There are times when learning new skills might not help you

There are times when learning new skills might not help you!

It might be a kick to some people to know that I’m one of those who actually enjoying doing book stuff, or just learning stuff involving academics. It’s really hard to explain this and not confuse anyone, because quite frankly, I didn’t really like school or school books, especially reading for exams, and currently, I don’t miss school or schoolwork.

However, I was never among those that had bad grades and felt school was tough. School wasn’t, and my grades weren’t woeful. I just didn’t progressively feel impacted by the whole “academic education” process and I was mostly bothered about the system wasting my time (years).

Still, I love learning school stuff. In spare times, I’d embark on what I call How-To themes. The concept is to select any subject of interest and learn all I can about it when I can, with no pressure. When completed, I’d find myself moving on to new similar subjects after having exhausted the subject I started with, because I found it interesting, or I wanted to explore a different segment on the same field. And that’s what usually spring up a “theme”.

There are times when learning new skills might not help you
A few crafts I learned online

Related: Why do you learn when you’re not being provoked to

The learning medium could be via How-To Youtube videosThis medium I was skeptical about at first, but it subsequently turned out to be effective and I went on to create the Art Theme from there. This theme for me, encompasses the ‘draw’ programs. I learnt CorelDraw and AutoCAD from those videos and they were explicitly rendered, even Video Editing. Even though I had fun playing around with the programs, I did nothing serious with it.

Another learning medium I opt for is the Online Study Courses’ forum, like Alison, or Udemy, or Coursera (this one I’ve never used because all their courses come with fees, but people recommend this and even do courses for free), I’ve had Engineering Software Theme when i thought i wanted to learn more on MatLab and Hysis. I’ve had Programming Language (PL) Theme where I tried learning a few languages like HTML, HTML5, CSS(markup languages though).

I’ve had Management Theme for Business Management study, Project Management, and Information Management. I’ve had Microsoft Application theme where I indulged myself in Microsoft packages like Excel. That’s when I discovered VBA and it changed me! So why all this history, since I’m talking like my brain is still not empty, and I’m going the exact opposite direction of the title?

Now there’s the saying, “No Knowledge is Wasted”. But as with most practical enhanced subjects as with the Art theme and PL theme, if you don’t apply the acquired knowledge, with time, you’d find yourself forgetting the functions and terminologies you’d actually need to survive in the field.

And if you miss a few keynotes, you can as well start afresh to learn that subject whenever you’d need to make use of the works. You’ll be lucky if you remember enough to be fundamentally sound so you’ll proceed with the revisions on a mid-level and not be stuck revising the basis, which would take you back to the starter’s level, making your initial knowledge a ‘waste’.

I know I might be exaggerating a tad bit, but let’s face it, the time you spent studying that which you eventually didn’t practice but let to run cold, you could have spent it studying something that could have been useful.

There are times when learning new skills might not help you!

So if you ask me to build a website or write a few codes to initiate something or design a desk without specifications, I’ll fumble of course and the time it would take me to get it somewhat close to right or locate the icon/drawing tool on the screen that’s staring at me, I might not be better off than one who has no idea of it in the first place. This is not only a shame, but it equates to wasted time.

Granted there are people who could store up various knowledge on stuff they don’t need at present until when they’d need it, say in years time, without skipping a beat and remembering every detail like its brand new knowledge. Others learn fast and don’t have to “study in advance” because whenever they need knowledge for something, they could hastily read it up and perform just as well. For some of us in the middle that try to manage our moderate IQ, we know it’s likely for us to learn and forget, it shouldn’t be about learning new skills all the time.

If there’s the time to learn a new skill, it means you could use that time to just perfect an old skill instead. There’s nothing wrong with having an impeccable skill set, which only comes by doing and redoing and redoing the same thing…practicing and practicing..and practicing.

The spotlight here is only on skills that require frequent activity and tuning up.

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  1. I find that every information you process is useful even if you only use it one time you’re stuck in an elevator with a hot programmer who studied engineering and now works for a project management firm. 🙂

    1. Hehe I see that happened to you. For conversational purpose, every information gathered is good information nonetheless.

      1. I think it came from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers book.

        If you spend 10,000 hours doing something, you become an expert at it. Similar to the conclusion that you drew at the end of your post.

        1. Hmmm did not know that.
          But 10,000hrs is quite an over estimate tho, if it’s supposed to be an average figure. That’s like 400+days equaling like a year and half! Do you really need that length of time to learn to bake perfectly?

          1. Yup. To achieve mastery, you need practice and more practice and then some more practice.

            I think the story of Bill Gates was used, a lot of people start his story at the point when he dropped out of college to start Microsoft in 1975. However, most people don’t know that he started programming as a teenage – by the time he got to college, he had already accumulated his 10,000 hours.

          2. In other words, no matter how proficient or conversant someone is with something, he isn’t altogether brilliant at it, as he thinks, or as he ought to be until he reaches or exceeds the 10,000hr mark? Right?

          3. Tehehe… Yes, that is what the rule inadvertently suggests.

            Although most times, by the time you think someone is brilliant at something, they are probably long past their 10,000 hour mark. You just need to investigate how long they have been at it to confirm.

          4. For some reason the whole idea fascinates me. Like how did he ever come up with such a figure? Why has it not been contested, and why shouldn’t it?..a lot more. I should just find the book and read

          5. Hahaha… I’m sure someone out there has contrasted it.

            The only reason I know about the rule is because it was my alma mater’s mantra. They took it to heart and then some… Eish!!

  2. I so agree with you! Can’t remember how many hours I spent learning Corel draw but see who is trying to go over the training again,I am!

  3. “If there’s the time to learn a new skill, it means you could use that time to just perfect an old skill instead”. Love that statement and now it’s inspired me to do something!

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