The 1 learning rule I never break

Learning is imperative for intellectually curious people. I happen to be a curious person. I follow my curiosities and learn a ton in the process.

As a writer, learning is not an option — it’s a necessity. So, I have embraced lifelong learning. It’s not a chore because I sincerely enjoy it. It helps me grow and accumulate knowledge for life.

Learning anything starts with purpose or intention. What is it that you want to learn? And to what end? There are many learning rules out there. A lot of them depends on what you aim to achieve.

For every skill you want to learn, a few approaches or principles can make the process easier and faster.

Rules promote different styles of learning. But too many self-directed learning rules can crowd the process without practical advantage.

The most important thing is to find any stick to a style that works for you or makes you learn better and remember what you learn.

Whatever I choose to learn, I always start with the basics (first principles) and build on the fundamental ideas. I focus on the roots instead of the branches. Without a firm foundation, shortcuts will fail you in the long term.

Successful lifelong learners learn from the experiences of brilliant minds — it’s a powerful way to become less wrong over time.

Learning how to learn or embracing lifelong learning is like learning how to be an artist. You get better with practice.

Embrace the trial and error process to build a personal learning engine. It’sIt’s a better way to learn in your own style without making the process a chore.

Becoming a better learner cannot be taught. You acquire skills and learn many things by experimenting with what helps you learn better.

The true gain of self-learning is the pleasure of learning and the consistent accumulation of practical and valuable knowledge.

Knowledge is never complete — knowing what you don’t know puts you in a better position to become wiser today than you were yesterday

My personal learning engine is constantly changing — I pick and use principles, styles and methods that work for me. I don’t apply every rule.

The only rule that guides my learning process is the Socrates rule — knowing that I know nothing. And that every day is an opportunity to improve what I know. I choose intellectual adventure over intellectual arrogance.

Socrates famously observed, “I know one thing, that I know nothing.” He also said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Knowing what you don’t know is a firm foundation for accumulating better knowledge. The moment you think you’ve arrived, you stop growing.

“Understanding the limitations of your knowledge puts you at an advantage from people who overestimate their knowledge or aren’t aware of their own ignorance,” writes Steven Handel.

No matter how far I get, I will always choose intellectual curiosity and over mindless consistency. Ignorance is bliss. I wake up every day ready to explore and discover. I aim to become a little wiser than my past self.

Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity,” says Albert Einstein. There’s no point in becoming defensive about knowledge.

Everything around us is still evolving, including what you know. An open mind can put you in the best position to upgrade what you know, improve facts or reinvent yourself to thrive better in the new world.

“You live in ignorance, and always will. What matters is picking, validating, and assimilating the knowledge which is relevant for you, and tuning that skills, balancing them with openness to the new,” writes Vico Biscotti.

Knowledge evolves. Einstein thought questioning and curiosity were the keys to improving your realties, perceptions and assumptions about anything.

When you discover a gap in what you know, consider it an opportunity to learn from great minds who have already figured out many things.

This article first appeared on Medium.