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A Simple Guide to Learn Anything

Playing drums or piano, dancing salsa or gangnam style, sketching an elephant or a face, coding an algorithm or writing an article, driving a car or riding a bicycle, baking a pizza or making cookies.

Playing a game without a mission would be worthless, right?

Learning to copy is the most essential thing to get things started with a direction that works. You know the output you want to produce. All you have to do is, try and make it on your own.

Austin Kleon in Steal Like an Artist puts it like this:

Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.

And on, how to do it:

First, you have to figure out who to copy. You have to copy your heroes — the people you’re inspired by, the people you want to be.

Second, you have to figure out what to. Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.

Whenever you think about learning anything new, there are road blocks. And one of which is not knowing how to proceed from one step to another. While copying something, you can choose your own path to get there. You see the destination, you can zag around your path to get there.

I’ve been telling people I’m a self-taught designer. That is not entirely true. I just started copying everyone I was inspired by. When you hear someone telling you how they learnt something on their own, understand that they have been copying. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing to learn by copying. That’s exactly how we’ve grown up.

But be a good thief. Tell the people who you’re copying from while learning. They will even help you copy better. They will share their stories. One thing I’ve learnt in my journey so far is that all the people you’re inspired by, are truly humble and they will help you learn better.

And copying something has never been easier. Pinterest for visual inspiration, Medium for writing, Instagram for photography, SoundCloud for Music Composition. YouTube has almost everything you want to find on how-to’s.

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It helped my brother, Amulya, make this Middle Eastern sweet cake called Basbousa, by following this.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

Real learning starts when you get involved.

Get involved now. Copy anything, anywhere. Learn something new.

Thank you for reading. I am Gaurav Baheti. Have a great week!

Written by

Building • Previously at Google, Zomato ⚡️

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