- The Feynman Technique is a tool designed to learn absolutely anything effectively and quickly.
- Whether it is the agenda of an opposition or knowing the ecosystem in which you want to undertake, it is based on raising the matter in simple ideas with your own words.
- When you can explain something in a way that even a child could understand, you will completely master it and never forget it.
Physicist Richard Feynman believed that in order to learn quickly, the path to wisdom must be simple and straightforward.
His life ran from 1918 to 1988. With a privileged mind, at age 20 he worked on the Manhattan Project and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, along with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga.
Feynman’s way of approaching knowledge was to reject conventional wisdom at all times. Hence one of his famous quotes: “You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
Feynman always believed that the truth lies in simplicity and that things are understood when they are conceived in a simple, basic way. That is, when your knowledge of something is based on complex explanations and terms taken from manuals, it is surely because you do not really understand it.
What is the Feynman technique
The goal of learning is to better understand the world. But most of the time, the way it is done does not lead to that full understanding. Result: you just memorize something, assimilate it just as you have read it in books or the teacher has told you. The knowledge, however, goes out of your head shortly after.
And this is where the Feynman technique comes into its own, a tool designed to learn absolutely anything effectively and quickly.
The idea is to make things simple enough for anyone to understand. And on that road to simplicity you gain a really deep understanding of what you want to tackle.
For this, the Feynman technique is based on 4 steps.
1. Choose the topic or concept you want to understand and start studying it
The first step in using this technique is to choose the subject or topic in which you want to apply it.
Feynman’s technique is not limited to just mathematics or physics. You can apply it to all that knowledge that you want to acquire, whether it is the syllabus of your exams or the ecosystem in which you are going to undertake.
2. Explain the topic to a child
This is the step in which you check if you have really learned what you studied or just thought you had.
To know if you have mastered something, explain the concepts in your own words as if you were trying to teach it to a child or someone who is not familiar with the subject.
The idea is that you see if your knowledge allows you to break things down, into simple ideas and with a plain vocabulary. You should note if you are not able to make connections or give examples of the matter in question.
With this, it is easy to identify what has been understood and what is not yet very clear.
3. Go back to study material when you get stuck
Only when you can explain the subject in simple terms will you have understood it. Which means that the knowledge will stay in you and will not fly out as it usually happens with what is memorized.
Review your notes and study material to go back to what you don’t understand yet.
Again try to tell yourself the easy way. If it still sounds very confusing or you have to resort to expressions from the book, you have not learned it yet.
4. Organize and review
Until you get a natural explanation, you cannot end your learning.
To do this, go back to steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need. Surely they are not as many as you think.
Seeking to understand in a deep and elemental way is the way, not only to learn anything, but also to master it forever.
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Do you want to learn anything quickly? Use this technique