One thing most self-taught (and self-made) people have in common is curiosity -- immense, driving curiosity. If you can develop your curiosity and have patience, you can learn anything on your own.
Photo by Sebastian Wiertz
Self-taught designer Tobias van Schneider has been asked by various people how to become self-taught. The answer, he says, is that everything starts with curiosity and a willingness to learn. With those two things, everything happens by itself, because becoming self-taught is really a natural process:
Everything starts with curiosity and YOUR first step. Just listen to your instincts. My instinct told me that I should take the devices [I was curious about] apart, look how they work, and then put it back together-No one told me that. When you force yourself to this kind of process, everything else happens on your way.
There are things you should do to further develop and sustain your curiosity so you can learn more. Van Schneider lists a few tips that include surrounding yourself with people who are "better" than you (or crazier or just different) and also those who make you feel good about what you're doing.
Being Self-Taught [Tobias van Schneider]