There’s a difference between “knowing something” and “knowing the name of something”, says Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.
And this holds the key to success and true knowledge.
“It’s called the Feynman Technique and it will help you learn anything deeper, and faster,” says adventur.es chief technology officer Shane Parrish in Quartz.
“The catch: It’s ridiculously humbling.”
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To become a master on any subject, Parrish says Feynman recommends you first attempt to teach it to a child—that child being you.
“When you write out an idea from start to finish in simple language that a child can understand (tip: use only the most common words), you force yourself to understand the concept at a deeper level,” says Parrish.
This process will allow you to see the gaps in your knowledge and leads to the next step, review, where you identify what you’re missing or forgetting that’s preventing you from fully understanding what it is you’re trying to learn.
“This is invaluable feedback because you’ve discovered the edge of your knowledge,” says Parrish.
“Competence is knowing the limit of your abilities.”
The final step is to organise and simplify your notes into a “simple story”.
Reading this out loud will help figure out if the concept is still confusing.
An optional final step is to then “transmit”.
This involves explaining your new knowledge to a child or someone who doesn’t know much about the topic to see if you can make them understand.
“The ultimate test of your knowledge is your capacity to convey it to another,” says Parrish.
Read about the full process here.