In a fast, online world, attention spans are short and people want to learn new skills or subjects as quickly as possible. With all the information at our fingertips it is easy to get excited about learning something new, but knowing that it takes a long path to go from beginner to intermediate to expert can be daunting or even so demotivating that we abandon the ambition to learn the new thing completely.
An alternative would be to start learning ‘top-down‘. Dive right into the expert matter that you’re so excited about. You will find that you might only understand 10% of the material, but that’s ok, because:
- You will start to discover elements that keep coming back that you don’t understand. You can then take one step down and learn about and understand that element.
- When you take a step down you will be more motivated to learn about that element because you know how it will apply to the subject you are excited about.
- You don’t have to sit through material you already (largely) understand. When you learn ‘bottom-up’ and start at the basics, chances are you might get bored and lose focus. When you learn ‘top-down’ you are always only learning new things.
- You learn very efficiently because you only learn the things that will apply to the subject you want to learn. Instead of learning all the basics, you only learn the basics you need.
YouTube in particular offers a great starting point to dig right into whatever it is you want to learn. Some of the best universities in the world offer free lecture videos that you can watch whenever it suits you.
If you make sure to not let yourself get intimidated by the material too quickly and acknowledge, up-front, that you probably won’t understand most of what will be said, then you might find yourself learning more and learning faster.