Newsletter #47: Choose Your Skills Wisely

Ramses Oudt
Ramses Oudt
Newsletter #47: Choose Your Skills Wisely

Happy Friday, fellow lovers of wisdom!

This week's newsletter is all about how to choose what skills to learn next. We can talk all day about how to acquire new skills, but if you're not motivated or have no real use for a skill, why would you learn it?

I have good hope you will have more clarity after going through this week's resources. And I'm sure that when you're clear about what you want to learn and why, your note-taking system (AKA second brain) will start to fill up with more useful materials.

If you have several skills you want to learn and still don't know where to start after these resources, please be at Tuesday's How to Choose What Skills to Learn workshop. It's free to attend.

How to choose your next skill

I've just published a short 1,600-word guide titled How to Choose Your Next Skill. It's currently for paying members only, but below I link to some of the resources I based it on.

First is Erika Andersen's article How to Decide What Skill to Work On Next, which touches on Jim Collins's hedgehog idea and how to use it to pick new skills.

The other article I encourage you to read is Tom Littler's How to Decide What Skills to Learn. I based the worksheet included in my guide on Tom's framework, and I definitely recommend following it to find your next skill.

If you attend Tuesday's How to Choose What Skills to Learn workshop, you'll receive the worksheet for free as it'll be part of the workshop.

Learning is messy

Some weeks ago I had a conversation with fellow Dutchman Dom Zijlstra about learning how to learn. Dom is creator of the wonderful app Traverse.link, which combines mindmaps and spaced repetition, and enables you to create your own knowledge tree.

Our conversation was for the Superlearners podcast, which I definitely recommend if you want to learn from fellow professionals. We talked about the messiness of learning, how I discover my path through a skill, and how I think we can all learn from each other through communities. Listen to the entire episode below.

Deconstruct your wanted skills

Another interesting interview by Dom was with Ely Apao about how to break down knowledge into fundamental blocks and the importance of flow state in learning.

For those of you with a Zettelkasten, the feeling of flow when following your curiosity will be familiar. However, in this short conversation Ely points out the need for reusable knowledge blocks.

When you find yourself doing something repeatedly, it pays to either externalize that knowledge so others can use it, or to internalize the knowledge so you can do it easily. For both, a Zettelkasten can help.

Ely doesn't go into the mechanics of deconstructing a skill, so I recommend Tim Ferriss' DiSSS framework if you want to gain clarity about what to focus on first. Tim has graciously made a chapter from his book The 4-Hour Chef available for free and in it he explains the DiSSS framework. To compress knowledge and either learn or retrieve it fast, Tim also teaches his CaFE framework .

Leverage the graph view to learn

When you stop taking notes and start making them, you'll soon find the gaps in your understanding. That's a great cue to dig deeper and learn more.

In the video below, Nick Milo of Linking Your Thinking fame shows how he uses Obsidian's graph view to make new notes and expand on existing ones. What's great about this approach is that when you externalize your thinking about something, you can start to see where domains overlap (making you learn faster) and where you might need to brush up your understanding.

Now that I've started to use Obsidian, I'm curious how its graph view can help me decide what to learn next. Making notes is one approach, but leveraging it for a learning plan would be another use case I'd like to explore.

If you use Obsidian's graph view to learn new skills, I'd love to hear (and learn) from you. Hit reply and please share your process with me.



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