How to keep your interest

When learning something new, keeping your interest is crucial

Posted on August 07, 2017

I had a problem, a problem I know a lot of people suffer from. I’m always excited to learn something new, but after some time, I lose interest. Searching online gave me almost the same answers: Be curious, start small, be accountable… I had all of that, this was not the answer I wanted! So I started analyzing what happened when I lost interest!

I discovered that, in every subject or skill you want to learn, there is always that part I call the least pleasing part. When you hit this part, you lose interest in what you’re learning and you just give up. In addition to this, we don’t share the same preferences, thus, the least pleasing part isn’t the same for everyone! In order to find it, you need to deconstruct what you’re learning and identify what the possibilities might be! (I’ll show you how to do that with some examples)

If you want to keep the interest, you need to identify the least pleasing part about what you’re learning and try to resolve it while learning. Yes, while, not before nor after. Don’t get distracted by it, resolve it while learning, and get over it!

To help you understand how this works, I’ll give some real world examples of how to deconstruct your subject and find the least pleasing part. I’ll share with you 3 skills I wanted to learn and how I applied this to them: Writing, Coding, and Cooking.

Writing

I always wanted to write, for me, it’s how you learn to express your ideas clearly and communicate with others.

To develop the habit of writing, I did what all writers tell you: write a lot! However, the least pleasing part about writing for me was finding ideas to write about.

So instead of not writing until you get a new idea, just keep writing, just put what you think about or what you did in that day in a text file. And while writing, sometimes you’ll get good ideas, or you’ll see that there is a connexion with what you wrote yesterday, you start to see patterns, and now you got a subject to write about!

When I get an idea, I create a new file for it with a small description of what I want to write so I can complete the writing later or stop everything and start working on it if it’s important.

This is how I fixed the problem while learning writing! Even this article started like that!

Coding

I’m a self-taught programmer, coder, software developer or whatever they call it nowadays. And while learning the art of programming, I started with: the basics, picking a programming language, doing side projects and small applications to apply my knowledge.

Learning the basics and picking a language was kind of easy. Watching online material and choosing the language depending on the platform you want to develop for. Things got out of control when I wanted to do side projects! The least pleasing part of my coding journey was architecting my applications. Whenever I wanted to start something, I take a pen and paper and try to get an architecture for the app. But when I start coding, I hit some edge cases I didn’t think of, and now, my architecture is not working! I tried to solve the problem before, I was wrong!

I got frustrated at first, I taught I’m going nowhere, I was always wrong! But after some time, I just accepted the fact that it will never be good from the first try. So I started fixing it while coding. I start with the most basic architecture I can think of and whenever I hit a problem due to it, I stop, fix it, and continue coding. Just like that, a happy ending!

Cooking

When I want to cook something, this is how I go with it: Pick a recipe, buy ingredients (all of them or what I don’t have), cook, clean dishes (because no one likes dirty dishes).

For me, picking a recipe was easy, I just google whatever I want. Same goes for buying ingredients and cooking, you just follow steps. But the part when I need to clean dishes was hard! Whenever I think about cooking, I think about the dishes I need to clean and how I’ll lose a lot of time doing it. So I end up… eating out!

Once I tried** cleaning dishes while cooking, the frustration disappeared. The idea is to **clean anything you used in the preparation while waiting for your meal to cook. You’ll end up with one dish (the one used for serving) to clean after eating, which is less intimidating than cleaning the whole army of dishes.

This is how the idea is applied to cooking, clean while cooking! Let’s make cooking great again!

To sum up:

  1. Deconstruct what you want to learn and identify the least pleasing part about it
  2. Resolve it while learning, not before/after
  3. Repeat

* Header photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

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Thank you for reading this. Legend says you’ll have a good day. And you’ll meet a good doggo on the way home.

If you’re interested in stories like those, take a look at other posts in this blog. You can also follow me on @elazzabi_

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