Writing About What I Learn
The following Russian expression guides my learning.
The wise man learns from other’s mistakes, the smart man learns from his own, and the stupid one never learns.
I have two main reasons for writing articles about what I learn. I use this blog as a way to force myself to take notes, do research, and explore new subjects.
I think everyone’s learnings and notes should be like code: reusable, indexed, and easily consumed. Although I see this blog as a personal record of learning I want others to benefit from the things I learn. This comes down to the second reason I write: to educate others.
My 7th grade Algebra teacher used to talk about subject mastery and mastery learning. She would explain how the grades we earned were not grades but rather signs of our mastery in the subject of math. I thought that idea was lame.
Getting older changes your perspective about things. I now understand how important subject mastery is. People who have mastered a subject have the ability to teach it to others. I celebrate those who have the ability to transfer a datum from themselves to others. The ability for humans to build on others ideas is extraordinary.
If one person learns, not reads but actually learns, something from my writings then I will be happy with all of the note taking and sharing I’ve done.
I am sure you have also noticed that I write about a wide variety of topics and subjects. Being incredibly knowledgeable about a single subject makes you a subject matter expert and most people spend their lives doing just that. Blogs are a symbol of how we find, embrace, and follow people who have deep knowledge which we wish to learn from.
This is not required. The purpose of being deep about a subject is to develop new ideas in your subject realm. Ideas that are published. Ideas which make other subject matter experts question or contemplate things you’ve proposed.
I like learning a little about a lot. I prefer breadth to depth.
Breakthroughs are made by borrowing from other departments. Breadth allows you to make connections between subjects. Your specialization can benefit from your personal breadth of knowledge. For instance, artificial intelligence, and more specifically genetic and evolutionary algorithms, were completely borrowed from the biology department.
Computer Science has taught me to embrace the breadth over depth concept. Learn a little about a lot and do a deeper dive when necessary.
Please note: I am not advocating not being deep. You have to be both.
A person who is a mile wide and an inch deep is not an educated person. But a person who is a mile deep and an inch wide is not an educated person either.
Depth takes time, is incredibly hard, and is a constant struggle. What I am saying is this: Your deep subject can benefit from your breadth.
The posts and articles on this site are my way of learning a little about something enough to teach it to others. If I understand something well enough to write an article about it, although I may have not mastered it, it furthers my understanding of a subject.
Just the act of writing something down helps me narrow my focus of learning while also being able to answer questions that typically arise.