“Never before in history has it been so easy to become educated.” – Peter Schiff, Financial Analyst, and Writer.

Since you’re reading our blog, you’re no stranger to the subject of self-education. But for sure, you, like many other people, struggle with a lack of time, motivation, or self-discipline, so many good intentions to learn something on your own remain merely declarative. At best, you learn on an ad hoc basis. This all leads to confusion, and sometimes it seems impossible to master something really hard, such as programming, by yourself. But this is not the case.

Examples of self-study in different fields

Many successful and influential architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Tadao Ando were self-taught. However, some countries require such specialists to have a specialized education.

And here is a list of directors who do not have a professional education: Luc Besson, Peter Jackson, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Akira Kurosawa, Steven Spielberg, and Stanley Kubrick.

And this is by no means a complete list of famous people who have managed to achieve great achievements, and we can supplement for a long time – Thomas Edison, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Coco Chanel, Michael Faraday…

Of course, this does not convince us that we can abandon our studies, lock ourselves at home, and just read everything we can get our hands on on the subject. It’s just further proof that you can’t give up on your dreams just because you don’t have enough money to get an education.

Why, in some cases, is self-education even better than a classical education? Here are some reasons:

  • It allows for a personalized program of study. Only a small percentage of universities now offer exactly the subjects you need, and even with reservations: it is impossible to adjust the program for everyone individually. You can study exactly what you think you need, focusing on just one subject.
  • Gives you more relevant knowledge. In today’s crazy world, thousands of ideas are born a day. And it can take more than 5-10 years before they finally mature, take the form of books, and get into university curricula. This is especially critical for information technology.
  • Gives more motivation to learn. A self-taught person usually learns because he or she wants to. True, there is a disadvantage: there is no one to push you around. About this, we will talk a little later.
  • Allows you to choose your own sources of knowledge. Almost everyone studying at a university in the CIS knows that the curriculum includes books written by professors. If they are decent works, there is nothing wrong with that, but that is not always the case. With self-study, you can choose what to read yourself, and you can learn from the best.

So what are the disadvantages of self-education? Aside from the fact that for some professions, you will still need to get a degree or that you will have to search for information yourself (and not know what kind – because you don’t know what you don’t know), there are two of the biggest problems: motivation and discipline.

There is a perception that disciplined people are incredibly motivated. All that means is that they really love what they do. They love waking up at 7 a.m. and doing exercise, and they love following their schedule. This means that the term “discipline” itself is not always correct.

After all, canonically, it means making momentary sacrifices for long-term gain. And when a person is disciplined without feeling that he is sacrificing something, it means that he is sufficiently motivated.

The motivation, however, will not always be there. A lack of vitamins in the body, chronic stress, several failures in a row, banal laziness – and now there is no trace of it left. And then the only thing that will be left is discipline.

The role of motivation

What do you need to do in order to maintain a sufficient level of motivation?

To begin with, you need to find enough reasons to engage in self-education. There really should be plenty of them. Take a piece of paper and write down a list. You should do this once a week to remind yourself of the importance of what you do whenever apathy and laziness hit.

Second, set goals, as nerdy as that sounds. The advantage of a classical education is at least that the program is already made, and whether you want it or not, you have to go through it. During self-study, something has to push you. The goals, in this case, will be pointers on the way.

One last thing: as we said before, motivation is based on discipline and is an integral part of it. You will last a few weeks on bare motivation, but if you combine it with discipline, you will last years.

The Role of Discipline

Everyone who learns on their faces the same problem: There is no one to push them, as there was in school or university (if they went that way as well).

  1. No one asks questions.
  2. No checking.
  3. Doesn’t push you to the limit.
  4. No control over the learning process.

Everything depends on you, so the initiative on your part is simply necessary. Self-discipline is a crucial factor in self-education.

The most important thing to fear and pay attention to is your thoughts. The devil of doubt, apathy, and uncertainty is there. That’s why we advise you to keep a diary every day. Even if it takes a few extra minutes in your busy schedule, this approach pays off because it clears your head and allows you to get rid of all the negativity that is bound to accumulate in it.

The second thing you should pay attention to is social life. University gives a lot of interesting acquaintances; self-taught people do not have this opportunity. So you need to seize the opportunity to spend time with other people who are studying the same things as you. After all, self-education is also personal development, and it is impossible to grow as a person without interaction with others.

Third: schedule your day and your class schedule. It is very easy to turn your life into chaos when you don’t have to wake up in the morning, prepare for exams, and have other responsibilities, so, if you don’t want to pay for some paper writing service for the work you are supposed to do, you need a schedule. It becomes tempting to go to bed and wake up later. However, it is this behavior that undermines discipline even worse than not having a study schedule. It is better to have one, but first of all, it is necessary to have a clear schedule for the day. This is the basis on which you can already put a plan for self-education.

Fourth, learn together with other people. This advice also has to do with socialization, but the main thing – is the communication of interest. You can probably find a lot of people on the Internet who are doing the same thing as you. So exchanging experiences will only benefit you.

Fifth: make a list of all the questions that arise. This is very important.

During training, you’ll have hundreds, if not thousands, of questions in your head. Make it a rule to write them all down. Keep a notebook with you. Why do you need it? First, so you can later close blind spots of your education. Secondly, it is extremely motivating when you cross these items off your notebook.

This advice should be combined with the fourth (learn together with others). Forums and face-to-face meetings can provide answers to many questions. Be sure to write down the answers as well. Imagine how much progress you would make in your learning if you got and wrote down the answers to 1,000 questions. They will stop rolling around in your head, distracting you, and the knowledge will be truly vast.

Sixth: study the habits and behaviors of outstanding people. Autobiographies (Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford) or books by personal growth coaches (from Leo Babauta to Tony Robbins) are great for this.

Outstanding people have incredible discipline, so they often write about it. You won’t always know how to deal with your own psyche, laziness, and stress, so you need working advice you can apply yourself.

Seventh: Go beyond your knowledge. This means engaging in self-development. Don’t limit yourself to your subject; get to know the world around you and develop spiritually.

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