pile of books

Introduction to self-learning

Years ago, before I started self-learning, I remember wishing I could learn cool things rather than dull Math, English, and Social Studies. In school we learn these boring, albeit (OK I’ll admit it) necessary, subjects…

But we’re seldom taught what we WANT to know. Like, “how do I fix a car?”, “how do I read an electrical schematic?”, or “how do I make Excel calculations?” I know because I had to learn all these myself as an adult.

Some never get started self-learning.

Just like in a programming language (pick one), there are so many variables in life. Work, family, formal education, fitness… The list goes on.

Each variable holds a different value.

For example, in the morning when a person wakes up from a deep night’s slumber, the following variables might exist:

today = “Friday”
workDay = true
hadCoffee = false;

There is no end to the amount of tasks we as humans complete each day. Each human makes an insurmountable number of brain calculations per second without even realizing it. In fact, it’s been said that the human brain is so uniquely powerful that even the “superest” super computer ever designed can’t catch up to how fast the brain processes data in relation to how much data is being processed.

And we still want to take on MORE tasks?! Insanity or no?

We have a lot of unique ideas and thought processes. We all have the opportunity to make choices concerning our futures. Therefore, we can’t possibly be machines.

We all have so many things going on around us each day, making it difficult to desire to take on new tasks.

So much to do, see, play with…

Believe me–I am a human too and I have a list of childhood projects I still have yet to complete. (ask me about my songwriting to-do list).

It’s difficult to get started with self-learning. It takes motivation and a lot of dedication. Therefore, some never get started.

Remember: You don’t learn Mandarin Chinese in one day. It takes a motivated, driven attitude to stick with it and learn the language to become fluent. As with anything, you have to want to learn whatever subject you choose.

Difficulty self-learning programming.

man screaming
Just like learning a second language, when it comes to programming, a lot of people are turned away from the complexity of learning a new “language.” This is common.

I’ve started (and stopped) learning programming more times than I can count!

There is so much to learn when it comes to programming. Even basic concepts (for example: variables) may be enough to turn away newbies. I get it. It’s not for the impatient folks.

Even when you do begin to grasp your programming language of choice, there is always still the looming questions of “What will I build?” “How will I design it?” “How will I retain the knowledge?” These are all questions I’ve asked myself at one time or another.

It all comes down to self-motivation.

How I managed to develop a daily self-learning habit

It’s good to have a daily routine. A few years ago I remember feeling like I was wasting my life away. I felt like I had no motivation, no drive, no future.

I remember feeling depressed; like there was a big gaping hole in my gut that desperately needed to be filled.

Developing a new routine

I remember at that time, I had tried hard to incorporate my learning goals into my nightly routine. No matter how hard I tried, I always failed. It wasn’t going to happen! I felt dumb.

The one thing I had going for me: I knew I needed to change in order to learn.

One night I decided that once and for all I was going to make some adjustments. I decided I would devote a certain amount of time each morning to learning a specific writing course on Udemy. No matter what. I decided to wake up just thirty minutes earlier in the morning and devote those thirty minutes to my learning.

I’ll admit, at first it was pretty difficult to drag myself out of bed. Up until that I considered myself a die-hard night owl. I would stay awake well into the midnight, playing video games and rotting my mind with Facebook and random Youtube videos. It truly felt as though I was wasting my life away.

My current routine

I now wake up three hours early each morning.

I find that waking up early to get right to learning and other personal goals helps a lot. At 3:00am my mind is a lot fresher than at 8:00pm. Who wants to get all their daily goals out of the way after a hard day’s work?

Been there, done that. It’s difficult, it’s tiresome, it’s grueling! Wouldn’t recommend it (unless you absolutely have to).

I highly recommend becoming an “early-bird!”

Over time, I have found that, for me, the early morning is my most productive time of the day. I tend to get all my learning and most important tasks done in the wee hours of the morning when it’s still dark out and everyone else is still in bed.

But…I’m too busy!

Now, obviously not everyone works the same hours as me or has the same life circumstances as me. My exact routine will not work for everyone. But it’s what works for me.

I have full faith that you–no matter your life circumstances– can form a learning habit that works for YOU. If you simply put your mind to it you can learn it. Many people never even get started on their dreams. It’s easy to give up. It’s hard to take the first steps and keep at it.

Make time, keep at it, and don’t give up!