I did in one month what most would take one day to do. I wanted to be a prodigy…what a step backward.
In March, I reflected on and refined my learning process. I identified and corrected mistakes, I threw out wastes of time, and I added learning techniques, tactics, and strategies used by the learning experts Scott H. Young, Josh Kaufman, and Tim Ferriss. This updated process was my recipe for becoming a prodigy of anything and everything.
When April began, I tested this process immediately.
I want to be a polymath.
Others want to learn something specific. I want to be able to learn many things. More specifically, I want the ability to learn anything, the ability to be prodigious at anything. I want to be a master learner.
But my last learning challenge exposed the truth that I am nowhere near this dream. I wanted to learn “Mia and Sebastian’s Theme,” the most difficult piano piece from the Oscar-winning musical La La Land, in 30 days. I had never played piano before, yet I was trying to learn La La Land’s most difficult piano piece in a month. I had hypotheses about how to learn piano, but I had no plan. I had a short deadline, yet I procrastinated. I was naive, I was lazy, and I was lost, so I spent the whole of March reflecting on this last challenge and on my learning process. After much revision, observation, and experimentation, here is my learning process, in every detail:
This is my first learning challenge, and it is my worst.
I wanted to learn all the piano pieces in the Oscar-winning musical La La Land.
I do not know how to play piano, and I have no teacher but myself and the internet.
Slowing Earth’s Orbit
If the world stopped spinning, we’d fly sideways at 1,600km/hour and become blood smoothies.
The world turns fast, evidently. That is true both literally and metaphorically. As you get older, time seems to speed up. One moment you’re writing college apps, next you’re graduating, then you’re thrown off to the real world. Work gets tougher, deadlines get shorter, and everything spins faster. The enjoyable moments decrease while the stressful moments multiply. You tell yourself you’ll relax when the work is done —but there’s never enough time, never less work. Will you ever relax? Will the break come? You secretly hope that it does, but you also hope that it doesn’t, because if you break too long, you’re a blood smoothie on a wall.
It’s tough to relax. Even if you’re busying yourself always, it’s impossible to relax.
It’s a common scenario that martial arts saves someone, but this isn’t about that.
It isn’t even about having an undying passion for martial arts—I haven’t trained in more than a year. It’s about the perspective I gained looking through martial arts.