I try to learn about everything from anything. I never wanted to believe my life could ever be wasted even when dealing with mundane activities — I guess I could use the time and energy to complain how boring something is or to figure out why it is boring and learn about life that way. I'd choose the latter. To me, things learned are lessons that I can apply to other aspects of my life. And just recently, I have discovered a potent effective learning practice — diversity.
I asked my wife, Sheena, one day why she had so many cosmetic items. She said, and I paraphrase, “the skin would get used to the same product, so it’s best you switch products around to maximize effectiveness.” That idea stuck with me. It is true that sometimes we get used to a smell, we don’t smell it anymore. When we get used to a routine, we no longer pay any attention to such task. Recently, an article challenging the effectiveness of brain training games such as Lumosity gained popularity on the web. I’ve been playing a lot of Lumosity games, so I wanted to find out. The article raises good points comparing other non-gaming activities actually offer more cognitive advancement. The claim caught my attention: Lumosity was extremely effective when I first started playing its games, but then it’s not as effective when I recalled my recent experiences with it. It made sense now the effectiveness of the program is compromised by becoming part of my daily routine. Nothing about the game surprises or stimulated my brain as much as before. My theory of diversity seemed to gain ground and I began breaking routines in all other areas of my life. As a result, they all yielded sudden boost of improvements as predicted.
To my understanding, there also seems to be a diminishing return to everything that we do (rates varies upon the activity) — the more we repeatedly doing something, the less effective such activity could yield results. It has become apparent to me that mastery cannot be achieved by only mastering one thing: multiple perspective must be gained. Many innovations, too, are based on the marriage of two or more fundamentally different industry practices into one. If diversity is key for growth, I might add that it is also crucial that the skill of analogy must be mastered to complement the technique allowing us to learn about everything from doing anything. It is important to develop the habit of commitment going deep into something, but it is also important to stay loose and creative to constantly zoom in and out of our lives to gain perspective on all things around us.
Nature always has an opinion on purposeful designs. Only things that evolve slowly and carefully are those that last.