Learning in Public and Digital Gardens

Learning in public is a great way to pursue a new-found interest or passion.

But what means to learn in public?

It is simple. After you discovered a new topic, take notes using what method you prefer and make them available online so anyone who is interested can see them.

So how does this help?

First, this process will force you to start writing down your thoughts, making them clearer and helping you to learn and memorize the new information faster.

Don’t just copy the text from the original source. Paraphrase it, interpret it, make it your own. Use your own style, add emojis, graphics and most importantly have fun.

Although your notes and ideas are far from being final, when you share them online, you open them to feedback and comments. This in return gives you a chance to refine them early on and improve the quality.

In addition, making your notes public, will help you build an online presence, connect with like-minded people and create relationships that can be mutual beneficial.

As you advanced into your expertise, having a public trail of your struggles and challenges will help others that are on a similar journey as you. Remember that it is easier to connect and learn from people with similar skills, rather from the ones who master a craft since they long forgot how it is to be in the beginner shoes.

How to get started?

Nowadays, there are lots of option to share content online: blog posts, medium articles, newsletters, YouTube videos, etc

My recommendation is to start with creating a [[Digital Garden]]

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Digital gardens represent a collection of your thoughts and knowledge on various topics. Some might be as small as one paragraph, others as big as a complete guide on a subject.

When new ideas are formed, they are compared with seeds planted in a garden. As time passes and your knowledge increases, the ideas start to shape themselves into an organized form, reaching a so-called “evergreen” state.

Digital gardens differ from traditional blogs in that posts are not ordered chronologically, but instead resemble a network of ideas that are linked together.

You can get started nowadays with a plethora of options. If you want solutions out of the box, you can use ObsidianNotion, and TiddlyWiki.

If you want to get your hands on a bit of coding, tools like Gatsby or Jekyll make it quite easy to have something running in less than 25 minutes. For example, my digital garden is build using Mathieu Dutour’s Gatsby-Digital-Garden solution.

For more tools and example Maggie Appleton compiled an extensive list of resources for everyone who wants to get started:

https://github.com/MaggieAppleton/digital-gardeners

Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is to take action: start writing and sharing. Don’t worry that your initial creations will be far from perfect, be consistent and enjoy the journey!

References

Goals Setting Framework

Do you have difficulties breaking down big goals, let’s say like life goals into actionable steps?

If yes, you are not alone as this is one of the most common difficulties for people that I work with.

In this article, we will take a look at a technique/framework that is designed to help you achieve this.

Let’s start with explaining to you the idea behind it.

Imagine you have a difficult journey ahead. Let’s say you must climb the highest mountain in the world. The amount of effort needed makes you quiver only by thinking of it.

If you look only at the peak of the mountain, it feels like an impossible task, even scary.

A way to prevent this feeling is to find and focus on a closer milestone, like the next big tree that you see exactly ahead on your path. After you reach it take the big rock as guidance, and after the other landscape element and repeat the process.

Soon you will realize that you made a lot of progress from the place you started, and with grit and determination, you will reach the peak.

When the next goal or milestone is clear, visible and reachable progress is made easier, motivation is maintained high and the ultimate goal will be reached.

Now let’s look at the framework and after take an example.

The Framework

We start by defining a big, lifetime goal that can be achieved in 10, 20 or even more years. So what is that one thing that brings you joy, motivates you and you wish that would be a reality now?

Based on that, you must decide what is the one thing that you can do in the next 5 years, to bring you closer to your lifetime dream. This will become you’re 5 years goal.

Next based on this goal you must define what the one thing that you can do in one year to get you closer to your previous goal.

You do this for defining a monthly, a weekly and sometimes even a daily goal. I mentioned sometimes daily goals because it depends on your own time management style and there are persons who work well with daily goals and targets and others prefer the flexibility of weekly targets.

Now, let’s put all of this in practice with an imaginary situation where John, a successful professional, that has a life goal of getting his own motor boat to travel the world.

John’s Dream

John’s Dream: Have a boat to travel the world

We start by doing initial research of what kind of boat John wants, what features and packages he wants and what are the average prices. As John is very passionate about sailing, this part is very exciting for him as he has no constraints and he is guided only by the things that make him happy.

Let’s imagine that he found his dream boat at half of million euros. The next step is to define what he can do in the next 5 years to get closer to his dream.

He realizes that there are many things that he needs to complete so that he can have and drive the motorboat. For example, he needs to get a license and of course to save the money to get it.

Now comes the strategic thinking in place as John needs to find out how he can turn this dream into reality. John feels that the goal of getting a boat license is easier to achieve than how to afford the boat. Therefore he wants to tackle the financial part first.

After some brainstorming, he decides on the goal of doubling his income so he can get the boat in 10 years instead of 20.

So the next step is what John can do in one year based on his 5 years goal? When considering his option he realizes that he can improve his work performance and results so that he gets a raise or a higher paid job, or to start a side business around his passion for boats.

Let’s imagine that he decides on the latter one. So now we know what John want to achieve in his life, in the next 5 years and in the next year. We are now getting closer to the ground level, where goals are much easier to grasp.

So what can be John’s goal for the next month? For example, he can research different business models that would help him turn his passion into a sustainable channel for cashflow.

As he has no experience with business models, he decides that his weekly goal is to collect all possible resources and contacts that can support him on this journey.

His daily goal for today would be something like check and contact all my contacts that have skills or experience in creating and managing a business.

Example Goal Breakdown

This is it. Now John has a set of low and high-level goals to turn his dreams into a reality. This can be used in different situations, from goals like retiring at 35 years old, buying your dream home, getting the CEO job at a major company and so on.

Before ending this article, I would like to ask you to write down one of your life goals, use this framework to turn it into reality and share your experience.