why learn the basics.

Online learning, MOOCs, books, tutorials make it easy to jump into a topic and start learning. You might see a course that sparks your curiosity — for me, it is courses around Data Science or UX Design — and you just want to start diving into it. You are super curious and motivated.

You are so excited that you rush through the first few parts. You just want to get to the faster, to the interesting and more complex topics. After all, that is what you came here for.

Skipping to the good part

You feel the motivation, excitement, and curiosity. But suddenly, as you go through the materials and arrive at the more complex topics, you start having a feeling of doubt. You can’t really follow the content. You are confused. Your motivation decreases. Your curiosity fades away. Your frustration gets bigger and bigger.

The problem here is that we want to skip to the good part. By doing this, we rush through the basics — the crucial parts at the beginning. We don’t practice the basics properly. We don’t have the patience to truly understand them. Yes, the basics might be boring but they are important.

Learn the basics first

Learn the basics first before you dive into more complex topics. Image your learning being a tree. The trunk resembles the basics you have to learn. The branches are the details and the complex concepts that are built on top of the trunk, aka the basics.

You need the basics to have a solid foundational understanding.

You need the basics to derive and recall complex concepts.

You need the basics to think clearly.

You need the basics to be creative and to adjust to new obstacles.

You need the basics to make connections to other areas.

So instead of jumping into data science, learn the basics of programming and simple math. Instead of jumping to web design, learn the basics of typography. Instead of jumping to how to write essays, learn basic writing principles and skills.

Take it slow and learn the basics first. Practice them. Internalize them. Once you understand the basics, you will have an easier time learning more complex concepts.

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