Deep learning is a choice.
If you choose to learn deeply, you will become curious about a field, issue, skill, or goal, then you will do what is necessary to:
- Become aware of and learn the ideas, vocabulary, key players and big-picture significance.
- Speak about how the field, idea, goal or skill is important and useful to yourself and others.
- Work yourself up to the point where you can tell a good story about what interests you. This should eventually include historical context, personal motivations, and where it fits in current or future society. This includes an outline of main points and sub-points so you are clear on what is primary and what is secondary. A good story is easy for the listener to follow and engaging to the speaker and audience.
- Apply the ideas in your life (and/or) in the service (of/with) others.
- Experiment, evaluate and see how things work.
- While exploring, ask questions, questions, questions. You’ll eventually ask the right ones.
- Place the ideas and your related accomplishments as a pin on your map of personal development and as a guiding reminder or theme in your mind and your written wisdom and knowledge bank.
- Go ahead and get paid. Get the internal and external rewards for what you discover. Fund your own next projects, build your personal brand.
- Share. Life is short and hoarding knowledge does little good. You’ll learn a lot as you share.
Borrowing ideas from Metallica’s song “Fuel” – what do we need for deep learning? Fuel, fire and that which you desire. You decide what fuels you and how to ignite your learning and action. In the brain, learning and memory also requires a good amount of repetition (daily or weekly attempts), revision, openness to change, and the faith and curiosity necessary to unleash your creativity and attention. Question, seek, absorb, critique, apply/test, judge, repeat and write down your insights along the way as soon as they appear in your mind. Capture your ideas in writing as you learn because deep learning will cause great questions and excellent ideas.
Speed is a separate issue, so deep learning can vary in depth and vary in speed. For the fastest learning, consider the significance and story first, seek review articles or great historical overviews, read the table of contents first, and then list your current knowledge and questions on the topic. Get the big picture before trying to take in all the detail – perhaps you don’t need it all… It is also good to track down an expert in the field and cold call them with a quick question about what they recommend to read/view and what they think are the most critical elements of what they do or study. Do not be shy, just pick up the phone, express your interest and then shut up. Let them talk and you listen. This is a great way to accelerate your approach of anything new.