Exposure and Need – part 2

To learn a new language, you need exposure and need. Being exposed to the language, and being in need of using it. If you only have one, you will progress very slowly.

In fact, exposure and need applies to learning any skill. You accelerate your learning by seeing others apply that skill with mastery. You also accelerate your learning by applying your knowledge in real life.

What if you end up in a situation with great exposure to something interesting, but no immediate need for it?

Of course, you can invent the need. Create a side project that will force you to apply the knowledge that is surrounding you.

But that can be more time cumbersome than what you can afford.

So here’s an alternative: take notes. Literally. The small action of writing what you see will force you to better understand it. If you’re exposed to something great, writing about it will systematically help you understand it better, because instead of being a passive receiver, your brain will now have to act as active producer. You will have to dissect what you just saw. Break it down into parts, that didn’t feel like parts, initially, because they were all so smoothly entangled.

Over time, if you take notes often enough, if you will build the habit of writing down what you observe, you will naturally become a better observer too. Your exposure to anything will have more impact, even when there isn’t a need.

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