70. Scott Young – How to Learn Anything Part 1

Scott Young is an entrepreneur, programmer, and author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book Ultralearning: Accelerate Your Career, Master Hard Skills, and Outsmart the Competition. Scott believes that learning is key to living well and is known for engaging learning projects such as The Year Without English, an endeavor that earned him proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Korean. Additionally, through his MIT Challenge, Scott used his knowledge acquisition strategies to complete MIT’s undergraduate computer science curriculum in just twelve months without attending any classes. Through his work, Scott provides valuable insight on topics related to knowledge acquisition, learning, and working more effectively. His work has been featured on BBC, Business Insider, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, TEDx, and LifeHacker.

Scott joins me today to discuss his philosophies on how you can master any learning endeavor you set out on. He shares his experience with language learning and whether or not children are more capable of becoming multilingual than adults. Scott also offers a helpful perspective on topics including focus, procrastination, and motivation that can help you approach your life, study, and work endeavors more effectively.

“We all have capacities to be really, really good at things that are somewhat underexplored.” – Scott Young

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • How Scott’s interests growing up relate to his current work and perspectives
  • What “the year without English” is and Scott’s view on the word ‘fluency’
  • The impact and importance of the environment when it comes to learning a language
  • Whether you take the learning path that feels easy or the one that feels difficult and why
  • What Ultra Learning is and the components that differentiate it from other approaches
  • How assumptions about natural talent get in the way of our true potential and why you should approach your potential with curiosity
  • The role of challenge, fun, and enjoyment in learning
  • How to help your children find their motivation to learn
  • Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and the importance of knowing your “why” for learning
  • The role of focus and alertness when performing different types of tasks and the difference between narrow and diffused focus 
  • The concept of fluency of processing and techniques to use to improve your long term retention
  • The importance of prioritizing your desire to learn something and the role of resistance
  • Tips for dealing with procrastination and maintaining stamina towards your learning goals

Resources Mentioned:

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