Use the Right Medium to Grow

You might be drawn too much to one medium to miss out on ways to fast-track your growth if you just shift the medium.

I have been looking to learn more about tax fundamentals now that I’ve been living in the US for a few years. However, all my previous attempts at trying to understand it have been in the form of books. I would procrastinate with it and never read it. The numbers, concepts, and ideas were too difficult to digest for me.

Based on my search history, I soon started getting YouTube recommendations as well. However, YouTube optimizes for recommendations and watch times, and I soon started getting recommendations for highly polarizing videos.

I would see videos like “here’s why you’re poor,” or “what to avoid if you don’t want to get audited.” These are shocking videos that makes me less likely to engage with them (although I see why others would be drawn by the click bait titles).

What I needed was a calm way of being explained basic concepts, without the hype. I needed this knowledge to be transmitted visually with examples shown to me as I went through it.

I finally realized that I need to learn this from almost a university like lecture format. So I found a course online and I’m now learning about these concepts in a more constructive manner.

The same goes for other things. For some other business skills, I am finding that I do better looking for live communities where I can engage with others who are also trying to master the same new skills. So I’m looking for that.

For deeper ideas, I still find myself looking at books. For bite-sized digests of ideas, I go to podcasts.

If you’re struggling to acquire a certain skill, or grow on a certain path, it might just be that you’re using the wrong medium to learn it. You are perhaps using the medium you are most familiar with, not the medium that works best for you to learn it.

Find the right medium and accelerate your learning.

Caveat: it is just as important to avoid the wrong medium. Reading a book isn’t always the best idea for example, sometimes a TED talk is enough to grasp the big ideas. At the same time, a talk is not always the right idea and you can understand it better if you just read the book or original paper behind it.

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