This Is The Endless Quest Of Learning New Things

This Week’s BIG Idea

Recently, I’ve been trying to replace mindless entertainment with something that teaches me something. Although I’ve always loved cinema there’s a fine line between watching cinema for its cinematography and watching a movie passively. Whenever I think about media, I try to ask myself one simple question after engaging with it: “What do you have to show for it?” For years, I’d watch movies and forget everything about them soon after. More recently, I’ve been keeping notes in a film journal I have in Notion where I write short paragraphs about the movie, but even then I feel like I’m not learning anything.

Something similar happens with books. I love learning new things from books, but finding the “right” books has become more and more difficult. By no means am I suggesting that I ran out of books to read, what I mean is that some of the most popular books regurgitate old ideas, so it’s difficult to find something new and fresh. Moments before writing this newsletter, I was going over Derek Sivers’ book notes. Interestingly, I came across some books that caught my attention and that I hadn’t read before. I guess we’ll see how this goes and I’ll report on it soon.

What I’m Working on

Since we’re on the topic of learning new things, I’m trying to come up with a better system to find books I love. So I went over the recommendations of some of my favorite writers. Writers like Ali Abadaal, James Clear, Derek Sivers, and Mark Manson have websites where they share the notes of their favorite books, so I use those recommendations to find my next great read. Then, I read the first couple of chapters of a given book to see if it’s the right fit for me. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

Over the last couple of months I started dozens of books whose ideas didn’t resonate so I stopped reading them after the first couple of episodes. I remind myself that finding the “right” book (the page-turner you can’t put down and the one you wake up and go to bed thinking about until you’re done), takes time. But when you do, you feel immersed in that book and you can’t wait to finish it so that you can start it all over again. That’s what I want from now on.

What I’m Listening to

I’m still going over the 170+ Mark Manson articles turned into podcast episodes. I then add that episode to my favorites for future reference and if I find an episode I like a lot, I might even summarize it in a Notion page so I can benefit from it in the future. This is something I want to start doing from now on. I listen to numerous podcast episodes over a given week and sometimes I’m exposed to amazing ideas I have to write down or I forget about them. This is another great resource for learning new things.

What I’m Reading

Deep Work by Cal Newport: I read this book a couple of years ago and liked it a lot, but it suddenly became more relevant to me. I’ve noticed that sometimes when I’m trying to work my attention’s divided. When I enter a state of flow and I’m happy reading and writing, I feel like I’m pushing my mental abilities to the limit, and not only does that feel great, but I produce better work. I want more of that because doing deep work in a world that’s distracted is a sort of superpower.

What I’m Watching

Change Your Life by Journaling by Ali Abdaal: This video was a nice reminder of why I journal on a daily basis. I’ve been journaling for the past couple of years and this is one of the best habits you can start. I agree with Ali when he says that journaling can transform your life. As he explains in the video there are different ways of doing it, but I follow the easiest way which involves writing how I feel.

This Week’s Quote

“Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness.”

Mandy Hale

Here’s a link to my personal website where I share chapter-by-chapter summaries of non-fiction books.

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