How to learn fast and create really useful general rules are frankly difficult questions to answer. However, maybe we can learn something from some geniuses. Famous people like Albert Einstein, his colleague Nobel laureate in Physics Richard Feynman, and super entrepreneur Elon Musk have offered practical advice that anyone can use to accelerate their learning on any subject of their choice.
According to Einstein, great mental leaps and fun go hand in hand, and the more you can enjoy learning, the faster you will accumulate information in your brain and make progress. In 1915, he wrote the following advice for his 11-year-old son, who was trying to master the piano:
I am very happy that you find it satisfying to play the piano … so play the piano, even if the teacher does not ask for it. That is the way to learn more: when you are doing something with such pleasure that you do not realize that time passes. Sometimes I am so wrapped up in my work that I forget the midday meal.
Legendary physicist Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize for his work on one of the most difficult topics for the human mind, quantum mechanics. But his main advice to accelerate learning is to make everything you’re studying be reduced until it’s simple. So simple, in fact, that it could be explained to an eight-year-old child.
When you write an idea from start to finish in simple language (tip: use only common words), you are forced to understand the concept at a deeper level and simplify the relationships and connections between the ideas.
Elon Musk has demonstrated mastering various areas of knowledge and, above all, discovering which of them could have a development and business opportunity. How did you learn so much about so many different fields? When someone asked that question, Musk replied:
Most people can learn much more than they think (…) it is important to see knowledge as a kind of semantic tree: make sure you understand the fundamental principles, that is, the trunk and large branches, before entering in the leaves / details.