
In a way, it’s good to be deluded about the realities of learning a subject. Without this delusion, we wouldn’t even begin.