The Teacher Is the Student – 4


This series features some simple hacks that can help supercharge anything you’re learning; anything you want to internalize; anything you want to become more competent at, no matter the topic.

If you do the things suggested in this series…

* You will learn faster

* You will comprehend difficult, new concepts more quickly

* You will blast through obstacles in life more swiftly and easily

The concept here is based upon a well-known phenomenon. Each time a teacher teaches their material, they learn it themselves at a deeper level. The more anyone engages in the process of disseminating information that is interesting and useful to others, the more the nuanced finer points of that subject matter become ingrained within the person who does it. 

The practices that are promoted in this six-part series involve things you know how to do. Because no technical difficulty is involved and the actions are easy to incorporate, you can begin to notice and enjoy the three above-listed benefits in no time. 

The activity highlighted in this installment… 

New Things

Keep doing and learning new things. And when I say new things, I’m referring to topics of general interest that wouldn’t otherwise occur to you as interesting to you.

It could be watching a documentary about the Amazon [the world’s largest rain forest, river, and system of tributaries, not the world’s largest online retailer]. It could be reviewing a website that provides recipes for things you’ve never made before. It could be taking a trip to a hardware store to ask an expert a few questions about which you’ve been vaguely curious (assuming you can find an expert).

When you make it a standard practice to learn completely new things, you will benefit in at least three meaningful ways:

1. A better life! In seeking new things to learn, you will occasionally experience the pleasant surprise of discovering something you genuinely enjoy. Whenever that happens, your life has been enriched just a little bit more. And frankly, even in experiencing a new thing you don’t particularly enjoy, you’ve chalked up some valuable life experience probably worth sharing with others.

Watch Your Brain Make Connections!

2. Watch your brain make connections. Throughout the process of seeking and absorbing at least a little knowledge of a variety of new things, watch as your brain automatically starts to make connections between what you already know and those seemingly unrelated topics. Encountering those knowledge “intersections” can be a lot of fun and deeply rewarding.

3. A healthy brain is an active brain. Atrophy sucks. The older we get, the more frequently we get slapped with sobering reminders of the limited amount of time we have to live a full life. According to the Mayo Clinic, increasing age is the greatest known risk factor for both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and maintaining an active mind is the best-known preventative. We should all take the maxim “Use it or lose it” very seriously when it comes to maintaining a vibrant, healthy mind.

Every time you are exposed to new information, your brain is subconsciously making all kinds of sorting and categorizing decisions. It is asking and answering interesting questions. For example…

  • How does this information apply to me?
  • How does it help me?
  • How can I use this information?
  • With whom can I share this information?
  • What does this remind me of (what do I already know that this information may, in some way, apply to)?
  • What should I do with this information?
  • What does this now make me curious about?
  • How does this deepen my understanding of the world? of other people? of how things work? of things about which I am already somewhat knowledgeable?

Commit a little time every week to delving into completely new things – areas of knowledge that may not interest you at all. If you have an open attitude about it, your brain really will ask questions like those above (and countless variations), and you will likely be surprised by the answers your amazing mind produces.

ARTICLES ELSEWHERE – Links to a few other voices on the above subject matter:

The 27 Principles to Teaching Yourself Anything at Live Your Legend

How to Become Self-Taught the Easy Way at Lifehack a great online resource whose tagline is Master Your Time, Master Your Life. Visitors to will find great articles (for free) and a ton of books and courses on a wide range of topics obviously focused on maximizing your overall productivity to make the most of life’s most precious limited resource: time.

How to Teach Yourself Anything in Less Than Three Months at Scott H. Young 

  • Mr. Young’s work has been featured in TEDx, The New York Times, Lifehacker, Popular Mechanics, and Business Insider
  • Be sure to visit for expert treatment on many other topics at the cost (FREE) of becoming a subscriber at his website, be sure to download one, or all five, of Scott’s well-written and researched free eBooks, including Ten Mental Models for Learning AnythingProlific learner, writer, and what we'd call an ace Obstacle Blaster, Scott H. Young. Check out his eponymously named blog,, where, since 2006, he has posted eye-opening articles about learning, productivity, career, habits, and living well. Scott is known for documenting learning challenges such as learning a 4-year MIT computer science degree in one year, learning four languages in one year, and learning to draw portraits in 30 days.
  • OR click on Mr. Young’s picture on the right to review a list of the books he read in 2022 [no worries – it won’t take you away from Obstacle Blaster; a separate page, Scott’s 2022 Year in Books will open at]*
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