On Learning and Quality
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“How can I optimize learning?”
“Realize that there’s two aspects to it: the learning foundation, and the learning process.
The former refers to getting yourself in a peak mental and emotional state for learning. That means optimizing what Brian Johnson calls the Fundamentals:
It also means training your capacity to focus.
As concerns the latter, start by asking a better question.
What exactly do you want to optimize about the learning process?”
“I want to maximize learning density [<link; short read]. The amount of learning I get done every day.”
“The problem with that statement is that it focuses only on quantity.
Let’s say you get a lot of learning done in a day, but of low quality. Think cramming for an exam. You have a high density, but very low quality.
The learning process has an input and an output. Let’s say you have a lot of efficient input in a day but zero output. You have a high density, but an imbalanced input/output ratio [<link; short read].
You want to get more learning done every day. (Quantity)
You want to get more out of your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more present in your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more balanced in your learning every day [<link; medium read]. (Quality)
Quality has four components: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Presence, and Balance.
We can think of effectiveness as the macro, and efficiency as the micro. Strategy and tactics. Both are essential.
To maximize density, maximize efficiency.
Better still, focus on maximizing all aspects of Quality. You can think of them as the Quality-checklist.”