Thursday, June 09, 2016

You can learn anything you want

This morning I was reminded that, 4 years ago, I was looking for a project to get some experience with Java, C or C++.
Looking back, I started working on an Getback GPS, an Android app (learning some Java) and later on another project called Buildtime Trend, which gave me some Python and JavaScript experience.
So in 4 years, I started 2 Open Source projects, learned 3 new programming languages, and some other technologies and frameworks along the way.

I can say I learned a lot the last few years, on a technical level, but it also made me realise that it is possible to learn new things, if you set your mind to it. You just have to start doing it, try things, fail, learn from it, try again, read a tutorial, look for questions and answers (fe. on Stack Overflow), go to conferences, talk to experienced people, join a project that uses the technology you want to learn.

And this is not limited to technology. Want to learn a musical instrument? How to make a cake? How to become a great speaker? Learn to swim longer or faster?

This is all possible. You just have to start doing it and practice. Taking small steps at the start. Allow yourself to fail, but learn from it and improve. You might need some guidance or coaching, or take a course to give you a headstart.

I'm not saying it won't be hard, sometimes you keep failing, stop making progress and you get frustrated. And that's a time to take a step back, monitor your progress, examine the goals you have set yourself. Are you doing it the right way? Can it be done differently? Do you have all the required skills to make progress? Maybe you need to practise something else first?

Anyway, keep the end goal in mind, take small steps and enjoy  the journey. Enjoying what you are doing or achieving is an important motivator.
If you set your mind to it, you can learn anything you want.

Which reminds of this video, how to learn anything in 20 hours :