Please note: The original draft of this was created late yesterday afternoon. Given what I say below, you can see why I waited until today to proof and post it. 🙂
One of my favorite books from last year was Creativity: A Short and Cheerful Guide, by John Cleese. It comes to mind quite often, and did again today (June 14, 2021) as I began reading a new work by Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe, Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything. What reminded me of Cleese’s book was Oakley and Schewe recommending a mix of focus and diffuse modes for learning:
But what if you’re trying to learn something new and more difficult? Let’s say you’re trying to understand the multi-pump system of the heart or the mathematical concept of a derivative, or master a physical skill such as how to do a double kickflip on a skateboard.* You might focus hard, then harder, and then even harder, and you still can’t get it. Strangely enough, allowing yourself to take a break, whether for several hours or overnight, often works magic. It’s the magic of the diffuse mode. When you return your focus to the issue at hand, you’ll have that “aha” insight that allows you to make progress on the issue you’ve been struggling with.
Now, that approach isn’t just limited to learning, as is seen by their test taking advice: [Read more…] about Put It Aside (Even When You Don’t Need To)