I started learning the ukelele last year. I also started a course on genetics and one on astronomy and one on dinosaurs. I started reading 20 or 30 new books. And, I started working through a bunch of math using Khan Academy and various workbooks.
There is so much to learn. There are an infinite number of things to learn. But, I do not have an infinite amount of time.
A few weeks ago, after talking to Nick, I decided that I had to prioritize. What do I really want to learn in the next 6 months? I can’t pick everything. I need to approach this in the same way that I would approach training. If I want a bigger squat, then I squat. If I want to get skinny, then I eat less. Learning is no different.
I decided that my priority is math. I will put all of the other things on hold for the most fun thing, which is math. I have goals for math. I finished calculus I in 1993, and I promise you that I had no idea what calculus was when I was done. But, I passed the AP exam, so my college believed that I understood calculus. They were very wrong.
So, I am going to learn all of the calculus classes – differential, integral, multivariable – and then I am going to learn differential equations and linear algebra. And, after that, I don’t know what math I am going to learn, but it is going to be something.
I am going to approach it just like I am approaching our cannonball shoulder challenge at the gym. Every day, I do front raises, dumbbell presses, curls, lat pulldowns, tricep pushdowns, face pulls, and all of the things that I need to do in order to grow GIANT ARMS. I do these things every day because I have a goal. This is why I do math every day.
Every day, I do at least 20 minutes of math. Sometimes, it is exactly 20 minutes, and sometimes, it is several hours. The other day, I was about to go to bed, and I realized that I hadn’t done any math. I did a few problems on Khan Academy before I got up to brush my teeth.
In 6 months, I will have bigger arms. In 6 months, I will also know a lot more math.
The sad thing is that most people don’t question my aesthetic goal, but everyone wonders why in the world I want to learn math. Dan John says that if something is important, you should do it every day.
Think about that for a minute. Then, go do some math.