When trying to master a subject, most people tend to put excessive importance on practice. The idea of repeating a set of activities over a period of time in order to learn a new subject is definitely productive. But, in addition to regular practice, there are many other ways to learn about a subject in a much deeper way. You must have the drive to explore all such avenues.
Watch The Experts
Want to be the best at what you do? Then watch the experts. Many people don’t seem to understand the importance of observing other people. If you wish to become very good at playing tennis, then regular training is obviously important. However, training alone will limit your ability to understand the finer aspects of the sport.
When you watch the masters play, either directly or on television, you can see how they move when they are serving, how they anticipate the direction of the ball, how they position themselves to receive a ball, and so on. Essentially, you will be learning the intricacies of tennis by watching the experts play. So, whatever field you wish to learn, remember to keenly observe the masters at work.
While observing other people is one aspect of gaining more knowledge about a subject, teaching others is also incredibly useful in learning more at a deeper level. When you are only learning by yourself, you might have the tendency to just absorb the subject matter without thinking about it too much. However, when you teach others, you will also have to answer to their questions.
As their teacher, it will be your responsibility to explain and clear all their doubts. By doing so, you will start thinking about the subject in a deeper way that will end up improving your own understanding of it. As wise men say, sharing knowledge with others will definitely increase your own understanding of that knowledge.
A person who has never experimented in his area of study will never learn anything new. You will always be stuck with whatever knowledge you possess; adding or improving nothing. As such, you will never fully master that area. If you look at all the people who are regarded as geniuses, whether it be scientists like Newton and Einstein, philosophers like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, artists like Van Gogh and Picasso, or anyone else in other fields; you will realize that all these people have been experimenters in their own field. And, it is through their experimentation that they have widened their understanding of the subject and are regarded as masters. So, never restrict yourself only to the things you know.
Practising something without having a clear plan about how to master it is akin to driving a car without having any idea where to go. The biggest downside of such blind practice is that you will have a very haphazard way of learning things that will never let you become a master of the subject. This is why it is important to come up with a learning plan with solid targets that you must achieve.
For example, if you wish to learn DSLR cinematography, then you need to plan out your learning targets in advance. You can aim to learn about the technical basics in week 1, move on to basics of cinematography in week 2, then to shooting techniques in week 3, editing in week 4, and so on. By setting such clear targets, you will ensure that whatever effort and time you put into practising pays off and you end up mastering the art of cinematography.
Be Open to Suggestions From Anyone
Never be so close-minded that you start seeing yourself as ‘above’ others. That is not only arrogance but also the path of ignorance. Knowledge can come from anyone. Even if you are the top scientist at a prestigious research organization, opening yourself to conversations with your taxi driver, fitness instructor, or anyone else can trigger new ways of thought about your subject.
So, when trying to learn something new, be open to suggestions and tips from anyone. All of those suggestions may not turn out to be useful, however, you will definitely get a gem of an advice every now and then that will help you in your quest to master a subject. Plus, you can also learn from other’s mistakes and ensure that you yourself do not commit it.
Start With Basics And Build Up
Some people have a habit of jumping straight into the intermediate and advanced topics of a subject without ever becoming an expert of its basics. This is not just a bad habit but also a counterproductive one. No matter what you are trying to learn, it is essential that you master the basics first. Without having a proper understanding of the basics, you will never have a full grasp of the subject and will always struggle with it.
This is why some people might tell you the trigonometric theorem when asked about it, but won’t be able to tell you why it works. So, put in some effort and make sure that you thoroughly master the basics of your subject. This will definitely help you in understanding the in-depth matters of the subject in a comprehensive manner.
Finally, remember to develop a ‘never give up’ attitude. Even if you don’t master something after weeks of devoting yourself to the subject, you must hold onto your resolve of becoming an expert at it. Else, you will never master anything. Instead, you will only end up jumping from one subject to another. Understand that it takes time and dedication to master anything.
So, along with the regular practice, make sure to strengthen your mind so that you can keep practising anything without ever feeling the need to give up. This will help you tremendously in your quest to be an expert of whatever subject you choose.
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