Today I listened to an interview with Naval Ravikant on the Timothy Ferriss podcast.
At one point in the interview, Naval said the following:
Don’t feel the need to read anything you don’t want to read. Read the stuff that’s fun to you. It’s more important to form the habit, the practice, and the enjoyment of reading, and to associate it Pavlovian-style with something positive rather than negative. So even if you’re reading junk, just read…Pick up a lot of books. Start reading them all. Put down any book instantly that doesn’t grab you and that you don’t have fun reading. Just keep going until you find something that does speak to you.
There are some people who get really nervous when this kind of advice is given. I’m not one of them.
Passion for knowledge is the bridge between boring and interesting. The more people know, the more connections they see. The more connections people see, the more curious they become. The more curious people become, the more inclined they are to study things that previously seemed boring to them. If we want to inspire people to read the “important” stuff, we have to encourage them to read the fun stuff first. The knowledge and experience they gain from the fun stuff will be the very elements that help them endure and enjoy the important stuff.
The most important thing to learn isn’t math, science, economics, or any other academic field of study. The most important thing to learn is the fact that learning is fun and empowering. Once a person learns that, you don’t need a schoolteacher to force them to read. The most avid learners are motivated by a sense of wonder and an ability to make interesting connections, not grades or fear of punishment from authority figures.
The secret of education is that all human beings love learning. We only appear to be unmotivated when we’re forced to learn things that have nothing to do with the questions we’re asking, the results we’re creating, the possibilities we’re exploring, or the games we’re playing. Once our interests are taken into account, however, we quickly reveal ourselves to be lovers of knowledge. If you want to learn, stop trying to learn and allow yourself to love. If you want to motivate others to learn, stop overriding their interests with all of your ideas about what’s “really” important. indulge in your interests and inspire others to do the same. As Richard Feynman once said: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”
Follow your curiosities and you’ll go much further than where obligatory studying can ever hope to take you.