When I decided to start learning proactively in early 2021, I simply went from one interesting book to another when authors referenced other experts in their books. The result is that I know bits and pieces of various topics but lack in-depth expertise on any of them.
The 4 steps that you’ll see below offers a systematic approach to learning that not only grows your depth of expertise but also grows your social capital.
Step 1: Preparation.
Pick a topic. Find the top 10 books, blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos and experts on the topic. You can do this by Googling or asking the masses on Reddit, Quora or your own social network.
Step 2: Self-learning.
Dedicate time every day for a week or two to go through the content. Half or one hour a day is a manageable commitment.
Start with the easiest ones — YouTube videos and podcasts are the most easily consumed. They will give you a good overview of the topic.
Then, go into blog posts. If you can find tweet threads, that’s even better. Twitter is full of good writers who put together well curated and highly informative threads.
Step 3: Talk to people.
After Step 2, you should have some questions or aspects you would like to find out more about. Ask questions on platforms like Facebook groups, Slack, Discord, Quora or Twitter.
Comment your perspective on social media posts. Here, you begin to get involved in online communities and grow your social capital.
Step 4: Talk to experts.
They could be researchers or top names in the field. Reach out to them via email or social media.
Don’t know what to say when reaching out? Here are some ideas.
- Ask a question.
- Ask for recommendations on further reading materials.
- Show your appreciation. You can simply thank them for your new knowledge. Share how a particular concept you’ve learned changed your perspective.
Make it easy for them to read and respond. Keep it short and simple. It’s reasonable to say that 1 in 10 would respond. If you have a question that you want answered, follow up with them for 3 more times. You can also reach out to other experts.
If you aren’t well connected before, this is how you can begin to improve the quality of your social capital.
Do this for a topic and you’ll end up with a new set of knowledge and community. Repeat this across different topics and you’ll grow your social and cognitive capital.
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