Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker's weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and a guide to using its waters to reflect on and improve your life.
Tagged With learning
All musicians have a different approach to becoming their very best, but whatever your practice, it will inevitably include some version of running scales. There is a great deal of tedium in being good enough to keep up when inspiration strikes. Unfortunately, this has translated to many a miserable afternoon for pressured kids at the keyboard. But we're adults now. Let's practise smart, not hard.
Seven-time Grammy-winning pianist Emanuel Ax still practices his instrument four hours a day - when you play Carnegie Hall, you don't just wing it. And sometimes, he admits, "it's kind of a slog," especially to practice a new piece: Something written specifically for him, or something he's never heard. "You get the music, and you try to learn it note by note." In an interview with Lifehacker, Ax recommends several ways to make practising an instrument more fun and productive.
"The important thing to know about spelling is that it's not just rote memorization," says Ananya Vinay, champion of the 2017 Scripps US National Spelling Bee, who will ceremonially open this year's bee next week. While Vinay uses flashcards to study specific words, she says the real trick is learning where different words come from.
When those bullies from business school mocked you for getting a useless doctorate in medieval literature, they didn't see the world of history podcasts coming. Now it's cool as hell to sit in your closet and read out your doctoral thesis. It turns out that podcasts are a fantastic way for people to learn about history, at all scales and time periods, one lesson at a time.
If you're out at night and look up (which you certainly should), and see a light in the distance, this helpful chart from The League of Lost Causes will help you determine whether you're looking at a planet, a star, a satellite or something else.
Almost a quarter of all the students that attend Yale University, one of America's most prestigious schools, enrol in the "Psychology and the Good Life" course, run by Laurie Santos. It is the most popular course at Yale, ever, and aims to teach students how to lead a happier, more fulfilling life.
Now, anyone can sign up and take the course for free.
You may have taken the quiz as a child: What type of learner are you? You'd answer questions such as, "When you see the word cat, are you more likely to a) picture a cat in your head, b) say the word 'cat' to yourself, or c) imagine yourself physically petting a cat?" Once you made your selections, your so-called learning style would be revealed. Congrats! You're a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner!
Lifehacker has collected a lot of "learn to code" resources that are especially helpful to new learners. But if you've already done a little coding or taken just a couple of courses, and you want a more thorough education in both theory and practice, start with the site Teach Yourself Computer Science.
Most of us know that reading to babies is a very good thing - it's tied to language and cognitive development, helps strengthen the parent-child bond, and gives us a welcome script when we're trying to get in our recommended 30,000 words a day without having to rap the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song yet again. But for optimal benefits, it may not be enough to simply grab any board book or Thai takeaway menu and start rattling off the words. According to a new study, the type of book you read may make a big difference.
Nintendo's upcoming Labo series of games is novel in more ways than one: the DIY cardboard construction kits are filled with accessories like fishing rods, pianos, and even a robot-controlling, pulley-powered backpack, paired with games compatible with Nintendo's portable Switch console.
You've probably got some downtime during the holidays, whether you're taking a few days off from work (you should), or enjoying your winter break after studying for exams (you didn't). With 2018 on the way, you can start the new year on the right foot by prepping your resolution plans beforehand. Of course, resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, so the real question is this: how are you getting a head start on yours?