Just Break Stuff

Break free from analysis paralysis. Dive in, get hands-on, and embrace failure. Accelerate learning by failing faster and gaining practical experience.
Nick Wilkinson 2 min read
Just Break Stuff
Photo by Dennis Anderson / Unsplash

Do you find yourself wanting to learn something new but have no idea where to start? I encounter this situation at least once a week, and with each experience, I discover effective ways to begin. The easiest approach I've found is surprisingly simple: just get started and embrace the process of trial and error.

When I say "break things," I mean diving in without getting stuck in the paralysis of overthinking where to start. Instead of consuming a plethora of YouTube videos and documentation, prioritize getting hands-on as one of the first steps. As you progress, you'll find that the YouTube videos and documentation make much more sense when you can visualize and experience concepts firsthand. This hands-on approach helps connect the dots and deepen your understanding.

I apply this practice to every learning endeavor. Personally, I'm not a verbal learner, and I suspect many others aren't either. When embarking on a learning journey, I always try to transform it into a tangible project. For example, when I decided to learn Python, I embarked on a 100-day coding challenge where I worked on projects and documented my daily learnings in a blog.

Similarly, when I wanted to learn Docker and Kubernetes, my focus was on hosting my website on these platforms. By turning my learning process into a practical project, I was able to grasp the concepts more effectively and gain valuable hands-on experience.

Creating your own project for learning takes you away from the hand-holding of guides and exposes you to challenges and unexpected issues. It's in these real-world scenarios that true learning occurs. You learn to troubleshoot and find solutions to problems that you wouldn't have encountered by simply following guides, which are designed to ensure smooth progress.

Getting hands-on and embracing the process of breaking things allows for a more practical and immersive learning experience. It also enables you to fail faster, which is often seen as something to be feared. However, failures are a natural part of life, and successful individuals have often experienced numerous failures along their journey.

Fail Faster is a concept that guides my life, and if you're unfamiliar with it, let me break it down for you. Failing faster is a transformative mindset that challenges the fear of failure and embraces it as an essential aspect of the learning process. By actively seeking challenges, experimenting, and learning from failures, individuals can accelerate their personal growth and success. This approach emphasizes rapid iteration, feedback, and continuous improvement. Rather than viewing failure as a setback, failing faster treats it as an opportunity for invaluable insights and course correction. Through calculated risks, strategic adjustments, and a resilient mindset, failing faster propels learners towards better strategies and approaches. It fosters adaptability, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge, ultimately leading to breakthroughs and achievements that may not have been possible without embracing failure as a valuable teacher.

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