A framework to master the world

The framework I use to learn new things, and personal development, in general, is something that has always been on my mind before. However, I've never taken to the time to verbalize or articulate it.

Having a strategy when it comes to learning is useful because there is too much to learn. Nowadays, the corpus of available information is infinite and overwhelming. On top of that, if your curious mind tends to wander and is readily seduced by the allure of trying something new—instead of doubling down on something that will compound over time—this framework might come in handy.

When it comes to learning, starting from scratch seems always easier. The beginner's mind is rewarding in two ways. First, is the appeal of discovering something you knew nothing about. Second, is the quick ramp-up you get when starting from scratch. It is the path of least resistance, but one that quickly fades away.

That's also probably the reason some people tend to jump between learning new things without a clear agenda or goal in mind.

Unlike a topic you've already mastered—in which the rewards of an additional unit of effort tend to generate smaller and harder deltas of knowledge—a novel topic will give you a fresh start and a "zero to one" feeling that creates the illusion of faux progress.

Because of this, sometimes it can be difficult to assess where to direct our learning attention without falling victim to the path of least resistance. Here's precisely where the framework might be useful.

Beyond those specific and narrow skills that might help you move in one clear vector of your career or personal life, I found a way to approach learning timelessly.

Long story short, to "master the world" one needs to have a deep understanding of how both things and people work.

  • The former is about the rules of nature, both on a macro and a micro level.
  • The latter revolves around how persons behave, both within groups and individually.

How things work

First, understand how the world works, both on a macro and a micro level. You do this by learning Physics, from Quantum Mechanics up to Gravitational Theories.

This branch will also be supported by a few disciplines, such as Math, Algebra, or Calculus. It is nice to study them as well, however, I'd use them only to advance faster and better understand physics.

How people behave

Second, understand how humans work, again, both on a macro and a micro level. Since we behave differently when on our own than in groups, at the human (micro) level you do this by learning Psychology; and at a societal (macro) level you do this by learning History.

This branch will also feature a few supporting disciplines, such as Philosophy, Economics, or Statistics. Same as with physics, it is nice to study them as well, however, they should be approach as a supporting function, not as the root path.

(Bonus) Interpersonal skills

Last but not least, I found what I call interpersonal skills a useful tool to navigate society. These include, but are not limited to, a wide range of disciplines such as writing, public speaking, negotiation, empathy... Scott Adams has an entire repertoire in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.