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How I Learn Best (And Why I’ve Been Shooting Myself in the Foot)

It’s been a while since I last wrote an update. Naturally, instead of giving a check-in summary of my log here, I’m going to intentionally procrastinate (prioritize) that for later while offloading a topic that’s been stewing in my mind recently.

When learning a new skill, there’s invariably better and worse ways to go about developing your newest life-resume-booster. This is an introspective article exploring why I specifically am falling on the “worse” side of improving, what the better learning methods (I’ll call them LMs) are, and what I’ll do from here to change my stagnation, using myself as a case study you can learn from.

There are dozens of skills the below concepts can be applied to—most people coming here will be interested in learning how to improve their romantic and social skills around women, but it has connections to any artistic skill, musical skill, career skill development, education-related skill (e.g. learning how to study, or learning how to write math proofs), and learning how to learn, among many others—so use your imagination. In fact, feel free to challenge me with an area or skill you can’t use this info towards.

First up, some obviously poor LMs:

  • Brute Force – “Do the thing over and over until you somehow ‘get’ it” – while neglecting any intentional improvement or self-evaluation
  • The Intellectual – “Learn all there is to know about a subject before trying it” – leaves out most of the “practice” and relies on memorizing or internalizing the information

When it comes to game, the Brute Force approach could be exemplified by the people who mass-approach and don’t analyze what they could improve. The Intellectual would cover those who just read pickup advice without trying any of it in real life.

There are situations where these LMs have their uses (for example, you can use Brute Force to memorize vocabulary using flashcards in Anki or use The Intellectual to learn how to operate heavy machinery before using it), and they’re common for people to use in the everyday grind (e.g. anyone Brute Forcing their day job and The Intellectual-ing their dream career), but when looked at with an objective eye we see that these LMs are, put bluntly, kinda dumb for anything we care to become skilled in or make progress towards.

I’ve used them. Most of you have used them. No harm in that—but for significant progress, we have to avoid those pitfalls.

In a way, these two LMs represent two ends of a spectrum; the obvious solution is to use a balance between the two. We want to try the target skill, then learn more about it, wedding our new knowledge to our recently acquired experience. Then we try again, and study some more.

The Critical Cycle

But a third factor is crucial: intentionality. Specifically, when we fail to plan, we plan to fail. This has caused many dreams and ambitions of mine and others to lose momentum and direction. It’s important to focus our efforts and evaluate how we’re doing, long-term and short-term. That could mean making a weekly check in and doing a quarterly review of progress, for example.

I realized this component the other day when I tried jump rope for the first time since elementary school. I just bought a rope, put on some music, and tried my best to get into a rhythm without catching on my feet. I gave it my best for ~20 minutes and gave myself permission to suck. Then after, I looked online, read a couple articles about how to learn jump rope, skimmed a few more. Then I made a plan to try it again (someday when my legs aren’t cramping as bad) with some exercises designed to help me practice with good form.

This summarizes as “practice-learn-plan”. You need some of all three.

The skipping also reminded me of the importance of focusing on the information pertinent to your skill level (and some of the following level’s). You don’t retain information well, which explains why public education takes time to go from basic skills (like learning how to count) to advanced skills (like proving theorems concerning continuity of polynomials) due to re-covering old topics several times, though there isn’t much difficulty increase in the concepts being taught from one grade to the next. Try to read some of Nash’s material as a beginner daygamer. There’s some parts a beginner can understand, just as a high schooler could understand bits and pieces from a college-level textbook, but it’s hard to comprehend and retain for long enough to apply it and “own” the knowledge.

For a long time at the beginning of my game-learning, I bingewatched youtube pickup videos and, after easing in with low-quality beginner information, read many of RedQuest’s and RedPillDad’s (and others’) articles. The trouble was threefold: 1. I wasn’t making much approaches, 2. I wasn’t analyzing what to change to improve, and 3. I was mostly reading information that was far and away beyond my level. It feels impressive to read the stories of fantasy-like sex (or whatever the desired skill is) from guys who have experience, but the really important information is the basics, the stuff you don’t think to focus on and hammer down until you genuinely try to improve your results.

Beginners need beginner material, not because they wouldn’t find the advanced material interesting, but because they need concrete points to focus on before adding the nuance (which they will eventually learn to appreciate themselves with experience). The same is true for “intermediates”, or anyone along the sliding scale towards the ideal of mastery. Beginners, however, have a smaller subset of information they need worry about; that’s a part of the benefits of a coach: curating and pointing out the concepts for a beginner to focus on. That basically gives them permission to ignore the vast noise of “try this” or “learn this” that pervades the most clickbait-y articles tailored to the tastes of the masses—they’ll learn it anyway, if it’s important.

I wonder if that’s a significant part of how coaches help their clients become effective. Perhaps it’s that focus which negates the FOMO-driven “internet warrior” urge, streamlining the time they could be using to learn the concepts one way well instead of several ways poorly. I would consider myself a beginner, still falling prey to reading unnecessary articles or watching videos which are useless to me.

Beginners may need less of the planning or learning of the “practice-learn-plan” cycle, but will benefit from gradually increased learning and planning as they transition to intermediate.

Personal Roadblocks

I’ve been failing to make much progress recently, myself. It seems to stem from both a lack of intentionality and the desire to “work on everything all at once”, which doesn’t work well. Strategic procratination, a.k.a. prioritization, without guilt at what you’re putting to the side, is a HUGE part of focus, and is precisely what I’ve been failing to do.

I’ve been trying to “focus” on improving my diet, increasing my weights at the gym incrementally, getting better on online dating, and practicing talking to girls during the daytime and in nightlife settings.

In addition, I’ve been bogging down and/or nullifying my progress by:

  • Watching Youtube videos of things that aren’t immediately useful for me and give marginal benefit, largely entertainment (though they are vastly improved over the kinds of videos I used to watch a year ago this time). This sucks a lot of time away from thinking about my progress on my “priorities”.
  • I’ve been lacking the “practice-learn-plan” cycle. I’ve been practicing some things, and binge-learning some others, and completely neglecting that planning phase.
  • I’ve not been checking in periodically. My blog posts on here have become infrequent over the past few months, and I haven’t made an effort elsewhere to identify my progress and congratulate myself on the result of taking continued steps in some areas
  • Some areas I’ve been backsliding, including diet and my empathy for others. I’ve become more selfish, and I do want to course-correct that at some point.
  • Trying to do too many things at once, including learning recipes, catching up on YT content (why the hell do I feel an obligation I have to watch it?!), keeping up on homework, going to real work at a bar’s kitchen, keeping up with chores, attending classes, going to school clubs (mainly dancing), getting some but not enough sleep (sometimes), trying to avoid porn/masturbation, obsessing over planning my meals (because I hadn’t learned to keep it simple with a fairly consistent schedule), going on occasional grocery trips, making occasional bar night excursions, running, going to the gym, meeting/hanging out with friends, as well as playing piano, learning to swing dance, writing blogs, writing stories, writing music, and a dozen other things I haven’t touched much in a while.

Instead, it would benefit me most to use a system similar to Mark Queppet’s STAQ Method: essentially, make a flexible plan to maintain the bare minimum, to keep from backsliding on everything else while I pour my focus in on one main improvement goal. Make it so I don’t stress about the actions I take to maintain the parts I’m deferring until later, and can do them easily without much thought.

In this case, that means tabling my main goal of improving physique by dieting well, getting lots of cardio, and going to the gym, alongside my goal of improving my online dating to be particularly effective. I might put a little time into dating apps, but not agressively for now; likewise, I’m not going to expect myself to follow a strict diet, or go to the gym and do cardio more than a couple times per week. I’m not going to spend a ridiculous amount of time on homework except that necessary to maintain a decent grade in the course. I’m going to drop my job, which is sabotaging me in several areas of my life by sucking my time without helping me towards my socialization practice goals.

Cold Approach in day/night situations will instead be my focus. I’m getting coaching after all. Wasting both of our time on me when I’m not in a position to focus and make use of the coaching is stupid of me. It’s much better to clear out enough space to make significant progress in this in-person-dating area so I can make the leaps and bounds that come with focus. My LM will be more optimized as I incorporate making plans and challenges for myself instead of going in with the vague goal of “getting a lead that leads to a lay” and failing to identify the areas I struggle with.

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Author: NightRoller

Learning, growing American learning to love on a deeper level. Find me at https://nightrollergame.wordpress.com/

3 thoughts on “How I Learn Best (And Why I’ve Been Shooting Myself in the Foot)”

  1. “while offloading a topic that’s been stewing in my mind recently.”

    Like how to proficiently clean and jerk, or the value of negative push-ups?

    Regarding the rest of the post, in general, the answer is often “talk to more girls” and “hang out, if possible, with guys who talk to girls.” Experience is the greatest teacher for pickup artistry. These are all places to talk to girls, “going on occasional grocery trips, making occasional bar night excursions, running, going to the gym, meeting/hanging out with friends, as well as playing piano, learning to swing dance.” Saying “hi” is better than nothing. Saying “hi” and make some observation about her is better still. Small skills build over time.

    Like

    1. Yeah, this post could be a symptom of my habit of overthinking. I don’t often indulge my urge to “keyboard warrior” because my time is being spent making those improvements, and this post probably was perhaps not worth it. The most recent one definitely was, however.

      Like

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