Skill development, varied approaches, and gaining perspective

I’m easing myself back into “sharpening the saw” of my job skills. I’m struggling somewhat with getting back into the habit; I’m finding myself regularly facing the choice between working on programming or Linux studies, and other things, like reading Economist or working on writing an eBook to add to this site (eee!). It’s so easy to choose the other thing, just because I already spend so much time at work; why would I want to spend even more time doing the same stuff? I’m hoping once I make the choice of studying computer skills a few times the old excitement will come back to me and it will be easy to fall back into the habit from there.

One approach I’m taking is to try a couple different things. I’ve got my trusty LPIC-1 book of course, and I traded my MacBook Pro in for a Debian Thinkpad at work. But one thing that I had never really tried before and am really enjoying is watching videos! I had held off on getting into videos before because I have a limited data plan (I don’t pay for Internet, I just use my phone’s hotspot), but my partner recently got an unlimited data plan so I’ve been able to use his hotspot and watch all the videos I want. It has really transformed the way I think about studying. It’s just so easy to watch videos — I can watch them even when I’m not cognitively at my best, and still get a lot out of them. And while it’s only rarely that I’ll go back and re-read things that I’ve already read, I’ve already re-watched several videos or short clips.

I think any goal or habit can be served well by taking multiple approaches to it. Trying to start an exercise routine is often made easier by varying the types of exercise done; learning to brew coffee at home is best done by reading up on it as well as experimenting hands-on. It’s easy to take the first thing that works and just stick with that, but that can often lead to burn-out. I had hit a roadblock with my LPIC-1 study, but after I took the edX Introduction to Linux course and started working on a Linux for my day-to-day work, I’m a lot more enthusiastic about picking up that tome.

When something isn’t working, it’s okay to walk a way for a while to give yourself the time and space to figure out how to approach it again. It’s difficult to force something into working well; that’s just not how we work as humans. There’s probably a reason things aren’t working, and it’s difficult to find perspective when you’re still stuck in the trenches.

The many perspectives we can have, living in a multi-dimensional world, are only available with distance.


Driving is a skill best learned through practice…

Add a Comment